Infant Head Repositioning
Research published by the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that an infant’s head be turned regularly while lying on their back to avoid flat spots from occurring. Repositioning will keep your baby’s head from always resting on the same area, allowing for a more even distribution of your baby’s head weight and helping to prevent flat spots. Changing head positions also helps strengthen muscles in the neck, which is important as your baby begins to hold up their head and sit on their own. Repositioning is important because some babies find a comfortable head position and stay there, which exacerbates Flat Head Syndrome.
Repositioning is critical from birth to 6 months of age when baby’s skull is soft and can be affected by constant pressure on one spot.
Some tips for repositioning your baby:
- Infants should be placed on their backs for sleep. You can change your baby’s sleeping position by alternating your child’s direction in the crib. For example, place the baby’s head at the top of the crib one night and toward the bottom of the crib the next night. This change will encourage the baby to turn his or her head in different directions to avoid resting in the same position all the time.
- Place a mobile on the side of the crib or playpen to encourage your baby to look in that direction.
- Consider moving your baby’s crib to different areas of the room. Babies are attracted to light and will try to turn their heads toward a window!
- During playtime, make sure your baby gets plenty of “tummy time”, which is supervised time during the day when baby lies on their stomach. A baby should spend at least 30 – 60 minutes a day on their tummy. This will give your baby’s head a rest, and encourages the use of arm, leg and neck muscles which helps strengthen them.
- Try to reduce the amount of time your baby spends in car seats, carriers, swings, high chairs and other devices that allow your child to rest on the back of his or her head.
- Alternate the arm you use to hold your baby while bottle or breastfeeding.