Model Chrissy Teigen revealed on Instagram that her 6-month-old son Miles is wearing a corrective helmet to treat a condition called plagiocephaly. It's commonly known as baby flathead.
She posted a photo with the caption: "Baby Miles getting fitted for a little helmet today for his adorable slightly misshapen head. So if you see pictures, don't feel bad for him because he's just fixing his flat and honestly, he's probably gonna be even cuter with it somehow."
I remember six years ago my mother-in-law warned me to make sure that we rotated my newborn son's head when he sleeps or he could get a flat head. I thought she was being overly cautious but quickly learned it's a true condition.
Teigen's tweet will help raise awareness of flat head syndrome, or positional plagiocephaly.
It usually happens when a baby sleeps in the same position most of the time because of problems with the neck muscles. It does not harm brain development and, if you catch it early, changing your baby's sleep position, holding your baby and doing more tummy time can help.
For kids with severe flat head syndrome when repositioning for two to three months doesn't help, doctors can prescribe a custom-molded helmet or headband.
The helmets work best if used between the ages of 4 and 12 months, when a child grows the fastest and bones are most moldable. The helmet applies gentle constant pressure on the skull to redirect the growth.
Babies might wear the helmet for 23 hours each day from 1 month up to 6 months, depending on the condition -- taking it off only for bath time.
If you don't get treatment, when infants can sit on their own, the flat spot won't worsen and as the skull grows the flattening will improve.
Regardless of flat head syndrome, for your baby's safety, it's recommended that babies sleep on their backs to prevent sudden infant death syndrome, but alternating the head at night will help avoid a flattened head.