Does your baby’s head look more square than round? Are you worried about their brain development? It turns out, you probably don’t need to worry — it’s a totally normal occurrence and can easily be fixed.
Parenting is scary, especially when you’re thrown into the ring for the first time. It seems like every little thing is life or death and of course, you only want what’s best for your little bundle of joy.
So what do you do when your child’s head starts to look a little square? Before panicking and calling up your pediatrician, it’s important to know that this is a super common issue.
Flat head syndrome is a common name for plagiocephaly or, less commonly, brachycephaly, and happens for a number of reasons. This problem has simple at-home remedies you can do to help round out your baby’s head and there are special infant pillows on the market to aid you as well.
Read on to learn more about flat head syndrome and how infant pillows can alleviate the issue.
What Is Flat Head Syndrome?
Flat head syndrome most typically happens when an infant is laid on its back for an extended amount of time. This is most common in babies because their skull is still forming and is extremely soft and pliable.
While it typically resolves on its own, pediatricians recommend lots of tummy time and turning baby’s head periodically when they’re laying on their back.
Too much time on their back is the most common cause of flat head syndrome in babies, but there are other causes as well (source):
- Skull-moulding while still in the womb: This can happen when there isn’t a lot of amniotic fluid to cushion the head while still in mom’s tummy. This usually resolves on its own.
- Premature birth: With less time to develop fully, premature babies often have odd-shaped heads.
- Muscular problems: Issues like torticollis can cause a stiff neck and limited movement.
- Craniosynostosis: This is when a baby’s skull forms too soon. This will require surgical intervention, so if you’re really concerned you should consult your pediatrician.
Treatment and Preventative Measures
There are several things you can do to combat flat head syndrome in any situation. Whether they’re sleeping, traveling, or enjoying playtime, you can ensure your baby isn’t in one position for too long.
While babies are sleeping, you should always lay them on their back to help prevent SIDS. Flat head syndrome is a concern with this, but you can combat it by alternating the side of the cot when you lay them down.
If possible, you can also move the light source to different areas in their bedroom as babies are typically attracted to light. When they’re sleeping, take care to shift their head in different positions to alleviate the flattened side as well.
While your baby is playing, try to have them play on their tummy as much as possible. Not only will this help strengthen various muscles, but it will also keep the plagiocephaly at bay.
Of course, some babies just aren’t a fan of tummy time and we can’t leave them on their tummies forever. In this case, you can shift their head position so they aren’t favoring one side for too long.
To learn more about how to treat flat head syndrome at home, check out this video from Stanford Children’s Health.
Another way to combat flat head syndrome is to invest in an infant pillow. These pillows are designed specifically with infant skulls in mind.
They’re made to put minimal pressure on the back of baby’s head and evenly distribute pressure on both sides of the skull.
Infant pillows for flat head syndrome can come in handy if you have a fussy baby that doesn’t like to follow the rules.
You can, of course, use an infant pillow with a smaller baby. However, you should be cautious and watch them at all times while they’re using it, and never leave them unattended.
The Best Pillows For Flat Head Syndrome of 2019
Now you know a little more about the condition, we’ve researched several options to help you find the best pillow for flat head syndrome. Here are our top choices.
1. JOHN N TREE Organic Cotton Protective Pillow
If you’re looking for a quality pillow with a variety of options, this protective pillow by John N Tree organic is a good option. It’s made of hypoallergenic filling to ensure safety and comfort to sensitive skin, and the outer fabric is breathable.
It has multiple uses and when you’re too tired to start a new load of never-ending laundry, this pillow is reversible so baby can use both sides. That may sound gross, but hey — we’ve all done it at some point.
You can get this pillow in 32 different designs, including a lamb and an elephant, so there’s an option to match virtually any nursery theme. It’s also machine-washable, but it’s recommended to be hand washed.
If you do decide to machine wash it, be sure to do so in cold water on the gentlest setting available.
When you choose this pillow, you can rest easy knowing that it’s going to be of great quality and provide plenty of comfort to your baby. It’s made from 100 percent certified organic cotton and is completely eco-friendly.
Keep in mind that, due to its size, this pillow usually works best for infants up to about 6 months of age.
- 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.
- Certified organic through strict testing.
- Hypoallergenic for sensitive skin.
- Fine hair may stick to the fabric.
- Not so good for warm weather conditions as it often causes sweating.
2. Babymoon Pod 2-in-1 Infant Pillow
This circular infant pillow is great if you’re looking for versatility. Most designs are only meant for when a baby is lying on the ground, but this pillow can be used in a variety of places.
It’s recommended for use when lying down to play, in a bouncer or other baby seat, in the stroller, and while nursing. As parents, we’re all about versatility and this pillow fits the bill.
While the description shows it can be used in the car seat, it’s important to keep in mind that no accessories are recommended for use with a car seat, for safety reasons.
The great thing about this pillow by Babymoon is that it can transition with your child into toddlerhood. This could also be especially helpful if you plan on traveling by plane. It will provide optimal neck support to your toddler.
It’s machine washable and available in 100 percent cotton or polyester fabric. If buying American-made is important for you, this may also be a good option.
The bottom does velcro together, but to keep the velcro from irritating baby’s skin, it comes equipped with a peek-a-boo flap to cover it when the pillow isn’t closed.
- Grows with your child.
- Can be used in a stroller, bouncer, or on the floor.
- Available in several different colors.
- Can’t be used in the crib.
3. Nimbli Baby Head Shaping Pillow
The Nimbli baby head shaping pillow is a great option for parents looking for true comfort for their baby. Not to mention, it also comes with a super cute cover that looks like a cartoon bear.
This head shaping pillow is the perfect option for babies who have been cursed with sensitive skin and seasonal allergies.
The pillow has three layers: a removable pillow case, a second antibacterial layer to fight off allergens, and a dense memory foam layer for optimal comfort.
The removable pillowcase is machine washable. Keep in mind that memory foam cannot be washed so always making sure this pillow has a cover will make it last longer.
If you do need to clean the memory foam, it’s recommended to wipe it down with a damp cloth and let it air dry when you’re done.
The size of this pillow is optimal for babies with a head circumference of 15 to 19 inches.
- Comes in a cute design.
- Has an antibacterial layer.
- Can be used in a stroller.
- Suitable for up to 18 months old.
- Thick design.
- Can’t be used for babies younger than 2 months.
4. Bliss n' Baby Head Shaping Pillow
Great Gift Set for the New Mom
This 100 percent pure organic cotton pillow is a great option for parents looking for a shaping pillow that will match a woodsy nursery theme. It also comes with an extra gift, making this perfect for a baby shower.
The pillow is designed by pediatricians and recommended for babies from infancy up to 14 months old. The fabric is all-natural and shouldn’t snag baby’s hair while they’re laying on it.
Unlike other pillows that can make baby’s head too warm, this pillow is made of 100 percent breathable materials to keep them comfortable while on their back.
The super lightweight, 3D-air permeable mesh fabric will also play a major role in reducing the risk of SIDS.
It’s machine-washable and should be dried on the lowest tumble-dry setting or hung up to air dry. The company states that this pillow is very durable and should still hold up well even after multiple uses and washings.
This pillow is also super convenient. Because of its small rectangular size, it can easily fit into a diaper bag so you can take it with you whenever you need to go out. Nothing makes a parent happier than less weight and more portability.
- Pediatrician designed.
- New, bigger size to accommodate older babies.
- Satisfaction guarantee.
- Pillow is small, only 12 inches wide.
- No choice of prints.
5. Bebo Beba Newborn Baby Head Shaping Pillow
Great for Travel
If you’re looking for a cute, simple design then this infant pillow is a great one for you. It comes in the shape of a heart and is a pretty, light-gray color that will match any nursery decor.
This pillow by Bebo Beba is pediatrician-designed and is made from soft, breathable fabric. It’s super lightweight, which makes for a great travel pillow.
We all know babies are messy, so you’ll be happy to hear that this pillow is machine washable. Cue the singing angels from the heavens above.
Because of its size, it’s optimal for the shape of a newborn’s skull. As baby gets older, you may have to upgrade to a different sized pillow if you’re still concerned.
However if you’re worried about the size, this product does come with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.
- Pediatrician designed.
- Lifetime guarantee.
- Size could be too small for bigger babies.
Rounding It Up
While flat head syndrome seems quite serious, there’s no need to worry. As long as you keep an eye on your little one and follow the steps we recommended, your baby’s head should go back to normal in no time.
Our favorite is the John N Tree organic cotton baby pillow. A baby’s skin is super delicate and we love that this product is made of completely organic and eco-friendly materials that won’t irritate baby’s skin.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that there are so many animal designs to choose from. I mean, how cute is that peek-a-boo bunny?
What are your thoughts on infant pillows for flat head syndrome? Will you be trying any of the pillows we suggested? Have you already bought one? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!