One week update – Ryan’s Plagiocephaly

Right before Ryan’s 4 month ped visit, I noticed that one side of his head was a bit flatter than the other side.  I shared my concern with his ped and she authorized a consultation to do some 3D imaging on him.  Jon and I headed out to Pasadena to Cranial Technologies and Ryan had 5 cameras capture his entire 360* view to determine if he suffered from Plagiocephaly.

What is Plagiocephaly?  Flat head syndrome.  There’s a few reasons that can cause it.  Ryan’s is what I lovingly call – 3rd kid syndrome.  Since Ryan is the smallest one – and he has two big loving (and wild) siblings, he finds himself in seated aparatuses a lot more often than Aubrey and Luke were.  Jon, my mom, and I would work on tummy time (which, like most babies – he hated), and holding him and trying to switch him in positions while feeding or laying.

But, at the end of the day – his head was affected and we learned how it can affect so much besides just a flat head.  With the 3d imaging, you can see how the flatness changes the positioning of his nose, eyes, ears and even mouth.  It was harder to see the positioning changes since he’s an active little guy and is not really still (unless he’s asleep).

Just after his 5 month “birthday”, we got the call that his insurance approved the DOC band – a cranial reshaping device.  It is similar to a removable cast.  We went back and he had another round of the 5 camera capturing and went back about a week later to have him fitted.

plagiocephaly - 1 week update

The first two days he wore it part time.  Our job was to examine his skin and make sure all red spots disappeared within an hour.  After those 2 days, it is 23 hours on and one hour off.

That’s been a bit more difficult.  You see, Ryan was an amazing sleeper until about 2 months ago.  Then he became extremely cranky at night and would be up every 3 or so hours.  With the addition of the DOC band (aka, helmet), he’s now waking up every 2-3 hours.  It’s been exhausting because, hello, I work and also have 2 other kids that are sometimes up at night.

Jon and I really are trying to do whatever possible to have him more comfy and us have more sleep.  This has resulted in him joining us in bed around 1-3 am.  Sometimes he sleeps till 2 and wakes up crying.  Sometimes 3.  Sometimes one AND three.  So we’ve made him a safe spot and then I crash back asleep till my alarm goes off.

He’ll wear this for about 10-12 weeks.  The band has a gap where we need his head to round back out.  The spot that is round already has the helmet close to it.  While he’s awake, he doesn’t seem to care.  Sometimes I know he’s super hot and he’s been chilling in a lot of cotton onesies.  One night I actually took it off because he was trying to claw it off (and the next day he had scratch marks from where he was apparently a bit itchy).

Learning curve is definitely going on around here.  We’ve had to keep a close eye on Aubrey and Luke to make sure they don’t try and touch the helmet or undo the velcro strap.  My sweet friend Liz created some decals to jazz it up.  I’ll share those once we have them.  I’m just trying to treat him as normal as possible and explain to others why he has it.  It was  huge educational lessen for me to, honestly.  I remember kids (when I was small) wear them and I really didn’t know why they wore them.  I figured something was “wrong” with them.  Not true – they’re still healthy happy kids.  They just need some help “fixin’ their flats.”

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  1. Katie says

    Yeah I am almost certain that Cici’s slight flatness was caused by the Rock N Play – she was more responsive to sleeping at an incline because of some respiratory stuff so she would end up in the Rock N Play most nights, while Lexi was always in a bassinet at that age. My fingers are crossed that Ryan’s sleep gets a little better – it will be worth it all in the long run!


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