Have you ever seen babies with those helmets that are all decorated and cute? Have you ever stopped and wondered, “what the heck is that?!” How about this. Have you ever seen one of those helmets and made your own ridiculous assumptions?
Don’t worry, it’s common to do this when something is strange or unknown to you.
But sometimes the things people say to parents who have a child with Plagiocephaly (or any of the other head shape conditions) can really get under their skin, when its really such a simple and harmless condition.
This was and is our biggest concern when we heard that Jackalynn would need to get a Cranial Remolding Helmet or Cranial Band. We know that as far as development goes, Jacky is excelling in all areas. She is ahead of her age in so many things. Her only little teeny thing is that from the day she was born (and even while in my tummy) she preferred to lay on the right side of her head. In ultrasounds, she was on her right side and in her very first photos at the hospital, she is on her right side. This is how over 20,000 babies a year develop Positional Plagiocephaly or Flat Head Syndrome.
Why have you never heard of Plagiocephaly?
As Jackalynns specialist at Hanger Clinic explained to us, it was common to put children to sleep on their stomachs, until the 80’s when the “Back to Sleep” program was introduced to lower the risk of SIDS. With more babies being put to sleep on their backs, more started to develop flat heads, and so we have the larger number of flat heads today.
While some can be corrected by simple re positioning, others are stubborn like Jacky, and require further treatment. That’s where the helmet comes in.
So, we started our 4 day President’s weekend by taking Jackalynn to have her head scanned for her helmet.
I was surprised at how easy the scan was. They started by fitting her with a cloth “hat” or sleeve. This made a smooth surface around her head, making it possible for the computer to make an exact image of her skull. This was the hardest part of the scans. Even tho Jackalynn cried a little, and didn’t want the Doctor touching her, they said she is still the calmest baby they have had in the office. It could just be something they tell every parent, but it sure did relieve some stress, so I’ll just pretend its absolutely true!
Once the “hat” was on, we read books until the Doctor came back and was ready to take the scans (which was only a few minutes). The trick to getting a good scan,was getting Jacky to face forward and stay still. Impossible you say?
Let me introduce you to my secret weapons……
Sesame Street and Teething Biscuits.
We sat Jacky on the end of my lap, put Seasame Street on Dads phone and gave her a snack. The Doctor got to work, and within a minute, the scans were done. The scans are done with a gun that produces a light, similar to a bar code scanner. it is scanned around the head as images are captured and a 3d model is produced on a computer. It is harmless.
Now that the scan was done all we had to do now was wait for them to be approved. After about 5 or 10 minutes, they were approved and the Doctor came to let us pick designs. We decided to go with a light pink, and I will be decorating it myself. How exciting, right?
In total, the appointment for scans took less than an hour and were painless. It was actually kind of fun. We played, we had snacks and read stories, and the Doctors are very nice men who make this process a lot less stressful. In fact, everyone in the office are sweethearts, and even though it was only our second appointment, they knew Jackalynn by name when we walked in the door. This made us feel so secure and comfortable.
So now, we wait for her helmet to be delivered to the office, which should only take about a week from the time of scans, and then we will go back for her to be fitted and to receive our instructions and training.
We are very nervous for this journey that is about to begin, but we know that as a family we will make the best of it and get through it together!
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Introduction to Palgiocephaly treatment by Hanger Clinic