Our Journey with Plagiocephaly & The DOC® Band

When Wyatt hit about 2 months old I started noticing that he had a little but of flatness at the back of his head. I didn’t think too much about it because it didn’t look like anything too concerning. It wasn’t until his 4 month well appointment that his Pediatrician mentioned that the flatness at the back of his head is pretty severe. I am not sure if it’s because I see him every single day, but it truly didn’t raise any red flags for me! We are now about 2 weeks into his DOC® Band journey and although I was incredibly nervous in the beginning, so far so good! Over the next 10-12 weeks I will sharing our journey with you to inform and bring some relief to any parents out there who are just starting out!

First we met with Wyatt’s pediatrician who told us that he has something known as Plagiocephaly.

Plagiocephaly: Simply put, “flat head syndrome”.

There are a few types of this condition:

Plagiocephaly

One side of the head is flat causing asymmetry in the head and face.

Brachycephaly

The infants head is flat in the back making the head appear wider over the ears.

Scaphocephaly

The head is disproportionally long and narrow.

Wyatt has Brachycephaly and initially his Pediatrician thought it could resolve itself by keeping him off of his back except for sleeping. She also recommended that we visit with a Physical Therapist to help stretch him out which would also help with keeping him off his back while he was playing on the floor. When we first met with the Physical Therapist, she took one look at Wyatt’s head and asked,

“Let me ask you, did he sleep in a Rock-N-Play at all?”

We were like…

giphy (8)

Because the answer was yes. She then said that she refers to Brachycephaly as “Rock-N-Play” syndrome. She said the reason is that when a baby is an infant and they are forming their skull, sleeping in the Rock-N-Play does not allow the child to roll around and mold their head the way they need to while they sleep (and let’s face it, when a baby is an infant all they do is sleep). Tyler and I felt so terrible. In my research and “asking around” while I was pregnant everyone told me the Rock-N-Play was the best ever for when they are still waking up every few hours at night, so that is what we did.

Now, people, this was just OUR experience, I am not saying that the Rock-N-Play is a bad thing, however, we were told by our PT that 99% of babies she sees with Brachycephaly also slept in this. It was frustrating to say the least, the fact that we could have avoided this had we known. But apparently, it is not very well known! And look, we are first time parents, we’re just over here trying to figure it out!

After a few rounds of PT it was decided that Wyatt did in fact need the DOC® Band aka, “the baby helmet”. When they took his measurements he was ranging in the severe area. Shockingly to us, at least 1 in 2 children have some form of Plagiocephaly between 2 and 10 months. This made us feel a bit better knowing how common this was.

There were also several factors that we didn’t even consider. For little girls, it’s easier to hide Plagiocephaly because their hair tends to get longer, faster. With little boys who typically have shorter haircuts, it can be harder to hide. It can also cause issues with his jaw including underbites and TMJ. Plus, if Wyatt ever wanted to play sports that require a helmet, it most likely would not fit him correctly which would not protect him the way that it should. The decision was simple, we had to do this for him.

The next step was to meet with the specialist who would fit Wyatt for his band. We did some research and ended up going with Cranial Technologies and they were amazing. We were also informed that this was the perfect time to get it done as the baby does a lot of growing between 6 and 10 months. Here is how the appointments went leading up to the big day where his helmet was placed.

Appointment 1: Consultation. They took his measurements and also took some very cool pictures with this GIANT camera. This appointment was free. Yep, fun fact, at Cranial Technologies, the digital measurements are free!

Appointment 2: This appointment was only 10 minutes long. They measured every inch of Wyatts head with the big camera again in order to get the measurements they would use to make his personalized DOC® band.

Appointment 3: The big day was here! At this appointment they give him his band and make any necessary adjustments. For the first 2 days with the helmet he wore it for 3 to 4 hours, and off for 1 hour. Rinse and repeat. On day 3 he began wearing it for the 23 hours a day.

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The reason you do the “3-4 hours on, 1 off” is to make sure the child doesn’t have any sort of reaction to the helmet. For the first few days there will be some redness underneath and as long as in that hour that the helmet is off the redness goes away, that is a good sign.

All-in-all the process was incredibly simple and Wyatt does not mind the helmet at all, I would go as far as to say he doesn’t even notice it.

I will keep you all updated as we go through the process and also include some tips for any parents that are soon to need the DOC® Band for their little one!

Have any of you needed the DOC® Band? What was your experience?

CASEY SELLERS

 

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