Monday, December 15, 2014

Mommy Worries: Preventing Flat Head Syndrome

"Which way are you laying him in the crib?" I stumbled to answer the doctor's question because Buckner rarely laid in his crib. I have been so afraid of SIDS that he has slept (happily) in his rock-n-play beside our bed since arriving home from the hospital. Now, 4 months later, I was embarrassed to admit that I had not forced the issue of transitioning to the pack-n-play in our bedroom.

In my defense, the initial plan was for him to sleep in the pack-n-play but the first night home we realized that the sleep plan was not meeting his needs to feel cozy and cuddled. Therefore, he was not sleeping at all.  He immediately fell asleep when placed in the rock-n-play. I liked the idea of it because it kept him at an incline which seem to help his nasal congestion. When he hit around 3 1/2 months my mother began to mention that he was starting to get a little big for our current sleep solution and we should think about the transition. Just as we were about to do so, he developed an awful cold and I was afraid of allowing him to lie flat on his back to sleep. So we decided to put it off a few more days. Those days turned into a couple of weeks until I found myself struggling to answer the doctor's question.

The doctor was trying to offer a helpful solution on how to prevent Buckner's head from becoming flatter while helping the back of his head to round out. He suggested rotating the direction of how we lay him to sleep so that if he turns his head to look at the door he is turning it a different way each time. Of course, we are still suppose to put him on his back to sleep but by rotating which way his feet are pointing in the crib might help by putting pressure in various places on his head and not the same place every night.

I started to feel the mommy guilt and envy other babies' perfectly round heads. Had I failed by protecting him from one risk ultimately creating another problem? I wondered how other mothers had prevented the flatness in their babies. I thought tummy time was all that was needed but obviously more strategies are necessary.  We do tummy time but it was not enough to counteract the flatness developing. Of course, this worried mama turned to Dr. Google to figure out all possible solutions to reverse the beginning stages of flat head syndrome. I discovered the rock-n-play can contribute to the flatness if overused because it prevents them from moving their heads from side to side.  While it has been great for us in helping nasal congestion and keeping him cozy, we agreed it was time to move to the pack-n-play. I am determined to keep him in our room for the first six months because room sharing can reduce the risk of SIDS so before we transition him to his crib in his room, he will sleep in the pack-n-play.

The first night I wedged the pack-n-play between the wall and my side of the bed. Now I was a happy mama again because I was not ready for my baby to sleep away from me even if he was in the same room. The position of the pack-n-play turned out to be a good thing because he did not sleep well that first night so I had to keep comforting him. The next night we used the sleep sack and he slept the entire night. Several nights later the transition has been accomplished. A couple of nights I woke up and found him flipped over on his tummy happily snoozing away. I know that when they can flip themselves over it is okay that they are on their tummy but I couldn't leave him that way after seeing him so I flipped him over only slightly disturbing him.

Another attempt we are doing to help with the flatness is baby wearing. I just received a Seven Slings sling. I googled free code and got it for free with the exception of shipping and handling. He loves being in it and it helps relieve some of the heaviness of just toting him around. I thought I ordered up a size but I think I would like it slightly bigger so I was thinking about getting another one just a little bigger especially as he grows. Baby wearing has been wonderful for us because we can do some things around the house and I feel like I get to spend more time with him since he in his daycare Monday through Friday.

We are increasing the amount of tummy time when we are with him. He is getting better at being on his tummy. Santa may bring him a toy to encourage tummy time like this one. We also are researching exersaucers. We asked the pediatricain about it and he said some doctors don't like them because they are used as babysitters but they are fine if use them in moderation and always supervise them. We have learned that there is an opinion on every toy. You definitely have to do your research because for babies play is their work!

Buckner Milestone 12/14/14
I was in Wal-Mart and it was time for him to eat. I was trying to feed him as I shopped while he sat in his carrier in the buggy. I had to readjust my hand so I put the bottle in front of him for a minute in his lap. All of a sudden I heard a grunt and saw my little baby sitting up and grabbing his bottle. I tested to see if this new skill was a fluke but he did it again. He knows what to do with his bottle!

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