If you are reading this, you are probably wondering why we chose the baby helmet.
First off let me start by saying... when we went to Adelines first pediatrician visit, we were told that she would most likely need a helmet. This was not our first rodeo, as we had something very similar happen when Ashley was born. In 2017, we took Ashley to Cranial Technologies (same as Adeline) and we were told that she had plagiocephaly, occipital flattening and frontal flattening on the right. We did notice a little abnormality in her head shape. In Ashley's case it was mild and the shape improved substantially with tummy time and no helmet. However, with Adeline, despite our best efforts (repositioning techniques, increased tummy time in multiple settings ) we were seeing little to no improvement. So we chose the baby helmet for Adeline.
Below I have answered a few commonly asked questions about the baby helmet process. I hope that these are helpful in some way.
WHAT IS THE DIAGNOSIS PROCESS?
In our case for both occurrences, we were referred to Cranial Technologies by our girls pediatrician. The consultation was quick, easy and free. I believe they do require a referral for the visit.
The cranial specialist takes a scan of the baby head using a Digital Surface Imaging System (DSI). After evaluating the images, a diagnosis is given. Several things are taken into account such as medical history and the head shape evaluation.
For us the proportionality measurements were a big deciding factor in Ashley v. Adelines treatment. A few things to take into account are:
The Cephalic Index which is the ration to length of the head. Normal usually ranges from 75 to 80. Ashley had a FI of 86.6 and Adeline had one of 92.8.
Cranial Vault Asymmetry is the difference between the longest and the shortest diagonal measurements from the forehead to the opposite posterior cranium. Ashley's CVA was 9.0 mm and Adeline's was 11.0 mm. 0-6 mm is mild 6-12 mm is moderate and anything over 12 mm is severe.
Cranial Vault Asymmetry Index (CVAI) is the CVA divided by the shorter of the two diagonal measurements. Ashley's CVAI was 6.9 and Adeline's was 8.3. 3.5 to 6.25 is mild, 6.26 tp 8.75 is mild and anything over 8.76 is severe.
The diagnosis of both varied enough for our decisions to be different. Adeline was moderate-severe with plagiocephaly; occipital flattening; anterior ear shift; anterior orbit shift all on the right and frontal flattening on the left. She also had ridging coral suture overlap.
If your anything like me, you begin to wonder... Did I do something wrong? Could I have prevented this? Don't be hard on yourself. You are not alone! Today, nearly 50% of infants have some degree of deformational plagiocephaly brachycephaly.
WHAT IS A BABY HELMET?
The baby helmet is a way to help correct the shape of your baby's skull by redirecting its growth. The measurements for the helmet are customized by a cranial specialist. This customization is done based on the needs of your baby's head and growth.
Plagiocephaly, Brachycephaly and Scaphocephaly are all causes for treatment.
HOW CAN I AVOID THE BABY HELMET?
This is such a common question. As I started to google it, the words just came up. Haha. TUMMY TIME! That is the most common answer you will receive. If baby does not tolerate tummy time, putting him or her in your chest and laying down or reclining is a good option. Limiting the time the baby spends on a swing, bouncer, car seat, stroller and laying flat i recommended. These are the tips we were given and followed in both instances.
Ask your pediatrician to assess what works best for your baby.
HOW LONG IS THE TREATMENT?
Treatment varies depending on the severity of the case. Sometimes a second helmet may be required. However, the average treatment process can be between 2 to 5 months. From our understanding, the best age for treatment is between 4 to 7 months. The head seems to grow rapidly during these months. After 8 months that growth is substantially decreased.
Adeline began her treatment on February 8th. She was a little over five months. We anticipate that the treatment will take between 2 to 3 months. God willing a second helmet will not be needed.
Keep in mind that the process of finalization and production can take up to 10 days.
We are taking her treatment very seriously. She needs to have the helmet 23 hours a day. The hour that she has it off, we bathe her and clean the helmet.
HOW DO YOU CLEAN THE HELMET?
We were told to remove and clean the helmet with 70% isopropyl alcohol only daily at bath time. Other solutions may burn the baby's skin.
First, we scrub the inside with a dry towel to remove the oil and sweat. Then generously apply the rubbing alcohol to a dry cloth and vigorously scrub the inside. Make sure it is completely dry before placing it back on the baby's head.
The band may develop an odor during warm weather. If so, we are to set the band upside down in the sun to eliminate the odor.
I hope this has helped. If you are in a similar situation, I want to remind you... IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. YOU ARE DOING GREAT!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out or drop a comment below.
I will do my best to document our baby helmet journey and look forward to sharing a before and after at the end of the process.