Mission completed

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After  126 days my little one finally finished the helmet therapy. Me and my husband were so excited when we were driving to the clinic. I couldn’t wait to take the helmet off my son’s head for the last time. We were so happy to see the progress after his last head measuring. He has gone from severe to moderate in four months, which, I think, is a very good result.

We received a Congratulations leaflet together with USB memory card which shows how the shape of the head has change since the first visit.

I am really thankful to the professional clinicians, especially Sandie who was always happy to help and explained the whole treatment to us.

So this is it, our helmet adventure ends here.

I hope you enjoyed reading about it and for those who would like to learn some more about plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome, please see the below websites:

http://www.technologyinmotion.com

https://www.facebook.com/technoinmotion?fref=ts

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/plagiocephaly/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Day 104.

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My baby boy is 11 months now and it is nearly 4 months since we first put a helmet on his head. As I have already written before, the beginning was not easy, but now he is so used to wearing it, that it rarely bothers him.
At our first visit at the clinic we were told that he would have to wear it for about 3 months, but lately after a discussion with a specialist we decided to keep it on one more month. It is because there is still some space in the helmet for the head to grow.
It makes me really happy to see the development. But sometimes, I think that the flatness is still there. It is like the head has changed, but not completely. I don’t know, maybe I think that, because I see his head every day? To convince myself that the change is really there, I look at the pictures and cranial assessment report.
I really can’t wait for the therapy to finish and to see the final result. Yet, it will be hard to get used to the fact that the ‘special hat’ is not there any more, as it doesn’t only mould the skull but also keeps it safe. And with an active baby who starts standing up and walking, this invention is a godsend.

Day 16

Technology in Motion is the clinic we visited and chose for treating our baby boy’s head. On their Facebook page, which is a great source of knowledge about brachycephaly and plagiosephaly, I read about a little girl whose parents managed to raise money for her treatment. In the article her dad mentioned that flat head can be linked to problems with reflux. This amazed me really! My baby boy had suffered from hidden reflux for quite a long time. He often cried when I fed him and choked on milk. He was treated against colic, but when he didn’t seem to improve we took him to another doctor. After his examination it turned out that he was suffering from hidden reflux. And this might have been caused by his head shape. Unbelievable.

Day 14

First check up

First check up. We met another specialist who measured and checked our baby’s head. We really could notice the improvement which was great to see after such a short time!  Unfortunately our little one still couldn’t get used to the helmet, it annoyed him especially during his nap and night time. He didn’t seem to be bothered during the day, but when we put him to sleep, he very often rubbed it into the sheet, like he was trying to take it off or scratch his itchy forehead. He also came up with a sore spot at the back of his skull, and his cheeks got red but I hoped this would disappear, as during the visit at the clinic the helmet was trimmed a little. So there I was, pleased about the progress and feeling sorry for my baby at the same time.

Problems with temperature

Alanek1

Day 9.

Night without the helmet due to temperature rise.

Day 11.

Another night without the helmet. LO was moody in the afternoon and had difficulty with taking his late nap. When I took the helmet off in the evening I found out why he wasn’t a happy bunny. His all head was red! After a bath me and my husband covered it with sudocrem and was trying to put him to sleep, which took about an hour as he was very unsettled but finally fell asleep on my lap.

Day 12.

In the morning I contacted our clinician, because I started worrying about the redness on my baby’s head. It turned out that he must have been too hot while wearing the helmet. As advised we left it off for another day and night.

Some days it is really difficult to keep him cool while the temperature changes and when he is so active.

Day 13.

My little boy felt a lot better, all redness nearly disappeared, but again no helmet during the day. We put it back for the night which went quite all right.

Day 7.

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We had an appointment at paediatric clinic to check my baby boy’s hips. I was wondering what would be the doctor’s reaction on the helmet. She mentioned  it straight away, asked which clinic we went to see and to my surprise commented that what we did was the right thing. Then we were discussing GP’s approach to flat head syndrome which we agreed to be negligent. It was really nice to meet NHS doctor who took the problem with the shape of our little one’s head seriously.

During the visit at the clinic I also learnt that the flat spots might also indicate some issues with babies’ mobility development. For example (I hope that I explain it correctly), if a baby has her favourite side she turns her head to then she may also use only one side of the body to move or reach things which results in the underdevelopment of the opposite side. So, in my opinion, this should be taken into consideration by GP’s when parents mention the strange head shape of their babies to them instead of being told that this will sort itself out over time.

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Day 4.

We took our LO shopping with the helmet on and I was wondering if anybody would notice that he was wearing it.
People did stare and I felt a little annoyed by this, but soon ignored it.

First night with the helmet on went all right. There was nothing unusual during that night, he woke up couple of times as he normally did, but quickly went off. I was so proud of my brave baby.

Day 5.

I realised that I didn’t pay any attention to people’s stares, because I forgot that my baby had a helmet on! It’s amazing how quickly I got used to new circumstance and started considering it as something normal.

The same is with my little boy who seemed to treat the helmet as another piece of clothing that he needed to wear every day and night.

Day 6.

Something funny happened today. I went to a shop and when I was coming near to the till, a women behind the counter looked at my LO and complimented on his hat. Then I took the hood off his head and told her that it wasn’t a hat but a special helmet he needed to wear. She went: Oh! And added that he looked so cute in it.

Worry should be my second name

The day before we were going to pick up the cranial helmet I was full of doubts. Even thought me and my husband made a decision to start the treatment there was still lots of question to ask. Was it really necessary? Would wearing it hurt him? How was he going to play or sleep in it? Did we do the right thing? What would my family’s and friend’s reaction be?
I had read so many articles for and against the treatment that my head felt like exploding. But I decided to follow my instinct. Seeing and talking to parents of children who had already started wearing helmets also helped a lot, as then I learned that it is not as bad as I expected it to be. And most importantly, I stopped thinking that my child is the only one who needed this therapy. But I had a feeling that he would be the only one wearing the helmet in the place where I lived. And I think I was right.

* * *

Day 1.
The little one wasn’t  pleased when the helmet was put on his head. I expected that, as he was never very keen on wearing hats. Seeing the grimace on his face I felt so sorry for him, because I thought that it hurt him. On our way back I had second thoughts about our decision. I felt even worse when later during the day I took or rather was clumsily trying to take the helmet off my baby’s head and he didn’t like it.

Day 2.
I was getting better in putting on and taking off the helmet, but my baby boy was still not happy when I started to alter it on his head. Luckily, when it was on, he didn’t seem bothered at all, which for me was crucial.

My friend came to visit me that day and because I hadn’t mentioned to her that my little boy was undergoing the helmet therapy I felt a little concerned about her reaction. I was prepared for her to be judgemental; I thought that because I kept blaming myself for my baby’s head shape, so I assumed that everyone would be critical towards me . But it was quite opposite. She noticed the helmet straight away and we started talking about it like it was something we had already discussed before. She was very supportive, which was so uplifting.

Day 3.
My little boy had no problem falling asleep with the helmet during the day and at night time. After putting him to sleep at around 8 pm, he woke up at 11 pm, so I took the helmet off and he fell asleep again. So really I shouldn’t have to worry so much. Today was a really good day.

First appointment

Once we chose the best, in our opinion, clinic, we made an appointment. It turned out that our baby developed not only severe brachycephaly, but also plagiocephaly, which meant the flattening at the back and the bulging on the right side of his skull.
We were determined to start the treatment straight away, but unfortunately the manufacturing site was closed during Christmas and in addition, the clinician who took all the measurements was planning to go on holiday, so the next appointment was to be in the middle of January. Which meant another month for our baby before he could start wearing a helmet.
But then, I though, maybe there would be some improvement during the following month? No, there wasn’t.
At the next appointment we found out that the head had grown a bit, but its shape stayed the same. This convinced us even more that our little baby needed the therapy, which he was to start in two weeks time.

Making a decision

After I had noticed that my baby boy had a flat head, I mentioned it to GP and was told that there are many children with their head flattened and that it would even out over time. This, of course, wasn’t enough for me and I started reading about this kind of deformities. I learned that my baby developed a condition called brachycephaly. I read more and more about it and also found out that infant’s head grew most for the first 6 months and then the growth slowed down, so to make the shape of my baby’s skull better I didn’t have much time.
I decided to act.
Firstly, I bought a special pillow to treat a flat head syndrome. Secondly, I watched my baby during the night and made sure that his head is turned in the right direction, as the flatness was worse on one side. Also, most of the time when he was up I put him on his tummy. And when he was on his back I used the pillow – in the push chair, in the cot and during playing. So the ‘head support’ was constantly on the move. Some people could take me for a loony, if they saw me running around the house in one hand holding my baby, in another one the pillow!
After a month I saw a slight improvement, but for me it wasn’t enough. The head was still flat.
In the meantime I did a lot of reading, especially comments from parents who had the same problem. And then I run across a helmet therapy, which seemed to be the only solution to make the problem go away. After talking to my husband and getting to know all pros and cons we both decided to go for it. It was a hard decision to make, especially after hearing the doctors sayings that this would sort itself out.
But I didn’t want to be one of those parents who regretted not having done that when they could have.