My life was smooth until my baby was 2 months old and then everything started going upside down like a roller coaster.
At first I noticed that my dear daughter had a flat head on the right side. I immediately started googling and the answers came out consoling that it is very common and it will go by changing the position of the baby while sleeping for every 30 minutes, holding the baby without applying too much pressure on the head while awake or letting the baby on the floor and make them turn in the opposite direction. Easy, right? I told my husband and he said I am over thinking about it. Maybe he was right, I thought. I even told my mother about this and she told me the same. But she asked me to gently rotate the back of baby’s head with palms in circular motion. I did that daily and was trying to notice some changes daily but nothing. By this time, my baby girl started rolling over.
I was a lonely mother with no one for help. So, whenever I am alone, I just keep myself busy by reading the blogs, articlces and q&a. One day I came across an article which told about plagiocephaly(term for flat head as I came to know) leading to torticollis. I started reading it and got worried more. I immediately started working on my baby to read any signs of torticollis.
I let her sit upright and she would have her head tilted to her left shoulder. I was able to see her right side of the neck but not the left. I started analysing the photos that we have taken, most of them were same with her head tilted to the left. When she was on her tummy, I started showing the toys on her right and left side. I found that she was not able to turn her head to the left side instead she tried to turn her whole body to the left to see the toy. Again I told my worries to my husband, he listened but was not ready to accept that she had torticollis and so did my family. So I told him that I would bring it up in the 4th month doctor visit.
In the meantime, I told myself that she will be fine if I continue to make her turn her head to the left but she eventually figured out to pivot to the left which made me feel helpless. I couldn’t wait to see the doctor to hear his views and tell me that I am just an over protective mother but that was not the case. He agreed on both the flat head and torticollis. I was heart broken. The flat head was no more a bigger problem to me. After the diagnosis, my husband agreed too. The doctor gave us a exercise to improve her neck but we could never do it because she used to scream and looks her dad pleadingly to stop it. I was in tears every time we did that. We eventually stopped it as it was breaking both of our hearts. We got a reference to pediatric therapist from her pediatrician and immediately booked an appointment with him.
I was glad after coming from the first session itself. The therapist was so friendly and gentle. She cried(not screaming) for the first few times but gradually she progressed. Though it was not easy to hold a wriggling baby in the arms during the exercise, I was very very happy to see the neck of my dear girl. We kept doing it until she was 6 months old. And then we kept doing it whenever we saw her head tilted. It was more pronounced when she started sitting, crawling and walking. We also watched and adjusted her posture whenever needed. Especially when she started walking, she used to tumble down because of the tilt. When she mastered walking by the age of 12 months, we were the happy parents. We never had to do the exercises any more. We are so happy to see her long neck moving to the left and right without any signs of torticollis that she had. Our efforts came fruitful and am so glad about it. Now she runs and plays like all the kids. Watching her play in the swing and slider makes me remember that she is stronger than I can imagine.
I told my story here because no one in my family(mother side) believed that there is something called flat head and torticollis. Yeah, maybe if i was in India, even i wouldn’t have known about it. But people out there like me would have taken serious steps of prevention if ever known about this. I have provided some links which helped me through this situation. Being aware of what you are dealing with will help you. If you are reading this because you think that your baby has torticollis then don’t waste time. Get a diagnosis done by your pediatrician. If yes, then immediately get a good pediatric therapist reference and do the exercises they suggest. And torticollis is totally curable but it takes lot of time, effort and patience. How easy it would be to get our baby cured in just one day but thats not how it works sometime. It is so stressful for both the parents. Especially if the mom is a housewife then it is going to be even more stressful because in my case, I was depressed. Also remember, that the exercises are going to stress the baby too. Whenever I felt down before we started seeing the changes, my husband asks me only one thing, “how many people have you seen in your life with their head tilted?” and my answer was “No one”. So just do what you have to do and rest is assured that your baby will be alright.
And regarding the flat head, we were advised to place her on left side while sleeping since her right side was flat. It was less noticeable by the 6th month period and hence we let her sleep as she liked. Her head was completely rounded when she was 10 months.
So here is to all parents who has or going to have babies. If you ever suspect that your baby has some problem, don’t care about what others say. Trust your motherly instincts. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
The above two articles helped me to understand about what I faced. I didn’t find anything new about these from other sites for my case. And trying to search for new details only depressed me. So don’t make that mistake. If your child is diagnosed for torticollis, then try to accept it and start the exercises instead of trying to find the cause. Finding the cause will make no difference. If you ever need more details, contact your pediatrician or the therapist. They are the right people to provide the assurance that you need.