Huggies Forum

Huggies® Ultimate

Learn More

Bubs' head has a flat spot! Rss

Hi ladies
My girl is 8 weeks old now, and favours one side of her head when sleeping, playing, cuddling - everything! I've tried just about every suggestion that my midwife/health nurse can come up with, but she manages to wriggle around to sleep on her favourite side every time.

Has any one else had this problem? Does any one know of any successful ways of changing this habit before her head is permanently moulded this way?

I have tried putting interesting things on the other side of her cot, turning her cot so she has different things on that side (window, door etc), rolling towel and putting it under her head and shoulder to lift her up that side (she squirms around til she can snuggle in beside the towel) I haven't tried sleeping her on her side, as she is quite active and can easily roll over from a side position. This may be something I consider though, if others have had success with this.

Thanks for any ideas
Hi Jess.

My son was 6 weeks when I took him to the childhood nurse and I voiced my concern to her over the same thing...she refered me to the public hospital physio department.

My son would follow me with his head to the right but when I walked past him to the left he would only use his eyes. He found it hard to turn his head to the left and would whinge a little.

Here is some info on torticollis which is what my boy had....and it sounds like your bub might have too but can easily be fixed.....

About 1 in 200 babies have torticollis, a shortening of a muscle in the neck causing their head to tilt to one side. The muscle affected is called the sterno-cleido-mastoid muscle (SCM), and it goes from the sternum (breast bone) to the skull just behind the ear. 'Torticollis' means twisted neck, and 'congenital' means that it is present at birth.

What does it look like?
Usually torticollis is picked up several weeks after birth when it is noticed that the baby's head is usually turned to one side, and it is difficult to turn his head to the other side.
The baby's head is usually tilted so that he will look up as well as to the side This tilt is due to the shortened muscle on the opposite side of the neck.
The muscle feels tight, and there can be a small swelling in the middle of the muscle, rather like an olive.

Causes of torticollis
Most commonly the muscle on one side of the neck is shorter than the one on the other side because the baby's head was held in a twisted position in the womb before birth.
For some babies, there may have been an injury to the muscle during birth. As the injury heals, scar tissue develops which makes the muscle tighter.
A baby can develop muscle shortenening if the head is turned to the same side most of the time, eg. for sleeping. This is not a congenital torticollis, but treatment is the same.

Treatment of torticollis
An examination of the baby's neck will usually be enough to be sure that the twisting is due to a tight muscle. X-rays or other tests are not usually needed.

The tight muscle needs to be stretched.

The muscle is passively (and gently) stretched by turning the baby's head so that the chin is moved towards the affected side. 'Passive' means that the stretching is done by a parent or someone else, not the baby. A physiotherapist or your doctor will be able to show you how to do this.
The baby can also be encouraged to stretch her muscle (active stretching) by putting things that she will be interested in looking at on her unaffected side.
Usually there will be improvement within 2 to 3 months and the baby will be able to move her neck fully in less than 12 months. Rarely surgery is needed to lengthen the muscle.

Problems from torticollis
If the muscle is not stretched, the muscle can become permanently tight.
Because the head is always held to one side, the baby's face can become asymmetrical and the skull can become flattened on one side (plagiocephaly). When the muscle becomes longer and the baby is able to turn his head from side to side, his head and face usually become a more normal shape. See the topic 'Misshapen head'.

Check out this website if you like more info...


Luke & ~Rhiarna~ 13.05.04 & Ryan 26.03.07


Have you tried a safety sheet it straps your baby to the matteress and your baby can't move it great for putting your baby on their side and it worked for my son who also favoured one side.

You can also get a special pillow that stops your baby from rolling and great for putting them on their sides.

I got both of these from babies galore they have worked great for me.

Hello. I would suggest taking your baby to see a chiropractor. During the birth process the spinal bones can become misaligned and compress the nerves, causing neck discomfort, so baby will lay in the position that is most comfortable for them. Chiropractic is gentle, safe and effective and no referral is required. I have had much success taking my two DD's to the chiropractor for various ailments. Good Luck!

Hi there,

My DD#1 had this problem and it was picked up by CHN at 5 weeks. We tried the toys on opposite side to that favoured etc but to no avail - she just wouldn't sleep on the opposite side to the one she favoured. We took her to a chiropractor and she was diagnosed with torticollis. She had 2 x weekly treatment for 10 weeks then monthly for 6 months. She is now 3 and has 4 monthly checks - the difference in her was noticeable after 1 treatment. It was probably caused by a combination of early engagement, big baby (4.4kg) and possibly the way she rested inside me. It might be worth seeing a chiro - it made a huge difference to our bub - she slept better, reflux disappeared literally overnight and she bacame a calmer more placid child. I now realise that she was unhappy probably because she wasn't comfortable. BTW - our health cover covered chiro so might be worth checking as it makes a difference when each session was $40!!!!

Good luck
our second ds also had a mild form of torticollis (sp?), we were referred to a physio who gave us some exercises to do so it may be worth checking out. In the meantime, try and give bub as much tummy time as possible when they are awake and try feeding on the opposite side (if bottle fed) giving them a little neck massage also helps.

mum to two gorgeous guys

My DS, now 7 months had a flat head diagnosed at 8 weeks. we went to a physio.

It was impossible to get him to turn his head when sleeping, so we had to strengthen his neck during the day.

Loads of tummy time.

Also, I would lie on the floor next to DS, on the non favoured side, and entertain him. Read stories, play, sing etc. Almost all playtime was spent like this.

One side of his change table is against a wall, so I put family photos and pics on the wall so he'd look that way.

When DS was on his back on the floor, I'd put his toys on the non favoured side.

If approaching him, I'd approach on the non favoured side.

When he sat in his rocker, we'd put him next to a wall, on the favoured side and we'd sit on the non favoured side to talk to him, or do the same if he was watching mein the kitchen.

Anyway, it only took about 3 weeks before he turned both ways in the cot again and 3 months to correct itself almost completely. Looking at himnow, you'd never know.

It does depend on the severity of the flatness, but his was pretty bad.

Good luck
MY son is just turned 3 months and his really really flat one theleft side it is impossible to get him to look the other way when his sleeping.. i've tried to make his head and position it the other way but he somehow manages to to back to the left and even if i put him to the wall he still doesnt want to look away..

I was thinking of getting the corrective helmet does anyone know where to get it?

Hi g0rgeouz...

Maybe book into see your ECHN and ask for a referal to the local hospital physio department and they'll check our your man...

they did with my son and I have been taking him to physio over the past 4 mths and in time he can now use all of his neck muscles and also sleeps on the unfavoured side etc.... The physio said to me that it only takes a week to get a flat spot but unfortunatley it can take up to a year to correct itself....

My little guy was quite bad (I thought so anyway) but she said that the helmet wasn't needed...and they also said it was very common in babies now that it's recommended they sleep on their backs...

Anyway , just a thought.

Luke & ~Rhiarna~ 13.05.04 & Ryan 26.03.07

My DS2 had this, along with reflux, irritability, problems feeding/drinking his bottle, sleeplessness to name a few and I took him to a chiro at 10 weeks of age. He's been for 4 visits over 2 weeks and the improvement is out of sight. His flat spot was on his right and no matter what I did, unless I physically moved his head he would not look left. After the first visit he started turning left, and now he follows wherever you go. The other issues have subsided too!!
Definitely check into it... there's nothing to lose!!
DS had a flat spot on his head, the nurses kept drumming it into me that I needed to get him to sleep on the other side or we'll end up in physio etc. Well that scared me so I went out and brought a head cradle, which ended up pointless cause he just moved his head out of it.

You know what as soon as he was able to move around and sit up etc, it balanced back out quite quickly. So unless it seems really severe, I wouldnt stress too much as its quite common and will go back to normal shortly.

I have a 2 year old now!!


my son developed a flat spot on the side of his head from 3 months i took him to the doctor who referred me to a physio. i had to do alot of exercises like holding he head and leaning it to the side. plus the physio and my doctor said i should get a helmet which would help mould he head into shape.he got the helmet on 2 months ago and it has done wonders hey its alot of money but it is worth getting the helmet. Plus its best to get it done now then later when your girl is older
Sign in to follow this topic