My daughter lays with her head to the left (my left), and the right side of her head is starting to flatten. My pediatrician said to encourage her to lay with her head to the right, and to stretch her neck muscles on the left.

Stretching neck muscles is difficult, since she usually fights it, and because there's so little space to get fingers between her head and shoulder, to massage her neck muscles.

Has anyone else had this happen?
What did you do to encourage laying on the other side?
Did the flattening go away on its own?

The onesie that started it all

asked 07 Jul '10, 16:56

Sunday's gravatar image

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+1 Great question!

(09 Jul '10, 20:03) Emi

When my son was about six weeks old it was pointed out to me that he had a flat spot at the back of his head. I was advised to try and encourage him to sleep slightly on his side(alternating the side) using a rolled up cloth nappy to support him. (Trying to find a link to show this)I found this rather tricky to do at first but it did keep him from lying flat on his back..

Not longer after this my MIL comment that he had a flat spot like his dad and her. So this made me think there must be some genetic element to it. He is now four and he does still have a very slight flat spot I think but it is not obvious due to a lot of hair. Until my MIL commented I had not noticed that my husband's head had a flat spot at the back either.

Because of what had happened with my son when I had my daughter I use one of these see link. This worked well for us.

I was never told about stretching the neck. The other thing that I told to do was when he was lying on the floor put the toys on the side I was encouraging him to turn to. I also used a mirror to do the same thing.


answered 07 Jul '10, 22:39

K%20D's gravatar image

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+1 for a product I'd never seen before

(08 Jul '10, 20:02) Sunday

This was a topic that was brought to my attention by my Mother in Law. She explained how important she thought it was for our baby to sleep for short periods on alternate sides as well as her back so that her head would not be flat. Her concern was purely cosmetic.

We found that tummy time worked great for the neck muscles if we (my husband or myself or both) also were facing our little one at that level, and making direct eye contact.

We also had a "wedge" pillow similar to the one linked in the K D s answer, and used that for a short time.

To answer your questions;

We have not had any advice similar to what was given to you for massaging the neck, but were told to strengthen neck muscles through regular stretches of tummy time.

To encourage laying down on different sides I would lie down briefly next to my daughter, making eye contact and holding her fingers/or letting her hold on to my fingers

We have very round heads in our family (my husband and I) although my Father in Law has a very visible flat plateau at the rear of his head, so I can't say whether the reason my daughter also has a round head is the result of the information above or a combination of both.

Since becoming a parent I have noticed this syndrome in more in babies, and am inclined to think that it perhaps it can be lessened if not totally overcome, by rotating the sleeping positions instead of always sleeping in the same position.


answered 09 Jul '10, 20:01

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

edited 10 Jul '10, 08:36

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Asked: 07 Jul '10, 16:56

Seen: 3,821 times

Last updated: 10 Jul '10, 08:36