After Curly was born, and before, there were numerous pamphlets shoved my way. Most were to do with safe sleeping and SIDS. I almost burst out laughing when at her 6 month check up with the nurse I was asked if I needed information about safe sleeping. Once again handed pamphlets about how to place your baby in the cot and all the do’s and don’ts prescribed the the SIDS prevention campaign (mostly relating to a newborn). They went straight in the bin, not because I don’t believe in what they’re trying to achieve, but because I’d already been inundated, completely swamped with the SIDS message by every nurse I’d come across. A Child health nurse friend of mine explained a case in WA not too long ago where a baby had died of SIDS and the mother claimed to have never heard about it before, or the safe-sleeping message. Of course this sparked a bigger campaign to saturate new mothers with brochures and pamphlets so as to not have a reoccurrence. Government agencies are made to be so risk averse that it’s normal for new mothers to feel completely inadequate when confronted by medical staff over the care of their baby.
One of the unfortunate results of babies spending so much time laying on their backs at night (especially the good sleepers) is that their soft little heads are rather obliging. Because Curly spent a lot of time in the NICU and then the special care nursery, by the time we got home her little head was already starting to flatten slightly at the back. By 3 months I was getting a bit concerned, flat head can cause other facial peculiarities (such as sticky outy ears, that’s the official term I believe). She still has ears that poke out a little, but hair will eventually hide those, and I think it’s kind of cute now. By 4 months I decided something needed to be done, she slept so well at night and rarely shifted her position. I found a baby head rest pillow online, and started to see improvement after that, I would use it when she was chilling on her play mat, and she had it at night until she was about 6 months old. By that point she could use it to lever herself onto the side, it had to go.
When she was 8 months old she started sleeping on her stomach and now you would never guess there had been an issue. But I was seriously concerned there for a while (especially after doing google images for flat head syndrome!). If you’re a new mummy DON’T FREAK OUT! Our case was perhaps more unusual to most, and plenty of cuddles and tummy-time during the day will prevent flat head (no one else in my mother’s groups seemed to have a problem). But if by 3 months you see a flatness forming, the pillow is a good solution, just so you know there’s something else out there other than those ugly helmets.