At 6 months old, almost 7 months, our gal donned her helmet or “band” as they call it. We were told to check for red spots and irritations. She quickly developed a rash where the stabilizing portion on the helmet rubbed her cheek. That was on a Friday afternoon, so we had to leave the helmet off until Monday. When we went in we were told that was not enough to worry about. They put a bit of moleskin to reduce friction.
The greatest bit of progress made was when we went to my D.O. for craniosacral therapy. He does not take insurance, but he was wonderful. It was the most expensive therapy we got, but we saw results within a few days. We continued to go to the chiropractor every few weeks to help with the torticollis. I can’t say whether the progress had anything to do with the helmet or not just the therapy, but we are thankful for it, either way.
We ordered personalized aviator stickers from www.blingyourband.com. While we waited for those to arrive we painted the helmet a base coat of acrylic pink. Even with a coat of spray lacquer it peeled quickly. The next step was to turn that pink helmet into a Hello Kitty face. It was a simple design that I could paint myself. I was able to add a bow by clipping it on the velcro strap of
her helmet. I changed her bow to match her outfits. It was adorable and unique. Finally our aviator stickers came in the mail and we decorated with them, then covered the helmet with Modge Podge. That was the secret to keeping the paint on and the design intact.
Baby tolerated the helmet pretty well, though it caused her to regress in the amount of times she woke up in the night. We went in for adjustments every two weeks. I found each nurse there a bit different in approach. Most were very responsive. I did not like the way the helmet drooped in her eye, so they trimmed in back a bit. Towards the end of treatment I became very unhappy with the way the stabilizer was squashing her cheek and was worried that is was misshaping the cheekbone. They took my concerns seriously, did some research, and made adjustments, though in the end they disagreed with my assessment. The soft tissue may have been what was being misshapen, but ultimately the real issue was that she had outgrown the helmet in about 10 weeks. We could have had another helmet made at the same price as the first to make a little more progress toward cranial perfection. But a two second cost-benefit analysis in my head declared “no”.
Our baby rocked that helmet. It was adorable, especially after we decorated it. But we missed her head and it made it a little more difficult to kiss and cuddle her sweet face. One appointment after the cheek squishing issue we decided she had spent enough time in the helmet. She had made amazing progress. It is not perfect, but who has a perfect head? When she grows a little hair I will not even be able to notice a little unevenness with my mom hyper scrutiny.
We are continuing craniosacral therapy with another, bit less pricey therapist that specializes in babies, though we have to drive far to see her (Malka in North Miami). We still do a little gentle stretching and see the chiropractor. I am not sure that we could have prevented it, but I will warn parents to look for the slightest sign of baby holding their neck crooked and start gentle stretching before it is too late. There are great youtube videos by therapists and parents that show exactly how it should be done. I may even make a special neck pillow my standard baby shower gift. Because really, it is like a $2,000.00 baby gift. That is how much I am saving the new parent if they avoid a helmet.
Nowadays you are going to see many babies in DOC brand helmets. They have become readily available and they are needed because putting baby on their back to sleep, while helping reduce deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, causes flat spots in some children. We are evidence that even hyper-vigilance with tummy time may not be enough to prevent funky head shapes.
I would love to hear your helmet experiences and good therapists or solutions!
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