Does your baby have plagiocephaly? How to fix flat-head syndrome

With pediatricians recommending that babies sleep on their backs to avoid sudden infant...

With pediatricians recommending that babies sleep on their backs to avoid sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), plagiocephaly has become increasingly common. Also known as flat-head syndrome, plagiocephaly results from a baby resting too much in one position, causing a flat spot on the back of a soft head. If your baby has developed a flat spot, don't panic. There are several measures you can take to fix plagiocephaly.

Sleeping position

Newborns and infants do not have the neck strength to move their own heads, so they often leave it in the same spot while they sleep. To help fix your baby's flat spot, try gently repositioning your baby's head while he or she is sleeping. This helps relieve the pressure on that spot, allowing the head to round out better.

Tummy time

To help fix plagiocephaly, make sure your baby gets plenty of "tummy time." Simply lay your baby on his stomach. Your baby will then try to lift his head and look up. This helps develop the neck muscles your baby needs to eventually reposition his head by himself. Do this several times throughout the day.

Alternate feeding positions

Be sure to alternate the feeding position if you are bottle-feeding. Since babies' heads are soft, even the repetition of feeding on the same side can prevent their heads from developing more symmetrically. If you are breastfeeding, this will be done naturally.

Sitting and stretching

Another way to help fix plagiocephaly is to make sure your baby doesn't spend too much time in a swing or laying down while awake. It is important to sit your baby on your lap while supporting her. Like "tummy time," this will also help your child develop the neck muscles needed to move her own head. Additionally, ask your doctor about stretching techniques that can help give your baby greater range of motion in the neck, which will help her alternate positions.


If your baby has developed a flat spot, there are special pillows you can purchase that help fix it. The pillows are designed to help take the pressure off the back of your baby's head, helping the flat spot to round out.

Although rare, doctors will send parents to a cranial specialist if the case is severe. If you are uncertain about the severity of your baby's flat spot, visit your Atlanta pediatrician for more information.

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