Flat head syndrome: Chrissy Teigen sparks flurry of parents sharing baby helmet photos

Yahoo Style UK
Chrissy Teigen took to social media to explain that her son Miles has to wear a corrective helmet for flat head syndrome [Photo: Getty/Twitter]
Chrissy Teigen took to social media to explain that her son Miles has to wear a corrective helmet for flat head syndrome [Photo: Getty/Twitter]

Parents have taken to Twitter to offer support to Chrissy Teigen‘s son, Miles, who has been fitted with a corrective helmet for “flat head syndrome.”

Chrissy Teigen is one of the most relatable mums on the parenting block, often taking to social media to share her motherhood journey.

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And her most recent reveal sparked the sweetest wave of shares from other parents’ who also have children suffering with the same condition.

The mum-of-two took to Twitter on Monday to tell her followers that her 6-month-old son will be wearing a corrective helmet to treat his plagiocephaly, commonly known as “flat head syndrome.”

“Baby miles [sic] getting fitted for a little helmet today for his adorable slightly misshapen head,” she wrote. “So if you see pictures, don’t feel bad for him because he’s just fixing his flat and honestly he’s probably gonna [sic] be even cuter with it somehow.”

Hours later Teigen shared a picture on Instagram of her cuddling with Miles, who was  wearing his new head gear.

“My baby bug got his head shaping helmet today,” she captioned the image, adding her son is “a happy bug.”

And her adorable tweet sparked an influx from other parents sharing images of their own little ones in their cute corrective helmets.

“It is SO cute. You guys are very sweet,” she tweeted after the thread caught fire.

What is flat head syndrome?

According to the NHS flat head syndrome is fairly common and affects one in every five babies.

The site explains that babies sometimes develop a flattened head when they’re a few months old, usually as a result of them spending a lot of time lying on their back, problems in the womb, being born prematurely and neck muscle tightness.

According to Dr Faiza Khalid MedicSpot GP there are 2 main types of flat head syndrome.

“Plagiocephaly, where the head is flattened on one side causing it to look asymmetrical, and brachycephaly, where the back of the head becomes flattened causing the head to widen.”

“Although it can be quite distressing for parents, flat head syndrome is quite common and affects 1 in 5 babies. In most cases, flat head syndrome is not a cause for concern as it often resolves on its own and doesn’t affect the brain. However, it’s best to get advice early to prevent it from getting any worse,” she adds.

Can flat head syndrome be corrected?

Though babies who are affected will likely see their head shape improve over time, specially designed helmets, like that of Chrissy Teigen’s son Miles, can help improve the shape of a baby’s skull as they grow.

“Cranial helmets are specially designed helmets for your baby to help treat flat head syndrome. This might occur if your baby is spending a lot of time laying on their back,” explains Dr Khalid.

“Cranial helmets might be considered at around 5 or 6 months when your baby’s skull is still soft. These devices claim to work by applying pressure to parts of the skull which are bulging out while relieving pressure from other parts of the skull to allow for growth. Your baby will need to wear the device almost continuously for several months, for up to 23 hours a day,” she adds.

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good morning, nyc!!

A post shared by chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) on Nov 8, 2018 at 7:52am PST


Correctional helmets can be divisive

But not all experts recommend the helmets.

“Cranial helmets are not usually recommended for flat head syndrome due to no clear evidence that they actually work,” Dr Khalid explains. “Not only are they expensive, at around £2000, cranial helmets often cause skin irritation and are uncomfortable and distressing for a baby to wear for long periods of time.”

Dr Colin Bernstein, consultant paediatrician at BMI The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester says that the use of helmets for positional plagiocephaly is a controversial area.

“I cannot think of any NHS trust that prescribes it,” he says. “I’ve also seen studies published that show there is no significant difference between babies that have had the helmet and babies for whom whose parents have ‘watched and waited’.

“It’s a question that parents do ask me – they read that their babies need to have the helmet early if it is to make a difference, but I also tell them that you just don’t see people walking around with flat heads – the majority of people have regular shaped heads,” he adds.

There is also some controversy concerning the position parents are advised to put their babies down to sleep and how this impacts the condition and treatment.

“Since the launch o the ‘back to sleep’ campaigns, which reduced the incidence of cot deaths dramatically, we put babies to sleep on their backs,” Dr Bernstein explains.

“A baby’s skull bones are ‘floating’ – that is to say that the joints between them are not fused which is important not only during birth but also to allow for the rapid growth of the brain after birth,” he continues.

“When we put them to sleep on their backs, any slight flattening goes on to become the preferred resting place for a head.

Dr Bernstein says it will be like this until a baby can start to roll at about 5 or 6 months, and then sit up.

“It gets better as they can take the pressure off that part of the head and will settle down. It does not affect brain development. Supervised tummy time is important, as it changing a baby’s position while feeding – this all helps take the pressure off the head,” he adds.

If you are concerned about the shape of your baby’s head or think they might have problems turning their head, Dr Khalid suggests speak to your GP who will be able to examine your baby’s head and suggest things you can do to help.

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