'Flat Head Syndrome'
When a baby is developing in the womb its head can become moulded into an abnormal shape due to the position it is lying in.
This is a condition known as Positional Plagiocephaly or 'Flat Head Syndrome'.
Positional plagiocephaly commonly occurs after the baby is born if it lies in one position for a long period of time. For example, if a baby lies in cot or on a mat with its head in the same position for a long time, the head can become flattened.
If a baby's head becomes misshapen in this way it will usually correct itself in the first year of the baby's life. Sometimes the condition gets worse before it gets better, but there are generally no health problems associated with flat head syndrome.
Ways to prevent Positional PlagiocephalyWhen your baby is lying down, position the head so the pressure is on the least flattened side.
Let your baby have 'tummy time' every day - place your baby on its front and put a rolled up towel underneath its chest and arms for support
If your baby prefers to lie on one side, encourage it to turn around by placing a mobile or a picture on the other side
Make sure the cot mattress is firm and made of natural fibre
Carry your baby in a baby sling to allow it to be upright without putting too much pressure on any one part of the head
Sit your baby on your knee, in a baby bouncer or in a high chair.
Each of these measures will help to improve the posture, balance and head control of your baby.
Special moulding helmets are available to treat severe positional plagiocephaly, but at the moment there is not much evidence to support how effective they are. The majority of babies recover from flat head syndrome naturally.