A look inside Lincoln’s journey through physical therapy and his cranial band aka baby helmet.
If you’ve been following me on instagram and watch my instagram stories, you may have noticed I share a lot of pictures and videos of Lincoln. I mean, he is the cutest baby ever, so I can’t help myself. But you may have also noticed he wears a cranial band – aka a baby helmet. I wanted to share our family’s journey through this process in hopes that I can shed some light on it for anyone else going through it. Or maybe you’re just curious about why Lincoln is wearing a helmet!
When you first have a baby, you go to the pediatrician all the time for wellness checks. At our 8 week appointment, our doctor was a little concerned about the tightness in Lincoln’s neck and the shape of his head. So, we were referred to a place here in Charlotte called Carolina Kinder Development that specializes in physical therapy for infants. By the way, they are literally the best. We have the nicest and kindest physical therapists. Not only do they take such good care of Lincoln, but they always check in with me and Neil to make sure we are doing ok, too. We are so lucky to have found them.
We set up a consultation and learned that Lincoln has torticollis, and, as a result, has plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome). Torticollis is a tightness in the neck due to positioning in the womb or a difficult birth – both of which we experienced! Lincoln moved a lot in my belly, but didn’t change positions. Also, I pushed for about five hours and Lincoln got stuck…soooooo. Yea. Difficult.
Basically, the tightness in Lincoln’s neck caused him to not be able to change the position of his head, which lead to a flatness on one side. At 10 weeks old, Lincoln began receiving physical therapy twice a week in hopes of improving the mobility of his neck. We also wanted to avoid him getting a helmet if at all possible. And that meant doing a lot of work at home with Lincoln.
Going to physical therapy twice a week with an infant was definitely challenging. Working around feeding and naps and everything else in between…this mom was stressed. And don’t forget to add in working and just adjusting to being a parent. I was overwhelmed! Of course, doing what is best for Lincoln is my number one priority.
By the time Lincoln was 3 1/2 months old, it was clear to us that he needed a cranial band. His neck was slowly improving, but the progress was not consistent. Some days, Lincoln would do great, and other days, his neck would be really tight. As a parent, you always want to make the right choices for your child. While it made me really sad that Lincoln needed the helmet, we both knew it was the right thing to do. Besides the physical appearance of his head, the helmet will help prevent jaw and eye issues later in life.
After getting a mold of his head, we waited about a week and a half while it was made. When we went to pick up the helmet and get it fitted, I may or may not have cried when we put it on him. It is really hard to see your child have to go through something like this, especially when you feel like you can’t do anything about it. Fortunately, Lincoln did not even notice he was wearing it! And still now, over 6 weeks later, the helmet still doesn’t bother him at all. Plus, he looks adorable wearing it.
We anticipate that Lincoln will wear his baby helmet anywhere between 12-16 weeks. He is continuing with his physical therapy and is making great improvements now that he is a lot more mobile. If you have any questions about the process, let me know!
A few tips if your child has or is getting a helmet:
- Babies sweat through their head and their feet. And since their head is covered, no more socks or footed PJs so they don’t get over heated!
- Fun fact: the helmet will acquire an odor because of the sweating. You can wipe the helmet out with baby wipes daily and equal parts alcohol and water once a week. I also sit it in the sun sometimes to dry out.
- The first week, we took three 2-hour breaks wearing his helmet. The second week, we took three 1-hour breaks. And starting the third week, we take three 20-minute breaks every day.
- With a little practice, putting on and removing the helmet is really easy!
Photography by Paige Winn Photo