Hi, folks. Long time, no blog. Let’s just jump right in.
H is nearly eight months old now–wowee! And with that comes the babbling, which is SO SWEET because he’ll “speak” with such gusto (and include various dinosaur-like squeals). In our attempts to get him used to our church outside of the cry room, he’s had a few LOUD babbling matches with other babies in our parish during readings, homilies, psalms, etc. We pray with him every night and more recently starting talking about how Jesus loves him. H looks up at ceiling fans and light fixtures occasionally, so when he’s looking up at the crucifix in our living room, we tell him, “That’s Jesus, kiddo. He loves you more than mommy and daddy.”
As far as I can tell, Dr. H is enjoying his internal medicine chief-dom. It’s quite the departure from patient care (it’s kind of like being in middle management between the administration and residents), so when he was covering a 24-hour shift recently for someone who covered for him back in March, he came home with some pep in his step. Change is good. One perk for family life? His schedule is so much more predictable! He gets weekends off and is home at reasonable hours. He’s in the midst of applying to fellowships, so fingers crossed there!
On (Mom) Life
Who has two thumbs and just froze 30 ounces of breastmilk? This mom! Now, that may not sound like a lot, but for someone who pumps a total of three to four ounces in one pumping session, that was pretty amazing. My baby has food!
Now, the whole, “It Will Round Out” title. Baby heads are super malleable at first (to make it out of the birth canal). H happened to favor a way to hold his head, which was ever so slightly turned to his right. We followed the AAP recommendation and put him on his back to sleep, but because of that slight turn (and likely some other early events, like being on his back for 12 hours for jaundice light treatment at three days old, having his head the same way in the car seat for four hours when we went to the in-laws for Thanksgiving at a little more than a week old, the rock-and-play that he slept in sometimes that first month, etc.) he has some flattening on the back of his head, also called plagiocephaly.
I noticed it early on (very mild) at about four weeks. It was obvious enough to me that I had Dr. H hold him out while I took a picture of the top of his head:
People told me I was being a paranoid, but I started putting H to sleep on his side (supervised) and held him more. At two months, it started getting more obvious. We stopped using the rock-and-play and I let H sleep on his belly (supervised) during the day. At each doctor’s appointment, I’d mention my concern about his head shape. Luckily, it’s just cosmetic and doesn’t affect development, but each time, the recommendations were:
- More tummy time
- Hold him more
- Reposition his head while he sleeps
- Don’t let him sleep in bouncers, rockers, car seats, swings
- Limit time in bouncers, rockers, car seats, swings
- Put toys and shiny things on the side that isn’t flat to encourage him to turn
- Place him in his crib where he’ll turn toward the door (off his flat spot)
Now, you can imagine my mom guilt and feelings of inadequacy whenever I looked at the back of his head. I thought I was giving him plenty of tummy time, but I could easily increase that. I held him quite a bit, but I could hold him more (and in a wrap or Ergobaby if my arms got tired). Repositioning his head? I can’t tell you how many times (even to this day) that I wake H from his sleep from doing this. Even when I’d turn his head, he’d turn it back after a little while to that so-called sweet spot. Here’s his head at almost three months:
I started asking about helmets and whether or not that was something we should pursue. I’d read about them, visited online forums about moms and dads who’d chosen the helmet route, researched the pros and cons, and was amazed about the results. H was also in the perfect age range (four months).
Our pediatrician checked H’s ears, assessed his facial symmetry, saw that he didn’t have a problem turning his head left or right (I’m guessing to rule out torticollis), and told us to continue this conservative course of action. She said that she’d seen worse cases and referred those children on to the neurologist for helmets; ultimately, those children weren’t helmeted. Additionally, a helmet therapy study came out in 2014 that recommended letting nature take its course when it came to head shape.
As much as I wrestle with this decision on a daily basis, we’re following the recommendation of our pediatrician and not putting H in a helmet. I hope that in two years, I can write a follow-up blog and tell all worried mama bears that it’ll be okay.
Otherwise, he’s healthy and the happiest little (big!) guy around.