My baby has a flat spot on their head – what should I do?

Flat spots (otherwise known as plagiocephaly) are one of the most common things we treat in babies.

Flat spots/plagiocephaly

Flat spots occur on a baby’s skull because at birth, and for the first few years after birth their skulls are very flexible and mouldable. This is due to the presence of fontanelles (or soft spots). It can be very common for babies to have an asymmetrical head shape when born which can be due to the baby’s position inside the uterus or as a result of the moulding from labour. With time, most head shapes should return to normal.

Flattening of the head in one area usually occurs when a baby has a preference to only look one way more than the other, and these babies often have limited neck rotation one way. You can see examples of this below:



So what can you do if you start to notice a flat spot develop on your baby’s head?

It’s important to know that flat spots do not affect the development of the brain, and is a cosmetic condition. It can lead to changes in the physical appearance of the skull and facial features. You may also notice that your baby doesn’t enjoy tummy time and prefers to lay on their back. This is one thing that can lead to a flat spot, as they’re spending most of their time on their back on their flat spot. Encouraging tummy time is an easy way to reduce the amount of time they spend in this position, hence helping to reduce the appearance of this flat spot.

Other things you can do from home to help prevent a flat spot:

  • Encourage babies to look both ways in awake time. Use things they like to look at such as mirrors, windows or your face to entice them to turn the other way
  • Alternate the end of the cot that the baby sleeps in or change the position of the cot in the room. This will encourage your baby to look the other way to observe things of interest.
  • Vary holding and carrying positions of your baby. This will help reduce the pressure placed on the back of their skulls. It will also encourage them to look at objects from different angles.
  • Have a lot of one on one interaction time with baby. Plenty of eye contact is encouraged.

Here is a video, where Sarah is showing you some helpful tips to try if your baby isn’t enjoying tummy time. The more they enjoy tummy time, the less time they spend on their backs which can help reduce/prevent flat spots!



For more information, have a read of the blog on our website that our osteopath Simmone wrote! It goes into a lot more detail about flat spots and neck restrictions. If you have any more questions and would like to talk to one of our paediatric osteopaths about neck restrictions or torticollis and flat spots, please give us a call at the clinic on (03) 9773 8085 or book an appointment online.



This blog post is an educational tool only.  It is not a replacement for medical advice from a registered and qualified doctor or health professional.

Phone: (03) 9773 8085

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