Chiropractic and Your Baby’s Head Shape

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No two babies are alike, and that includes head shape.  Head shapes of babies may vary depending on how a baby is born and the positions they are in during their first few months of life.  Babies delivered by C-Section often come out with perfectly round little heads while babies delivered vaginally tend to have a more egg-shaped head from passing through the birth canal.  Babies’ skulls are softer at birth so that they can shift and move through the birthing process as needed, and most babies’ heads will return to a round shape shortly after birth, despite how they were born.  Different skull shapes are nothing to worry about as a newborn. 

As babies get older, they may begin to develop a flat spot on the back or side of the head.  Because young babies can’t move around or sit up yet, laying in one position at all times can create this flat spot on the skull.  Plagiocephaly, or Flat Head Syndrome, has seen an increase in recent years.  Any sign of a flat spot on a baby’s skull should be examined by a doctor because it could be a sign of other problems such as ear infections, visual or hearing disabilities, or delayed development in motor, movement, or language skills. Consulting a Bentonville chiropractor at Arbor Vitae Chiropractic can also help reshape your baby’s head.  Here are some ways to address and correct a developing flat spot on a baby’s skull.

Be Aware of Head Positioning

Laying your baby down the same way every time is sure to cause a flat spot on the skull. This means that if they always look at the fan in their room that is to their left, they will likely develop a flat spot on the left side of their head. Because a baby’s skull doesn’t begin to harden until around 3 months old, it is important to always be aware of how you lay your baby down.  Try laying them different ways each time.  You might lay them on their back with their head to the right for their nap and then lay them on their back with their head to the left for bed.  You can also rock them to sleep in one arm one night and then switch to the next another night so that they get used to sleeping in different positions and on different sides of the head. Being conscious of not laying your baby down the same way all the time will allow the head shape to develop evenly all around.

Make Time for Tummy Time

Newborn babies are not usually big fans of tummy time in the beginning. However, it is very beneficial for them to have tummy time, even if it’s just for a few minutes every couple of hours.  Tummy time allows them to strengthen their neck muscles and practice their motor skills.  Much like positioning their head, tummy time can get them used to a new position so that they aren’t always laying in the same spot, leaving them at risk of developing a flat spot.

Consult a Pediatric Chiropractor

Pediatric Chiropractors can gently adjust a baby’s spine to release spinal pressure from the womb and delivery.  Releasing this pressure in the spine can assist in proper cranial bone formation.  Furthermore, Dr. Tom Niemela, a chiropractor in Bentonville, can work on newborns with plagiocephaly to help them regain normal head shape.  In one case study, and 8-month-old with plagiocephaly had significant milestone delays and pain from pressure in the head due to the plagiocephaly.  After seeking chiropractic care, the baby met all developmental milestones and had improved head shape.  If you are concerned about your baby’s head shape, call Dr. Tom Niemala at Arbor Vitae Chiropractic today to talk with him about how chiropractic can help.



Hash, J. “Deformational Plagiocephaly and Chiropractic Care: A Narrative Review and Case Report.” Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics, 2014 Mar; 14(2): 1131-1138.

Quezada, D. “Chiropractic Care of an Infant with Plagiocephaly.” Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics, 2004; 6(1): 342-8.