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Head Shape

Here are the common issues covering infants’ heads.

Head Size
Head size varies from kid to kid. During regular visits to the doctor, the head circumference is measured to monitor the growth [See: Growth Charts]. If Lucy has a very small or a very large head in comparison to her body, look at your own; you may discover that it’s a family trait.

Big Bump on the Head
In a newborn, you may feel a soft bump on the head. Pressure against the pelvic bone during delivery sometimes causes bleeding in the scalp. This bump can be quite large and take a couple of weeks to disappear. It can even cause the baby to be jaundiced in the first few days [See: Jaundice].

Small Bumps on the Head
If you run your hand over Lucy’s or Jimmy’s skull, you’ll feel multiple bumps and ridges. The bumps are little lymph nodes that are normal on a child’s skull, while the ridges are the intersection of the bones of the skull. So, now you can enjoy petting your kid’s head without any worries.

Flattening of the Head
Because babies spend most of their time lying on their backs, their skulls, which are softer than adults’ heads, can flatten temporarily. This is usually a mild condition that reverses as the head grows. In rare cases, the skull flattens more significantly on one side, which leads the baby to lie on it more often, further increasing the flattening. Babies who have large heads and torticolis (a tendency to bend the head to one side) are more likely to be affected, as are premature babies.

Your concern over a flat head is understandable, but rest assured it is purely aesthetic. Even severe flattening has no effect on the brain, and in most cases the condition will completely resolve on its own. That said, positioning Lucy can minimize further flattening. Prop her up with foam cushions so she’s resting on the side that is not flat. Place mobiles or other toys on the opposite side of the crib to attract her gaze [See: Crib Paraphernalia]. If torticolis is a factor, a gentle neck massage will loosen the muscles [See: Neck Tilting].

Ordinarily, treatment ends with these simple positioning measures. Even significant flattening becomes barely noticeable with age and a full head of hair. In extreme cases, some doctors used to use helmets to reshape the skull, but such treatments have shown no benefit, are expensive, and I have not found convincing evidence that they are efficient.