Book Review: The Flat Head Syndrome Fix

Book Review of The Flat Head Syndrome Fix. Potential, LLC

During my first pregnancy, I spent lots of time learning about the birth process, I tracked my baby’s development by the week with my Mayo Clinic book, and of course I spent time on mom blogs researching the best options for my registry.

The one thing I committed hardly any time to reading about was my baby’s developmental needs after his birth.

Once my baby was born, those nesting hormones that contributed to a seemingly insatiable desire to learn about my baby were suddenly replaced by a (natural and healthy) desire just to snuggle.

I remember reading some about breastfeeding when difficulty necessitated it, but other than that my research desire went out the window.

Granted, babies’ developmental needs can feel very simplistic at first: eating and sleeping. But, in albeit subtle ways, all of your babies systems are just beginning to kick into gear. Important developmental milestones are happening that can go unnoticed by even the most attentive of parents.

In her book, The Flat Head Syndrome Fix, occupational therapist, Rachel Coley, addresses two important developmental happenings in the first month of babies’ life: 1) the healthy shaping of the skull before the bones finally fully fuse and 2) positioning. The two are closely intertwined.

Why This Book Matters

Despite researching diligently my pregnancy and birth, as soon as baby was born I relied heavily on advice from friends and honestly, the gear that was marketed to me.

There are so many baby gear contraptions on the market to help soothe baby, and people rave about them as essential. But the reality is these baby gear devices limit some of those subtle developmental processes going on in the first month, particularly movement and positioning. When the head is held in the same position for hours on end, those still-forming skull bones can become flattened.

In her book, Coley cites research that around 50% of babies will experience head flattening. Coley walks you through the mechanics of how this is happening, why these flat spots matter, and simple positioning strategies you can use to prevent and reverse flattening.

Is This Book Worth Reading If My Baby Does Not Have Flat Head Syndrome?

Yes. ½- ¾ of this book is about healthy movement and positioning patterns for your infant as well as tips for screening for early signs of head flattening.

The book is a quick and easy read. Honestly, the most effective time to read it is during pregnancy, before you have made decisions about baby gear in your home. Coley’s book has helped me think through stroller, car seat, baby wearing and baby holding devices based on my baby’s developmental needs—not just Amazon reviews.

I Think My Baby Is On Route to Needing a Helmet, Is It Too Late to Read This Book?

After the general introduction to how babies’ heads are shaped and the importance of positioning, the book goes on to give specific advice about what to do if your babies’ head is showing signs of flattening.

The advice is meant to be taken in conjunction with instruction from your doctor and pediatric therapist. Coley walks through positioning options for babies with different types of head flattening: flat across the back, flattening on one side, flat on back and one side and long and narrow heads.

Finally, the book concludes with a discussion about how to navigate the decision to invest in a helmet. Coley gives a helpful explanation of how helmets work and factors that might limit their effectiveness.

Handled With Care

You will be able to tell from this book that Coley is not only a diligent researcher but also has years of clinical experience working with parents through these issues. She addresses head-on some of the emotions that parents may deal with when flattening occurs as well as some of the day-to-day struggles with changing positioning habits.

To get a taste for Coley’s writing you can also check out her blog,

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