Tuesday, March 26, 2013

To Helmet or Not to Helmet? That is the Question.

I have been aware that Sidekick has positional plagiocephaly (flat head) since he was about 3 1/2 months old.  He began sleeping eight hours at four weeks old and 12 hours at nine weeks old.  He essentially never moved while sleeping, and he still doesn't move much; hence the "help" in creating the flat head.  Because of how he was positioned in me during pregnancy, he always preferred to sleep with his head facing one direction. I tried everything from early on to reverse this: flipped him to the other end of the crib to force him to look out into the room instead of the wall, wedge something under the flat side of his head while in his Rock 'n Play to get the pressure off that spot, more tummy time, physical therapy, etc. While all of that has helped, he still have quite a flat spot. 

He was evaluated at about 5 months old and a helmet was recommended.  Since we were approaching the holidays, I asked for additional time to "intervene" since he was not going to be at school for two weeks due to the holidays and traveling.  She was on board with that request.  A month later, his measurements got better, and I bought him one more month to improve.  At that time, his measurements improved again, and a helmet was not recommended because his head will round out.  It just might take longer without the helmet.  I was okay with this and trusted the woman.  During that appointment, I met a family with twins, and one of their twins was in the same situation.  The mom and I exchanged phone numbers and went back and forth via phone and texting to determine if we should do the helmet or not (even though we were both told it was not necessary). 

Fast forward a few weeks, and the mom let me know they were taking their son to Children's Hospital for a second opinion.  It was at that point that a helmet was recommended for her son.  Here's where things get sticky.  For the helmet to be most effective in rounding out the head, it must be started no later than seven months. Sidekick and the other boy are almost nine months old!  The helmet must be worn 23 hours a day for 3-6 months.  Ugh!  Is it worth it?

I am taking Sidekick to Children's tomorrow to be evaluated.  The doctor will do X-rays again, and I'm bringing his first set to see if there has been improvement.  I don't want the helmet.  I never have wanted the helmet, but I've been very open to it the entire time because I want to do what's best for my son.  It's purely cosmetic and insurance doesn't cover the hefty $1500 bill.  His facial features are fine and ears are even (in really bad cases, this is not always the case). So I guess it comes down to how perfect I want my son to be.

So... who do I trust?  If Person A said his head will eventually round out and doesn't need a helmet, and Person B says he does need a helmet but because I waited so long it won't be as effective, what do I do? 

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