Chrissy Teigen's latest tweet has got a lot of people talking about baby helmets after recently sharing a photo of her son wearing one to protect his plagiocephaly, otherwise known as flat head syndrome.
I remember the first time I saw a baby wearing a helmet like this while shopping with my girlfriend at the time.
"I guess she's just a really overprotective mom," I whispered.
Now if eye-rolls could make a sound, my GF's would've been a scream.
"It's to fix their flat heads, Taf."
Since then, I've seen tons of baby helmets with children and their parents rocking them proudly. Now that I'm a parent myself, I've even noted cool designs for the corrective devices, should my children ever need to wear one. This awesome Mega Man one is a pretty good example of the vibe I was feeling.
Neither of my children had to wear a helmet, but if they did, it wouldn't bother me in the slightest. It's no different than giving your child braces to correct misaligned teeth.
However, as any parent will understand: moms and dads get a bit kooky when it comes to their kids. And by kooky I mean they start to feel like they're doing a "bad job" if their child isn't some kind of inhuman, infallible, super baby.
There's a certain stigma, whether imagined or real, that is associated with a child that requires any type of corrective procedure or equipment to aid their development, and baby helmets sometimes get wrapped up in that stigma.
Chrissy addressed this when she shared a selfie with her beautiful baby boy, Miles. Before she sent the picture out into the Twitter-verse, she urged others not to "feel bad for him."
She also suspected once her child donned the helmet, he was "probably gonna be even cuter with it somehow." Honestly, after seeing the pictures she posted, I can't say that she's lying. This little guy is absolutely adorable with his mini-headgear.
Other moms began chiming in with photos of their own babies, further dispelling any stigmas associated with correcting flat head syndrome and filling our feeds with some really cute pics.
Newborns are especially susceptible to plagiocephaly due to the pliable nature of their skulls when they're born. While the concept of a soft skull might seem scary, it's pretty essential to that whole childbirth thing.
Imagine trying to push out a hard, round head during labor? Giving birth isn't fun to begin with, and it'd be even less fun with a fully developed skull, I'll tell you that much. After watching my wife deliver two kids, I'm getting woozy just thinking about it, and she's the one who did all the hard work.
The most common form of flat head syndrome is positional plagiocephaly. It occurs after birth, because babies spend so much time in one position after they're born. Most commonly, they're laying on their backs and catching the much-needed Zs required to pump their bodies full of growth hormone so they can be big and strong.
Sleeping on their backs can result in a somewhat flattened area on the the back of their heads. When doctors in the 1990s advised parents to have babies sleep on their backs to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the number of positional plagiocephaly cases grew.
Not all babies' heads are misshapen this way, however, and craniosynostosis is a more serious form of plagiocephaly. It's when the joints of their skulls fuse too early, which doesn't give their brains enough room to grow. In order to remedy this, the poor little babes need to undergo surgery.
Since a baby's head hardens over time, it's best to start correctional methods to reshape your child's head as early as possible.
Once they're old enough, parents can try changing sleeping positions and moving their child around to avoid putting too much pressure on one side of their head. Additionally, changing your baby's head position when they eat and ensuring they don't spend too much time in baby carriers and car seats will help reduce positional plagiocephaly.
It also doesn't hurt to give your child tummy time once your doctor clears them for it. Not only will this help reduce recurring pressure on the same side of their head, they'll also strengthen their neck, back, and core muscles. You can learn more about flat head syndrome here.
Again, if your kid needs a helmet to correct their head development, you shouldn't feel bad about that. You're doing a darn good job and deserve a pat on the back. And maybe some cute selfies.