I understand that it is becoming more common these days with babies being put down to sleep on their backs. I have read that there are many factors that can be involved and Ben seemed to have them all, which made him a severe case that we felt we had to treat.
Our doula recommended we have Ben seen by a cranial osteopath when he was 10 days old because of his difficult birth. He didn’t cope well in the labour and kept having decelerations (he had a scalp monitor), which led to a quick decision for episiotomy and forceps delivery. He didn’t breathe on his own after birth and was rushed to the special care unit, where he spent the next 5 days on his back attached to machines. No cause was ever found for it and all the tests they did came back clear.
The cranial osteopath pointed out the flat spot on his head and showed us some stretches and gave us info on repositioning. Ben always slept with his head turned to his right and over the months the flat spot got worse and worse. When a stranger pointed out his asymmetrical ears and eyes at around 3 months we became concerned. We started taking him weekly for osteopathy but the asymmetry kept getting worse. Once he reached 5 months old, the osteopath was very frank with me and told me if it were her child she would seriously consider band treatment.
We went for the free consultation and decided to go ahead with the band immediately. The only other alternative was do nothing and hope it becomes less noticeable as he gets older, but 3 different osteopaths all told me his case was too severe to ever correct itself completely. Even the GP was concerned, and referred me to a specialist. I was initially worried that Ben might not like having the band on, but from the very first day he didn’t mind at all. By day three, I realised it was going to be fine and from that point on it was easy to manage.
He had to wear the band 23 hours a day. There were 2 half hour breaks a day, during which I had to clean the band and wash his hair. We started seeing results really quickly and that was reassuring. We chose a plain band so we could decorate it ourselves to make it look like a sports helmet. He had a Roger Federer logo around Wimbledon, then American baseball team New York Yankees for the summer, and finally a New York ice hockey team in the autumn. He was very popular on his trips to NY, particularly at airport security for some reason – all the guards seemed to be sports fans!
Ben’s band treatment didn’t keep us from doing anything at all. I still took him to swimming classes, on a beach holiday (twice!) and on three long-haul flights to the USA. Other parents were understandably curious, but I never had any negative comments and I never let it keep me from taking him out. My strategy was to make a reference to it early on when I met people and once I mentioned it they felt comfortable asking about it. I could then explain why Ben had it and that it was temporary.
We decided after 4 1/2 months in the band that we were happy with the shape and didn’t want to continue any longer, although we might have seen a tiny bit more improvement if we had carried on. We are really glad that we did it and the time he was in treatment just flew by. It is so nice to not have to worry any more about strangers commenting on his odd features and thinking that they might stay that way.