Does my baby have Torticollis?
Torticollis is a common condition among infants. Don’t worry, there are many different ways to prevent and correct this issue.
Torticollis can basically cause an infant to hold her head tilted and/or turned to one side instead of centered in the middle. Due to the tight neck muscles forming and resting in that same position in the womb with limited space. Another case could be how the baby is positioned at home. This results in muscle development at a different rate than surrounding muscles. In any case, it is important to correct the problem early.
How to know if your baby is diagnosed with Torticollis?
You may not need a CAT scan or x-ray. Simply take your baby to the pediatrician if you feel your child is having difficult turning his head. Your family health care provider can complete a quick routine check to see if your baby has Torticollis.
The quick routine check consist of moving your baby’s head from side to side, feeling the muscles in his neck, and monitoring your baby while laying down or in your lap.
Why is treating Torticollis in babies so important?
Early treatment is highly recommended for any baby assumed to have Torticollis. It could affect the appearance of the baby’s head or body long-term if not treated in the early stages. Torticollis in babies could even affect their learning process.
For example if left untreated a baby is at risk for learning to move with his head tilted causing a child to use one side of his body more than the other which may show a delay in their motor skills. Torticollis could also cause your baby to have a flattened head on one side or grow to have a curve in their spine as an adult.
That’s why it is crucial to treat the issue as young as possible. As your child grows older, it becomes more difficult to correct and the muscle tightness is permanent.
How to treat and prevent Torticollis
Torticollis treatment is a series of stretching techniques and lengthening exercises to help relieve the tight muscles in your baby’s neck. Your doctor may recommend that you try placing your baby on her side and moving her back to the other side in a rolling motion to move and stretch the body.
Be mindful of the way you support the neck when carrying the baby, always reposition the head and never leave the child in a swing or car seat too long. This will ensure the baby is using correct muscles to hold up his head. When you lay your baby down remember to reposition your baby away from the object of interest (like a toy) so she has to use her neck muscles to move and see it. This will strengthen her muscles. Lastly, rest the baby on your stomach to lay and play throughout the day.
Keep in mind
- Remember to put baby back on his or her back for sleep
- Expect your baby to cry during stretching activities. You are not hurting your baby
- Your child will be finished with treatment when your child is keeping his head in the middle
Written by Karen Barski, BSN, RN, Mother of five, Certified Infant Care Specialist & Instructor, & Inventor of the Woombie Baby Swaddle
Karen has been an RN for 18 years, and has worked in many different nursing roles. As a Certified Infant Care Specialist, Karen counsels thousands of families yearly on a multitude of issues relating to pregnancy and infancy. Also, as a mother of five, she has invaluable experience and tips to share.
Since 2007, Karen’s company, KB Designs, has invented a line of signature baby swaddle products that have helped parents easily transition their new babies from womb to home. There are multiple designs and sizes so that babies can enjoy the comfort and security of the Woombie up until the time they begin to roll.
Each product has been created and designed by Karen because of a need she identified in her life with her five children. With convenience, safety, and fashion in mind, KB Designs has helped over a half million babies and counting!
For more information, visit www.woombie.com.
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