Protect your baby's natural headshape: tummy time to play, back to sleep

How to protect your baby's natural head shape and how to avoid plagiocephaly.

Your baby should always sleep on its back. When awake and supervised, place your baby on its tummy to play.

Protect your baby's natural head shape

It is normal for babies' heads to become slightly flatter on one side. If they spend all their time on their backs this can become noticeable (plagiocephaly). If you follow the advice given in this leaflet this should not happen. However, if it does, remember that this is a cosmetic condition and will probably correct itself if you continue to follow the advice given.

Flat head (plagiocephaly) is a cosmetic condition and will not affect your baby's brain.

As soon as your baby starts to develop head control, help your baby to play on their tummy when awake and supervised. Play peek-a-boo or choose stimulating toys to attract your baby's attention when on their tummy.

Allow your baby plenty of time sitting on your knee. Play or read to your baby to keep them interested.

Try holding your baby in different positions, or carry your baby in a sling or front carrier

Tummy time to play, back to sleep

Babies should only be in car seats when travelling. Time spent in bouncy seats should be limited, as this will also cause pressure on the back of your baby's head.

Change the position of the light in the room to the side your baby favours less.

If your baby always faces one side when in their cot, place a mobile or picture to encourage them to turn their head.

  • Always supervise your baby when they are playing on their tummy.
  • Never let your baby fall asleep on their tummy.
  • Babies should always be placed on their backs to sleep.
  • Try changing your baby's position by alternating the end of the cot that their head is placed each night.

You should consult your health visitor or GP if you are concerned about the shape of your baby's head, or if your baby has difficulty turning their head to either side.

Further information on plagiocephaly

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