Why Your Baby’s Head Shape Matters

by | Mar 13, 2023

Being a parent to a new baby is one of the happiest times of your life, but it can also come with unexpected stressors and surprises. One thing that many parents are surprised to learn is that their baby’s head is softer than their own, and it can change shape over time. While birth itself can impact head shape, it will typically return to a rounded form quickly. However, there is also a risk of a baby’s head developing a flat spot over time, which could be a cause for concern if not handled properly. Along with talking to your pediatrician about any concerns, a Billings chiropractor may also be able to help.

Noticing Baby Head Shape

Some babies born vaginally will have a “cone” shaped head or even a head that looks slightly crooked. This typically fixes itself quickly and without intervention.
The most common issue that arises related to the shape of a baby’s head is called plagiocephaly, which is usually identifiable by a “flat spot” on the back or side of your baby’s head. This spot is indicative of where your baby’s head is lying on a mattress or other flat surface for long periods of time. In fact, instances of plagiocephaly have drastically increased since research showed that babies are safest sleeping on their backs.

If you suspect a flat spot on your baby’s head, you do not immediately need to worry that it will cause issues. There are methods you can use at home to naturally correct the shape, especially when the baby is young and the skull has not yet hardened. This can begin as early as 3 months of age, though it typically happens closer to 6 months.

Reshaping Your Baby’s Head

The first line of defense against plagiocephaly is to give your baby’s head a chance to shape properly, or be reshaped as needed. Two things can help the most with this: counter positioning and tummy time.
Counter-positioning involves moving your baby’s head so it is not always in the same position. This could mean in the crib, while being held, or while eating. The less preference given to one spot, the less chance of flattening. You may need to turn them around when you change them, work on feeding them in a different position, move their car seat to the other side of the car, and so on.
Tummy time is critical to developing many skills, but it is also important as it’s time when your infant is not on their back. Even 30-second spurts of tummy time help your child’s head grow properly.

Chiropractic Care for Plagiocephaly

Another option to address a flat spot on a baby’s head is to visit a chiropractor like Dr. Thomas Keogh. By performing a gentle adjustment, a Billings chiropractor can encourage a release of pressure in the spinal column and brain stem, which allows cranial bones to form properly.

You can also visit Bare Chiropractic if your child has been diagnosed with plagiocephaly to encourage correction without more invasive options like a helmet. The earlier you visit us, the more likely it is that Dr. Thomas Keogh will be able to help prevent issues with head shape before they happen.


Hash, J.L. “Deformational Plagiocephaly and Chiropractic Care: A Narrative Review and Case Report.” Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics, 2014; 14(2): 1131-1138. http://www.jccponline.com/plagiocephaly.html
Quezada, D. “Chiropractic Care of an Infant with Plagiocephaly.” Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics, 2004; 6(1): 342-8. http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/chiropractic-care-of-an-infant-with-plagiocephaly.html

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