One of our twins had a flat head, plagiocephaly, and torticollis. After months of trying other methods, we took him to get sized for a pediatric helmet, a.k.a. CranioCap®. We were apprehensive at first but the results were well worth it!
The Beginning with Plagiocephaly and Torticollis
We noticed that one of our twins had quite the flat spot on the back/side of his head when he was just a few months old. We tried to help correct the flatness with special pillow type thing that took the pressure of the back of his head while he was in his bouncer.
We got his twin one as well since he had a tiny bit of a flat spot but nothing too concerning. The image of them below shows the not-so-flat-head twin on the left and the one with the flatter head on the right. It’s hard to see in this photo but I’m mainly showing the special pillows.
We read that torticollis is quite common in premature babies, especially twins. Their pediatrician wasn’t too concerned at first but we didn’t want him to look different than his identical twin in a way that would upset him when he was older so we looked deeper.
Looking Deeper into Plagiocephaly and Torticollis
We like to go the more natural way with things so first we tried a couple of months of weekly chiropractic appointments, as well as weekly craniosacral therapy appointments. This helped with the twin that didn’t have much of a flat head fully resolve it, but didn’t help with the one that had more of a flat head.
The chiropractor was covered by insurance for the first few appointments but soon we were paying on our own. The craniosacral therapy was completely out of pocket though, which added up quickly. With the limited success, constant driving to appointments two days a week with all 3 littles under 3 with me in the cold MN winter, and cost, something had to change.
Finally, we asked his pediatrician for a referral to have him assessed for a pediatric helmet, a.k.a. CranioCap® when he was 5 months old. Turns out he had quite a severe case and they were glad we brought him in when we did.
Random, but at this time, we were also packing up and moving 20 minutes away from our first home in just a 45 day window, by choice, but still. Everything was quite hectic!! Gosh we were glad to move into a bigger home though.
Below are some pictures of the beginning of our helmet adventure.
I felt like I was pregnant with my high risk twins again with the biweekly appointments we had to go to. Only this time, I didn’t go alone, I had two infants and a 2 year old with me.
Often…it was chaos.
We had two appointments every other week, on average, for a total of 90 minutes each time. Plus the 30 minute drive each way.
Being away from the house for 2.5 – 3 hours at a time, I’d often need to pump on the way to or from the appointments, while driving since I was on a strict 3 hour pumping schedule to keep up my supply of making 55-60oz a day to feed my twins.
Luckily the clinic where he was fitted and had adjustments to his helmet worked well with the physical therapy clinic nearby so we were able to get appointments on the same days, most of the time. It made for long mornings with three under 3, out and about going to appointments, going in and out of the van, and all during the cold and icy Minnesota Winter, but I was just thankful to not have to do it more than once a week typically.
The craniosacral fitting appointment would typically be first and would be about 30 minutes. After that, I’d get everyone bundled up so we could make our way to the van, then get everyone strapped into their car seats again.
We’d have a 3 minute drive to the next destination (far enough to drive because there wasn’t a safe sidewalk for us to take and it was often bitterly cold) and I’d get them all out of the van again and into physical therapy. The physical therapy appointment would be about an hour long and often the physical therapists would offer my other two some toys as well, which was greatly appreciated and kept them rather calm.
We also were sent home with daily exercises to do with our son to help him gain a full range of motion with his neck. We ended up deciding to do the exercises with both twins. My husband and I would sit facing each other, we each had a twin, and we’d do the exercises while they faced each other. It was kind of cute. Honestly, they didn’t always love it, but that’s probably because we did it right before bed.
Little by little, we saw major improvement.
Wearing the Helmet
In our first appointment I was told that he’d have to wear it 23 hours a day, including overnight. I was worried about this as we already barely got any sleep with two babies but honestly, he adapted to it pretty quickly.
He slept fine with it on, didn’t try to get it off from what we could tell, and it didn’t seem to bother him overall.
Sometimes, we’d catch his twin looking at his head almost as though he was disappointed that he didn’t get a cool helmet too.
For the hour he got to be without the helmet a day he would run his hands over his head/hair and play like normal. I’d get a baby washcloth wet with just a tiny bit of soap and wipe off the helmet inside and out, and his head.
Surprisingly enough, he never fought me when I needed to put it back on. He always seemed fine with it. After the first couple of days it didn’t bother him at all.
How Long & Results
My little guy wore the helmet for 3-1/2 months, from February to the end of May. It was nice that he got it off then before it got too warm outside.
After that time, he was able to have a full range of motion with his neck and the asymmetry of his head went from 11mm to 2mm.
It was very much worth it and even though I was hesitant at first, if I had to chose again, I’d do it again without a second thought.
Below are two documents we got when our son completed his time with the helmet/CranioCap® and physical therapy. It’s amazing that he went from an 11mm Cranial Vault Asymmetry to 2mm CVA in less than 4 months!!
He also went from a CVAI of 8 down to a 1.5. We could easily see the huge improvement and are very happy about it!
Oddly enough I didn’t find a photo showing the huge change after he got his helmet off BUT I have one from when he had just been wearing the helmet for a week. Already it had helped him SO much!
On the left was before the helmet and on the right is a week with it on. Granted, looking at the first photo he is looking forward and slightly to the left whereas the photo on the right he’s looking to the left so the angle is a little different but still can see the improvement after just a week!
Even years later his head isn’t completely perfect but you can’t tell with his hair over it, even when it’s cut really short.
Happy to Be Free!
Though he didn’t seem to dislike the helmet all that much, he sure did smile when he didn’t have it on anymore. Look at that smile!! (he’s the one holding the helmet)
As a mom of identical twins and a son two years older, I have gained invaluable experience in the realm, and chaos, of parenting. With a Master's Degree and Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology, I spent years as a school psychologist, helping children navigate through their educational and emotional challenges. Now as a stay at home mom and professional blogger, I combine my areas of expertise to help you in your parenting journey.