Edit: Luke underwent helmet therapy for 8 months. It was tough at times, but nothing we could not handle. Honestly, the helmet worried us more than it worried Luke. His head looks great and we are so thankful.
Our sweet Luke is currently undergoing helmet therapy. Being a first-time mom, I wasn’t sure how our lives would change once the orthopedic surgeon suggested it. Is this common? How long does he have to wear it? Does he get any sort of break from it? I have the answers supported from our doctor below!
Disclosure: I am not a health professional. This is our own personal experience thus far.
The helmet is slowly introduced over a period of a few days so that baby and parents/family can both get adjusted. After the adjusting period, the helmet is worn 23/24 hours of the day. There is one hour each day to wash baby’s hair, wash out helmet and enjoy lots of kisses where the helmet normally covers.
Our routine and instructions per doctor:
1. Wash baby’s hair during a bath with baby shampoo.
2. Wipe out inside of helmet using baby shampoo or rubbing alcohol with a baby washcloth.
3. Ensure baby’s hair and helmet are both completely dry before putting back on.
According to Luke’s orthopedic doctor, helmet therapy is more common these days due to baby’s being suggested to sleep on their backs to help prevent SIDS. When my husband and myself were babies, it was suggested for babies to sleep on their stomachs. We are new parents, have read numerous books by medical professionals and trust our doctors. From these resources, this is why we chose to have Luke sleep on his back from day one.
As I mentioned, we are new parents and didn’t notice that Luke favored a side when he fell asleep. When he fell asleep, we tip-toed around and tried to stay quiet so all of us could enjoy some rest. At our four-month appointment, Luke’s pediatrician mentioned a mild flat spot and referred us to Arkansas Children’s to see an orthopedic surgeon.
During our first appointment with the orthopedic surgeon, Luke underwent an impressive scan to show the exact measurements of his entire head. Our doctor suggested we try one month of orienting his world to the left in an effort to help the mild flat spot. Well, we did just that and although it was better, his head had also grown, so he suggested helmet therapy. It was ultimately our decision of whether or not we would move forward with it.
We moved forward and went back to the doctor two weeks later to pick up Luke’s helmet where we learned how to put it on and take it off. In addition, we were given a sheet of information of how to take care of it and pertinent information we may need. When we asked how long he would have to wear the helmet, our doctor mentioned that every child is different but his typical answer is six-eight months. No, that’s not the end of the world.
Fortunately, Luke doesn’t mind his helmet one bit! We love our bath time everyday and especially love those extra kisses all over his head and face that we don’t get to have when the helmet is on. We are blessed in the fact that he does not mind it. We had prayed and prayed that he wouldn’t mind it. In the long run, these months will go by and we will be glad that we chose the helmet therapy to correct the mild flat spot.
I am happy to answer any questions you may have about helmet therapy from my own experience!