Yippee...Today we were able to say our final good byes to Julianna's DOC Band aka "football helmet" "yucky helmet" "stinky helmet" etc. Now most people have no clue what the heck a Doc Band is (I had no clue what one was) and I am sure most of you were not aware that baby Jewel has been having to wear one 23 hours a day for the past 6 weeks!!!! So here is the story...
At Julianna's 8 week doctors appointment our pediatrician noticed that she did not like to turn her head to the left. For some reason she preferred looking to the right and resting her head facing the right. Well, Jewel had caught a little newborn cold when she was only a couple weeks old so since so ever since then we had been letting her sleep in a baby recliner called a Nap Nanny (BIG MISTAKE!) Jewel's doctor also noticed a little flat spot on the back right side of her head (baby who likes to face the right + Nap Nanny = flat spot) so he wrote us a referral to a Cranial doctor.
When Jewel was almost 2.5 months old we went Cranial Technologies to have her head examined by a cranial specialist/physical therapist. After the examination they said that we needed to start exercises/stretches because she preferred looking to one side (right) and her neck was very tight when she tried to turn to the left. They also took crazy high tech 3D images of her head and they said that she had a moderate plagiocephaly (flat spot) on the right side of her head and they did recommend her having a Doc Band to correct the shape. FYI she developed the spot because like I said, she slept & napped in her Nap Nanny and she would find a comfortable spot facing her right and stay in that "comfortable positional" the whole night thus resulting in a flat spot :( I sure wish I would have known not to let her sleep in it all night. Well, she was too young for a helmet now but they wanted us to do all the exercises and stretches they taught us and come back in 2 weeks. 2 weeks later we came back & her flat spot had improved and was not as bad becasue I stopped letting her sleep in the Nap Nanny (she was up all night for 3 nights before she learned to sleep without it!) and I banned her from the swing, MammaRoo, etc but unfortunately, they still said she was borderline & they recommended her having the DOC Band for around 6 weeks. I was devastated and started crying in the office lol. I just could not imagine my precious baby girl having to wear this awful football helmet looking contraption for 6 weeks!!! I refused to let them take a mold that day for the helmet because I had to go home and really think about it.
A week or 2 past and I actually decided NOT to go through with the helmet. They had assureed me that she was such a mild case I could go either way but they did say it is better for your body and quality of life to be as symmetric as possible. New studies are showing that migraines, neck problems, etc may be linked to asymmetry. I still could not imagine sweet baby Jewel in a helmet and John couldn't imagine her in one either. However, after taking her to her 4 month well-check appointment we had a sudden change of heart. We love Julianna's pediatrician Dr. Mobly. He is such a great doctor and he always is looking out for our girls. When I asked him what he would do about the helmet he paused and said, "It is a hard decision, but if it was my baby girl I would probably just do it. 6 weeks is nothing in the light of her life and why not make her head as round and symmetric as possible since it is something completely correctable." I went home talked with John and we both agreed, why not correct this little flat spot if we can. Sure it will stink having her in this awful helmet but it really is just 6 weeks...
At 4 months old Julianna had her helmet put on. We were told to keep it on her 23 hours a day 7 days a week! She could only have it off for bath time and a break here or there (1 hour total). Honestly, I did a pretty good job having her wear it full time. I would say on an average she wore it 22 hours each day. But don't worry, I made sure to take plenty of pictures of her when the dreaded helmet was off! The first 3 nights were a living he**. Poor Jewel did not like having it on when it was bed time or nap time and it took a while for her body temperature to adjust to it. Luckily after a few days she was able to sleep and she stopped sweating like crazy. It surprisingly, wasn't until maybe 2 weeks ago that she started noticing it. She started scratching at it and touching it more and then this past week she started arching back when we would go to put it back on her. Now not only did the helmet start to bug Jewel but it started to let off a nasty odor! I read that they can get pretty stinky and boy is that true! Luckily it some how remained odor free for the first 5 weeks but this past week it started to smell like a stinky shoe. There is only so much rubbing alcohol can do when trying to clean a contraption that is being worn nearly 24 hours a day. One more negative to the helmet was that it made poor Jewel lose a ton of her hair! She basically has a mohawk now lol. The only hair that is left is the hair that was not under the helmet. Good thing hair grows back!
Today we went to her regular weekly craniology apt and they looked at her head and said it was time to say good bye to the helmet! I was so excited that her head rounded so well in just 6 weeks. It is perfect timing to say farewell to the helmet right before the holidays. I am so ready to get to kiss my baby girl's head all day long again and smell her sweet scent when I brush my nose up against her baby fine hair. I never thought I would get so excited to just rub my baby girls sweet head!!!
|Look at that little round head|
With all of this to said, if your little one does need a Doc Band it is not the end of the world. It is actually more common for babies to have plagiocephaly (flat spots) ever since the "BACK to sleep movement" which was when doctors started recommending babies sleep on their backs instead of their stomachs. The good news is that number of SIDS cases have dropped drastically since this movement started, however, more babies started getting flat spots from back sleeping. The good news is the DOC Band did a wonderful job of sculpting Julianna's head into a round little ball haha! And I can promise you she will no longer be taking any long naps in her Nap Nanny, swing, car seat or any other devise that can contribute to flattening baby's head!!!
|NO MORE HELMET!!!|
All that is left to say is RIP helmet, may we never see you again!