Putting my baby in a helmet was the toughest decision of my life

I constantly worried if my son was in pain or uncomfortable. And don ’ t even get me started on the things strangers would say when they saw us walking down the street. “ We took his helmet off for this photograph and I remember that I just wanted to kiss his read/write head a soon as it came off. ” photograph : courtesy of Deana Morton With my first gear pamper, I shared many of the same challenges as the other worry, overtire and overwhelmed new moms in our playgroup—breastfeeding struggles, sleep regressions and battles with diaper foolhardy. But there was always one matter none of the other parents could relate to : my son’s plagiocephaly, a.k.a. flat head syndrome .
At my son ’ randomness two-month appointee, the baby doctor found a bland spot on the leave side of his skull. There wasn ’ thyroxine anything amiss with his brain, thankfully, but his lead was deformed. She recommended that we roll up a pick up blanket and target it on the left side of his head while he was awake in the car seat or baby buggy so he would be forced to look good, letting the left side “ pop out. ”

I was confident we could fix the flat spot by the future appointment. My husband and I were argus-eyed about making indisputable the receive blanket was in place at all times, but the blot on his head became flatter. At our three-month appointment, the doctor of the church began discussing helmet therapy—called cranial orthosis—with us. Our son had a cranial deformity. I was shocked—truly in disbelief—because all I could see was a beautiful baby who was perfect in every way .
Our baby doctor ’ south son wore a helmet as a baby, so she didn ’ t sugar-coat the march. “ It ’ s going to be tough, ” she said. “ But your son might thank you for his round head later in life. ”
Except I was opposed to putting a helmet on my son and immediately said no to the mind. It seemed unnecessary and cruel—we would be confining our child ’ mho promontory, and it looked uncomfortable .
I sat alert that nox with thoughts of the helmet swimming through my head. Would my son feel insecure about the flat spot when he was older ? Was the bland spot my fault ? Why can ’ t my son talk so he could let me know what he prefers ? Helmet or no helmet ?
I decided to go through with helmet therapy because I feared my son would hold the flat spot against me when he was older .
A workweek late, we were sitting in a room at the Children ’ s Hospital in Oakland with the prosthetics specialist. He measured our baby ’ s head with a scanner and showed us how helmet therapy worked. The baby ’ mho principal is confined to the helmet, and in areas where it ’ randomness flat, the helmet allows space for it to grow .
We were handed a tabloid of helmet themes and colours and encouraged to pick one. Was our four-month-old son a menagerie animals kind of baby, a princess winnow or a San Francisco Giants lover ? The choices swirled chaotically through my brain. It felt like I was choosing an identity for my son, and he couldn ’ t even sit up however ! Overwhelmed, I handed the options to my conserve. He chose the galaxy theme .
Ten days later we returned to the hospital to pick up the helmet and have it sized to my son ’ s head. My son squirmed as the specialist placed the helmet on him. I began to tear up as my baby began to whimper, while the specialist made adjustments, shaving the foam interior of the helmet. Afterwards, I was sent family with a fussy baby who clumsily touched his newfangled headgear .
I followed the instructions, making my son wear the helmet for 23 hours a day with a measly one-hour break. When I took it off for the first base time, his head was sweaty, his peach-fuzz hair matted to his steer. More than anything in the global, I wanted my son to tell me how he felt in the helmet. Was he uncomfortable ? In pain ? Every time he cried or was unable to sleep, I blamed the helmet .
We had a stand appointment every two weeks to adjust the department of the interior of the helmet. however, my son ’ s question was growing at a rapid pace. After a workweek, he began to have abrasions on parts of his head where the helmet rub against the skin. One nox, my husband came family and our son was lying on the play mat—without the helmet .
“ Where ’ s the helmet ? ” he asked .
“ In the closet. I ’ thousand done, ” I cried. “ Look at the marks on his head ! ”
We had the first of many lengthy fights about the helmet. I always wanted to stop helmet therapy. My conserve wanted to continue .
The helmet was besides a non-stop discussion with my therapist. “ Why don ’ thymine you good put your foot toss off and stop helmet therapy ? ” she continually inquired. I would cry, shaking my head. I didn ’ thyroxine have an answer .
It felt like everyone was telling me that helmet therapy would be beneficial for my son in the future, and because of my postpartum depression, I didn ’ thyroxine believe myself or my logic. I felt like I was walking in a fog with a broken scope. I relied on my conserve ’ s guidance through those early stages of motherhood because I believed he had a better treat on reality than I did. So my son continued to wear the helmet.

At the time, we lived in a studio apartment apartment in downtown Berkeley, and we rarely used our car. I walked everywhere with my son in a baby carrier, his helmet on full display. Some people pointed and stared while others laughed at my son, which, as you can imagine, made my blood boil. After a particularly bad lidless night, I deliriously screamed at a group of gamey school students to stop goggle at my son. not one of my finest moment as a mother—but I was very struggling .
I have to admit that while some gestures from strangers made me angry, others made me laugh. A group of older men who hung out in the parking lot next to our apartment construction would say things like “ He ’ south fix to be drafted into the NFL, ” or “ Astronaut baby is fix to board the starship. ”
The most unexpected thing about the helmet, other than the roller coaster of emotions, was the assumptions people made about the reasons my son wore it. Some thought it was for seizures, while others thought it was because my son liked to bang his head .
The most comfort thing was when mothers would come up to me and tell me that their child wore a helmet and how difficult the process was .
One ma in Trader Joe ’ randomness told me her daughter wore a helmet for eight months and that she felt my annoyance. I immediately broke down crying, holding a displace of Granny Smith apples with my son strapped to my thorax. It was at that moment that I felt that my emotions tied to the helmet were justified. I was not entirely .
After four emotional months, I ended my son ’ mho helmet therapy. We could have continued, but I last put my foot down. I was done with the adjustment appointments, the marks on his fountainhead and constantly wondering whether he was uncomfortable .
Helmet therapy didn ’ t make my son ’ s capitulum entirely round, but it helped a great deal. last calendar month, I saw a baby in a helmet and told my immediately five-year-old son that at one degree, he excessively wore a helmet. Almost instinctively, I touched the side of his head and tried to feel for what remained of the flat spot .
This fib was in the first place published in September 2018 .

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