My Baby Has A Flat Head On One Side
Lillian M. Beard, M.D, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is an associate clinical professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C. She is a frequent guest expert and spokesperson on national television programs, discussing issues related to children's health. Dr. Beard practices pediatrics in Washington, D.C.

Your Baby Today is proud to feature this expert Q&A with Dr. Lillian Beard. New questions and answers will be added to this page regularly. If you have any questions for Dr. Beard, please write to her at While Dr. Beard cannot respond to each individual inquiry, we will post answers to the most commonly asked questions here.

Q: My baby has a flat head on one side. Is it from sleeping on his side? What should I do?

A: If your infant is only sleeping on one side, it may be encouraging some head flattening. The recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics is that the only safe sleeping position for your baby is on his back.

The Academy's "Back to Sleep" campaign has successfully reduced the number of infant deaths in the United States attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

During early infancy, babies' skull bones are soft and not in a firmly fixed position. Head molding (shaping) occurs during these early months and is influenced by any sustained pressure such as lying in one position. While your infant's is awake, allow him to spend some time on his tummy. This position encourages head lifting and turning, and it seems to initiate early motor skills development. If you discourage the favoring of one side, you will allow his head to "mold" in a more evenly rounded manner. If his head remains asymmetric, check with his pediatrician to find out if special measures should be taken.

The content on these pages is provided as general information only and should not be substituted for the advice of your physician.

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