Monday, March 26, 2012


Since the promotion of "back to sleep" to prevent SIDS, positional plagiocephaly has been a relatively new condition that many families now have to deal with. "Tummy time" is promoted to help prevent this, but it doesn't always work.  Of course, having a flat spot on one's head is much better than the horror of SIDS, but it is still a issue that is plaguing many families, and it isn't discussed very often. Andy and I had never heard of it, but we wish we would have known a little about it before having our first son.

Damien had a condition called torticollis, in which a tightened muscle in his neck caused him to always look in one direction as an infant, resulting in an asymmetrical flat spot from where his head laid.  We took Damien to physical therapy for several months as an infant in order to loosen that muscle and strengthen the muscle on the opposite side of his neck. Today, we believe the therapy helped Damien, and his head shape appears to be normal.

Blaise also started to get a flat spot early on, but his was right on the back of his head (no torticollis).  Andy and I did the exercises we learned with Damien to strengthen the muscles on the back of his neck and took him to therapy, where we were told we were doing everything right, and there were no new exercises to learn.  They gave us an overwhelming amount of material about DOC bands, and told us that Blaise may or may not benefit from one, since his plagiocephaly is so minor.  This was a very difficult decision as parents, as of course, we want to do whatever is best for our son.  When weighing the options, we learned that the "bands" (probably more appropriately referred to as helmets), must be worn 23 hours a day for several months.  The bands are apparently not at all painful or uncomfortable to the child (although they certainly appear hot), but the process of getting the head mold for the band shape and size can be rather traumatic and/or scary to the child (they have to pretty much put a nylon over the baby's head and use some sort of material to get a mold to send to the company).  In addition, plagiocephaly isn't considered to affect children medically besides the cosmetic aspect (there is differing research about this), so insurance doesn't at all cover the bands, which cost around $3000 to $4000.  Research is also just starting to be done on the long-term affects of DOC bands, since plagiocephaly was so rare until the early 90s. So, with this knowledge, and the fact that the therapists couldn't guarantee that we'd see a difference in Blaise, we decided not to pursue a band.

The thing that brought thinking about this to the forefront is the fact that we gave the boys haircuts last night.  They now have "military style" buzz cuts, which of course, gives us an excellent opportunity to see the boys' head shapes.  Damien's head looks good, but our little Blaise does have a noticeable flat spot.  I guess it makes me wonder if we made the right decision. I feel so bad about it, and somewhat blame myself, but I know Andy and I made the best decision we could at the time, and we'll never know if the DOC band would have made a difference. When Blaise's hair is longer, it is not very visible, but he may not always be able to have longer hair. I'm also not sure if his current head shape is permanent yet at 19 months, but I'm guessing it is.

We recently learned about a product called the Noggin Nest (made by Boppy) while I was browsing through Craigslist.  Although the company itself does not promote the product to reduce flat head syndrome, we learned, through reading reviews on, that many people have had success correcting and preventing flat spots by using the product. Several also stated that their physical therapists recommended them. Andy and I knew we had nothing to lose, so we bought one for Mary.  She has been using it pretty much since birth, and so far no flat spot.  We're not saying that it can't still happen, but we are so far pleased with the result, and wish we would have known about the product for Damien and Blaise. So, there's my little plug! We're really hoping this solves the problem that we have spent so much time worrying about, and I hope this product can help other families as well.

Mary, using her Noggin Nest, in February.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Getting Out!

This last week, we have been extremely fortunate to have temperatures 30-40 degrees above normal for this time of year.  Damien, Blaise, Mary, and I have been trying to get outside daily to take advantage of the temperatures, which have been in the upper 70s to low 80s. This has been a new experience for me, because I'm trying to learn how to be outside safely and comfortably with three kids.  We have taken a couple walks to the grocery store this week, and it's worked okay to have Blaise and Mary in the stroller and have Damien walk with me (or ahead of me or behind me--you get the picture). It's a little difficult to manage Damien in the store, but he seems to do better if he gets to hold a basket and put some groceries in it.  Hopefully I'll learn more little tricks in the future.

On Wednesday (3/14), I braved meeting a friend at the zoo (Mary's first time!).  There is no path (aka sidewalk) for Damien to follow, and there's a lot more people, so I had to keep Damien in the stroller.  This is how we managed:

In other news, today I was able to capture the first photos of Mary smiling! Here they are...

Well, the boys are up from their naps (actually Blaise is up from his nap, and Damien, who didn't nap, is ready to be done with his quiet time)!  Hopefully I can stay a little more up-to-date on here in the near future!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Valentine's Party

This year, the kids were invited to a Valentine's Day party at my friend, Kaelyn's, house.  This time, Mary was the only girl! (Most of our friends have all girls, so this was a welcomed change for the boys!)

The boys playing (with Kelly's supervision!) ;)

Mary celebrated, too! :)

The boys (Blaise, Quinlan, Dylan, Ethan, Asher, and Damien)
Eating pizza (although everyone seems to be drinking in this photo)