From the birth of your little one it is good to pay attention or your baby one preferential posture develops. This means that your baby turns the head to a certain side in 75% of the cases. So your baby is always on the right or left side of the head. If this lasts for months the skull can flatten on one side. This is not dangerous, but not really desirable. In most cases you can already do a lot to 'learn' the preferred attitude. Here you can read how!
Preferential attitude baby in belly
Your baby can already develop a preferred posture in the stomach. That chance is also quite large, because about 85% of the babies have a preferred posture in the abdomen. They prefer, for example, with the head to the right or to the left. After birth, about 1 in 6 babies will have a preferred posture.
Causes preferred attitude baby
In recent years, babies have more often developed a preferred attitude than before. This is because we now put babies more often on their backs and do not often alternate with their back and abdomen. This is because we now know that your baby is sleeping on the back, helping to prevent cot death. So keep doing this especially, but also be vigilant on any preferred attitude.
Other causes of a preferred location may be:
- There is a physical cause, for example your baby has a curvature in the spine so your baby prefers to lie on one side.
- Children born in a breech presentation tend to develop a preferential posture more quickly.
- If you feed your baby in the same position each time, it can also stimulate a preferred posture.
- If there is a lot of light or sound on one side of the bed in which your baby sleeps, your baby would probably like to look at that direction.
A side sleep pillow can work if your baby has a preferred posture.
Consequences of a preferred attitude
Let me put one thing first: A preferred posture is not harmful to your baby, but it does not look very nice. The skull of your little one is still soft and deformable after birth. If your baby is in a certain position for 75% of the time for months, the skull will flatten on that side.
For example, at the back of the head, if your baby always looks upwards. If your baby is looking a lot to a certain side, then the skull will flatter on that side over time. In the worst case, the earpiece can move slightly forward on that side. If nothing is done about the preferred posture, it can even happen that the flattening in the face becomes visible.
Detaching baby's preferred posture
A preferred posture can quickly affect the shape of the head. This becomes visible after about 2 to 3 months. After 3 months it can improve if you try to do something about the preferred attitude.
If your baby still has a strong preference posture around 5 or 6 months, you might want to consider physical therapy. But before you do this, there are many other tricks that you can apply to learn the preferred posture with your baby. You can start here very early, for example immediately if you notice it. You can also teach your baby right after birth to change the position of the head.
Tips and exercises to finish the preferred posture divided into day parts
During sleep and naps in bed
- Turn your baby's head alternately to the left or to the right while sleeping. With a preferred posture, turn the head to the non-preferred posture. Does your baby turn back again? Then try again when your baby is asleep.
- Is your baby happy to turn to the light? Make the bed so that the light is on the non-preferred side. Also nice colors or for example the door can best be kept on the non-preferred side so that it becomes as attractive as possible. First try to find out what your baby is attracting, and then make sure that the non-preferred side is directed towards that side.
While playing in the playpen or on the rug
- Put your baby on the stomach 3 times a day right from the first weeks. In these weeks, one to five minutes at a time is enough. After the first few weeks, you slowly expand it to 3 to 5 times a day for about 20 to 30 minutes. Very important: make sure you are supervising so that your baby can not suffocate. The prone position is a good posture to train the neck muscles and your baby can practice looking at the right and left.
- Put your baby on the side a few times a day. Alternate each time. Make sure your baby stays awake by diverting it with toys.
- Always keep the non-preferred side in the box the most attractive by placing toys there. Start with this when you notice that your baby is increasingly looking at toys etc.
- Hold your baby on your arm in such a way that your voice and therefore your face are on the non-preferred side.
- Change your baby as often as possible on your right and left arm. Also when comforting, cuddling or letting farmers. Also make sure that your baby looks in different directions from the sling.
During feeding and changing
- During feeding, the body of your baby should be slightly curved, so the head should not lie backwards.
- Alternate during posture, by alternating the left and right breasts. If you are bottle-fed, do not try to turn the head to the preferred posture.
- In bottle feeding you can also put your baby right in front of you on your legs so you can keep the head in the middle. In this position you can best put your feet on a stand.
- When changing, it is good to ensure that you are not on the preferred side, but that your baby has to turn the head to the non-preferred side to see you.
- You can also try to put your baby right in front of you while getting dressed so that the head stays in the middle.
- Roll your baby as much as possible on the side or on the stomach during dressing.
Preferential attitude baby physiotherapy
If you follow the above tips early on, you have a big chance that you will learn the preferred posture from your baby. If your child continues to hold a strong preference posture after 5 months and if the skull is not round, you can visit a child physiotherapist. Your baby may then get helmet-reduction therapy.
If your baby gets helmet-reduction therapy, he or she wears a helmet for 4 to 8 months to ensure that the skull grows in the right shape.
More detailed information about preferred posture can be found in the folder of Youth Health.