Expert / 5 April, 2017 / My Baba
Over a decade ago, following years of studies into Cot Death (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), it became common practice to lay babies on their backs to sleep. This helped reduce cot death by 40 per cent. However, while parents have routinely been placing their infants to rest on their backs, another problem has emerged: Flat Head Syndrome, also known as Plagiocephaly.
13 years ago, 5 per cent of babies developed Flat Head Syndrome. Now that figure has increased greatly. Great Ormond Street has suggested as many as 50 per cent of babies show symptoms.
Positional plagiocephaly (Flat Head Syndrome) is diagnosed when a baby’s head is flattened at the back or side. It is caused by pressure on the soft skull bones, which have not yet fused, and become moulded into a different shape. This can occur when an infant spends excessive periods of time lying or resting in the same position on their backs; in pushchairs, car seats, bouncers and cribs.
Plagiocephaly is often mistaken as a cosmetic issue but research indicates that it can directly cause a higher rate of learning difficulties and babies may develop jaw problems and a higher risk of glue ear. In fact, according to Great Ormond Street, 19 per cent of babies diagnosed with Plagiocephaly will suffer some degree of developmental delay.
Babymoov is supporting World Plagiocephaly Awareness Day on April 4th to highlight this little- known condition that affects half of all babies under the age of one.
Preventative treatments recommended by health practitioners focus on repositioning baby’s head as much as possible, to vary the pressure spots on the skull. All too often though, Plagiocephaly is diagnosed too late, leaving parents to seek out often costly alternatives (upwards of £2k) which must be sought privately since treatment is not covered by the NHS.
Committed to helping prevent flat head syndrome, Babymoov has worked with a French paediatrician, Dr Maidenberg, to create an affordable, simple solution in the form of the Lovenest (£16.99 RRP) and Lovenest + (£19.99 RRP).
My Baba spoke with Dr Maidenberg to find out a little more about the product and how it can help.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a qualified paediatrician with 25-years-experience, working within a private practice and as a hospital consultant. I’m also president of ‘Association Respirer’ (The Breathing Association – a sentinel network of paediatricians involved in research on the respiratory environment) and have been involved in humanitarian and development missions with various associations. It’s been a diverse and rewarding career!
What prompted you to create the Lovenest?
After witnessing an increase in the number of referrals of cranial asymmetry: postural plagiocephaly, following the public advice to lay infants on their backs, I set my mind to finding a solution. The condition, which is sometimes wrongly dismissed as ‘purely aesthetic’, can result in medical complications over time, more pronounced cases being dealt with in Neurosurgery. I was certain a simple and effective preventative measure could be found.
What is the principle behind the Lovenest and what are its benefits?
It’s recommended that babies should sleep on their backs, the problem occurs when they spend too long in this position as it can augment the flattening phenomenon. It’s therefore important babies enjoy play sessions on their stomachs (tummy time) and are held during waking periods, thus varying the position of the child.
Like all these good practices, the baby head positioners – Lovenest and Lovenest+ – are complementary preventives against Plagiocephaly. The head-support was designed with a special incline which follows the shape of the infant’s skull (which is much more elongated than that of an adult), to ensure pressure is evenly distributed across the infant’s head, thereby maintaining the natural curvature of the skull. The design also offers support without impeding freedom of movement. Furthermore, it acts as a reassuring cocoon to soothe the baby, like their mother’s womb. It can be used right from birth. In the Lovenest+ we’ve adopted an antibacterial, thermoregulating Coolmax® fabric which adapts to baby’s temperature to ensure optimum comfort.
It’s important to note that if the development of plagiocephaly is avoided during the first three months of an infant’s life, there is no further risk of future deformation. So, everything happens from the first day of a baby’s life.
How did you come to work with Babymoov?
I was attracted by the dynamism of the company and the openness of its team for developing innovative ideas. As for me, the priority was to create the best solution to aid correct development and well-being amongst babies, while supporting and reassuring parents. Babymoov really listened and allowed Lovenest to become a benchmark product. It’s even recommended today by other health professionals, as I read recently in the professional journal Medicine and Children.
Both the Lovenest and Lovenest+ are available to purchase at Babymoov and, as with all Babymoov products, they come with a Lifetime Warranty.