Torticollis, or wryneck, literally means “twisted neck” in Latin. In newborns, torticollis can happen due to positioning in the womb or after a difficult childbirth. This condition is called torticollis and can give your baby a tilted head and make it difficult for them to turn over. Most doctors believe that the conditions stems from cramped quarters in the room and can be exacerbated by a difficult birth and the use of forceps.
Signs and symptoms of torticollis can be seen when baby-
- tilts their head in one direction (this can be difficult to see in very young infants)
- prefers looking at you over one shoulder instead of turning to follow you with his or her eyes
- if breastfed, have difficulty breastfeeding on one side (or prefers one breast only)
- work hard to turn toward you and get frustrated when unable turn his or her head completely
Here is a list of recommendations to help with normal neck strength development and the prevention of flat spots or a misshapen head:
- Take your baby to the chiropractor for regular adjustments as soon as you can after birth!
- Place your baby in your lap facing you while sitting in a semi-reclined position, knees up.
- Alternate the direction that you lay your baby down for diaper change.
- Alternate the direction your baby faces for bath time.
- Position the high chair so your baby has stimulating people and objects to look at on either side.
- During diaper changes, gently roll your baby onto their tummy before picking them up. Allow them to play in this position for a moment or two.
- To encourage looking, turning, balancing in both directions, alternate the hip that you carry your baby on.
- Alternate the shoulder that you carry your baby on.
- Change the location of the car seat to encourage your baby to look in different directions.
- In the early weeks, alternate the direction your baby’s head faces when asleep.
- When the baby begins to turn his head on his own, alternate the direction your baby lies in the crib.
- Provide your baby with lots of supervised tummy time during the day.
- Restrict to a minimum the indoor use of car seats, swings, and other rigid seating devices.
- Hold, carry, or wear your baby in a sling or front pack as much as possible.
- Wedge-like sleep positioning devices are not routinely recommended because none have been tested for safety and effectiveness.
- Notice if your baby strongly favors looking in one direction.
- Feed the baby on alternate sides.
Dr. Marina frequently volunteers her time at Alma Birthing Center and other free infant clinics where she gets to work with some of her favorite types of clients! Bring your baby in for a free consultation