Many of you already know that Olivia had a DOC band for 6 weeks (less time than we originally expected). She had torticollis (when the neck is very stiff on one side and forces the baby to look to one side - the side that they are more comfortable) at birth (most likely from being stuck in the birth canal) and could only look over to the left the majority of the time. I have to admit that I was so sleep-deprived the first 2 months (plus, we had other issues, like breast milk jaundice to worry about) that it didn't even cross my mind that she only looked to one side. Until I noticed that her head was becoming significantly flattened on the right side. I felt like I had failed as a mother to notice that she needed PT to correct the torticollis. I felt that this was mostly my fault and that it could have been prevented.
Thankfully my best friend specializes in occupational therapy -- and specifically works with DOC bands. She noticed this very early on and we starting implementing some exercises that we hoped may change the situation. However, by the time Olivia was 4 months old, we knew she needed one.
I am so glad we decided to get her a band so early on. I believe that is why she only needed it for 6 weeks. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical as to how this all worked, but it seriously made such an improvement in her head shape.
Many people would argue that this is only cosmetic and didn't need to be fixed, or "it will fix itself eventually". Which isn't true. Yes, it's cosmetic and her head was flat on one side, but it was leading to one eye being larger than the other and one ear being lower than the other and her forehead was significantly more prominent on one side.
I had SO many fears when we first had the band put on.
Is it comfortable for her?
Is it going to give her a rash?
Will this hinder her ability to learn new things?
Is it too heavy?
Can she sleep with it on?
ETC ETC ETC
Some of the things that we experienced are totally normal but worried me sick, so I thought I would mention them!
- Your kid's head will stink. Like a dirty soccer shoe. NORMAL
- The band may cause one eye to droop because of the fit- especially when you have the band adjusted ( this is done weekly) NORMAL
- There will be areas of some redness the first few days -- just keep an eye on them to make sure they go away in under an hour when the helmet is off. NORMAL
- As we got towards the end of her treatment, the helmet make an indentation to the right side of her head with some soft tissue swelling. This is actually NORMAL.
- Your child may want to sleep on their belly and this will cause concern since it is very difficult to see their face with the helmet on. I didn't sleep for 6 weeks because I would go in and check on her every hour to make sure she was breathing. My friend told me that children will frequently sleep like this with the band because it is comfortable for them. She did fine with it!
Here are some other things that we were worried about, but in the end -- were fine!
She acted like there was nothing on her head. She went about her days the same as she did without the helmet.
This did not hinder any of her milestones. She continued to roll front to back and back to front like a pro!
You have to bathe your little babe every day since the helmet needs to be washed and your child's head is crazy stinky. This can be a bit annoying but becomes routine quickly.
Overall, it was a great experience and I am seriously happy with the results. If you see that your little babe may be suffering from torticollis -- make sure to ask your doctor if they may need physical therapy to avoid needing a band in the future. If you notice that your babe may be developing plagiocephaly, get your doctor on board with this very early on!
Don't hesitate to send me any questions you may have! :)
Here is a video of Liv blowing raspberries in her DOC band for your entertainment!