Torticollis is most often due to tightness in the muscle that connects the breastbone and the collarbone to the skull. This tightness might have developed because of the way your baby was positioned in the uterus (with the head tilted to one side) or because the muscles were damaged during delivery. Other babies may just have a strong preference to one side and develop tightness in that side of the neck after birth.
When babies are first born, they often spend the majority of the day on their back sleeping. If the child is always turned to one side while they are sleeping, they can develop neck tightness or even head flattening, known as plagiocephaly. As a parent, it is important to turn your baby’s head in both directions while they sleep in these first few weeks, to prevent infant torticollis. You can also have your child rest in an infant seat and use rolled blankets on either side of the head rest to encourage the child’s head to be in the middle.
Torticollis, Awake Times:
During awake times, encourage your baby to do tummy time. You may ask yourself, is my baby too young to do tummy time? The answer is, your baby is never too young to do tummy time! Start by laying your baby tummy down on your chest. Another suggested way to do tummy time is over a boppy pillow. The pillow will make it easier for your child to lift their head up, as compared to laying them directly on the floor. Tummy time helps strengthen baby’s neck and back muscles, improve their head control, and most importantly promote a nice round head shape. Don’t wait!
If your baby might have Torticollis and you are concerned about their neck motion. Or if you baby has any sign of head flattening- Don’t wait!!! The EARLIER Torticollis is detected and treated, the shorter the treatment time necessary to achieve symmetrical head posture for your baby.
If you are in the Westchester, NY area, come to our next Tummy Time class!