Little Man was born with a perfectly shaped head. There was no flatness. When he was around 6 weeks old, my husband noticed a flat spot but I wasn't too worried. At his two-month well baby visit, the pediatrician I saw (one of 5 in the group) said that he had mild plagiocephaly and torticollis. I'd never heard of either condition and promptly Googled when I was home. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I was blaming myself for letting this happen.
The pediatrician said his head would "round out" as I increased tummy time and kept him off his back as much as possible. I also was told to take him to physical therapy for the torticollis and left it at that. So I did. And his neck muscle got looser and stronger. But the flat spot on his head got worse—so bad that it looked like his neck flows right into his head. After asking around online, I did the evaluation on Cranial Technologies website and determined that Little Man had Brachycephaly. At his 3 month well baby visit, I saw another doctor in the practice who recommended that I have him evaluated. That was scheduled for December 4, 2009.
At that evaluation, Dude and I were told that Little Man did, indeed, have brachycephaly and that his case was severe. I was shocked. I was thinking it would be moderate based on the photos on their site. But they do some kind of ratio (cephalic index — The ratio of the maximum width of the head to its maximum length, multiplied by 100) and Little Man's was at 100%, which meant it was as wide and it is long. And the the optimal CI is something like 80%. They said a DOC band would correct most of his flatness. That not to expect perfection, but that we should see great results.
Little Man received his DOC Band on December 23rd. I had the flexibility to take Little Man to his appointments but Dude only went to one adjustment. I don't know if I can truly convey the emotions one has when your child has a "deformity" even if a correctable one. But it's hard. Then you feel relief when something can be done. I initially thought my son would wear one DOC Band for a three month period. But the reality is that when you helmet a 4-month-old who started out severe, you probably will need a second helmet (unless you have another helmet like a Starband or a Hanger Helmet) because he will probably outgrow the helmet much sooner than 12 or 16 weeks, which is the maximum amount of time a baby can be in a DOC Band.
My son showed wonderful progress after 6 weeks but at that time, I was told he only had another 2 or 3 weeks remaining in that helmet. So I asked for a second evaluation and Photostudy. After it was done, I made the decision to get a second DOC Band. My husband and I paid for BOTH helmets completely out of pocket. And while family did help us a bit with the first one, the second just went onto my Mastercard and I'm still paying for it. I figured, adding to debt was better than a lifetime of regrets. I wouldn't have to wonder "what if" in regards to Little Man's head shape.
So he wore the second DOC Band for a total of 8 weeks (and he outgrew the first one in 8 weeks) with an 11 day lapse between helmets. But his cephalic index went from 100% to 86% and unless you are very familiar with brachycephaly, I don't think you would know my son had it. I guess technically still does. But his head looks normal and I'm at peace.
I know some people may stumble upon my blog from Babycenter or The Bump or even from just Googling "Brachycephaly" or "DOC Band" so I'm going to share on this page, in addition to my blog posts, Little Man's measurements and his final photo study from Cranial Technologies. I had an excellent experience with them and think that without the band, my son wouldn't look as good as he does now.
Eval at 3.5 months (was banded 3 weeks later)
Cranial Width: 129 Cranial Length: 129 CI: 100 SD +5.3
Circumference (mm): 41.7
Measurements at 5.5 months (DSi for 2nd band was 1 week later)
Cranial Width: 130 Cranial Length: 141 CI: 92.2 SD +3.7
Circumference (mm): 43.2
Exit Eval. at 8.5 months (after 16 weeks in 2 bands)
Cranial Width: 130 Cranial Length: 151 CI: 86 SD +1.2
Circumference (mm): 45.3