Monday, June 10, 2013

Plagiocephaly Appointment #2: Fitting

This is the fourth in a short series of posts about what to expect when getting a helmet. Here's links to the full series.
What to expect when getting a helmet
Appointment #1: Measuring
Appointment #2: Fitting
Appointment #3: Fine tuning
Sorry this post has been so long coming. I had it all written, published, I went to add one more link and the computer messed up and lost it all. It was not the best day already, so I was really frustrated and needed to step back and write about other things for a couple weeks. So I did and now I'm fine.

A week or so after the measuring appointment we went back in for the initial fitting. Between the appointments the company that makes the helmets had taken the 3D computer model of my daughters head and used that to make a styrofoam type model exactly her size and shape. They had then added what looked like plaster over the model to make the model head nice and round. They then used the improved model to make the helmet.

This process makes sure that the helmet is not smaller than the baby's head. Her doctor told me over and over, the helmet works with the baby's growth. It won't squish the too big parts back into place. Instead it sits right up against the too big parts and has extra space inside over the too small parts. When the head grows it will fill in where there is extra space instead of trying to push out everywhere else.

We went in and the doctor had the custom helmet all ready for us. Also that head model for us to see.

The first time the doctor put it on it was way too long over the forehead and down the neck and it didn't have big enough holes for the ears. They do that on purpose. It's much easier to cut off extra than to add more. He made marks to tell him where to trim it and went to the back room.

He repeated the process a few times. He'd try it on, make marks, and trim it down some more until he was satisfied.

During the process my little one was a little annoyed. She didn't know what was going on and a stranger was looking at her and touching her and putting something on and taking it off. She fussed a little bit, but my husband and I worked out a system where one of us would hold her sitting upright out on our knees and the other one would be near her face talking to her and holding up her bottle. That calmed her down quite a bit and gave the doctor space to work and see all the way around her head.

When he was satisfied that it was fitting better he drilled some little holes for ventilation and we were done.

She didn't go straight to wearing it all day. We had a schedule to ease her into it during the day. It went something like this:
Day 1: 1 hour on, 1 hour off
Day 2: 2 hours on, 1 hour off
Day 3: 4 hours on, 1 hour off, start wearing it for naps, but not overnight
Day 4: 8 hours on, 1 hour off, wear it overnight
Day 5: start normal schedule, 23 hours on

We were sent home with instructions to check her head every time we took the helmet off for red spots and to see how long it took to go away while the helmet was off. If anything was rubbing wrong we could schedule an appointment for him to fix it right away, but if things were going well the next appointment would be in a week.

From day 1 she disliked getting the helmet on or off just liked she dislikes getting dressed. She doesn't want someone to hold her still and mess with her.

Once the helmet is on though, she is completely fine with it. We never had a problem. That picture with the title was taken during the first week with the helmet and you can see she is happy with it.
Some kids might have a harder time, but usually the parents mind a lot more than the kids do.

Also the helmet looks great with steampunk costume goggles.


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