Why does my baby tilt her head to the same side all the time?
There are a few possibilities for why babies might have a preference for head tilt to one side.
- The way the baby was positioned in utero. The baby may have been cramped in the same position for a long time. This is often the case with multiples. If this happens, the baby’s neck muscle can become shortened and the baby will end up with a preference for tilting his head to one side after birth. If the baby is cramped the baby’s head can also develop a flat spot according to the forces that are on it, therefore the baby’s head is flat on one side from the position in utero and the baby rotates head to the flat spot after birth.
- The way the baby prefers to lay after birth. Babies do not have the strength to hold their head in the middle after birth, depending on how the baby is positioned, he may have a preference to hold his head to one side in the bassinette or the bouncy seat. If the baby does this to the same side all the time, then the baby’s muscles will become tight and result in asymmetrical head position. Check out the blog post Take Caution with Elevated Sleeping for Baby on at www.babiesfirstfitness.com.
- True Torticollis. A true torticollis is when a baby has a fast delivery or is pulled out quickly. The Sternocleidomastoid muscle of the neck has some trauma and as a result shortens causing the baby to tilt their head to one side and rotate their head to the opposite side.
Whatever the reason for the tilt is, it is important that you see a pediatric physical therapist to determine your child’s exact range of motion limitations, movement preferences and strength limitations as head tilt not only affects the head position, but affects development of the arms, legs and trunk as well. While you are waiting for your appointment with your Physical Therapist, you can try some of these suggestions based on your own observations.
My goal at www.babiesfirstfitness.com is to provide EVERYONE with exercises they can do NOW with their babies. Therefore, I created this chart that you can start to use now while you are waiting for your evaluation or if your doctor has asked you to wait until the next visit to determine if your baby needs therapy. The purpose of this chart is not to avoid physical therapy but rather to get a head start on what they might tell you at your first visit.
I have created a free printable chart for parents and professionals to guide you to activities you can do TODAY to help your baby progress her skills and prevent progression of the head tilt or head rotation preference. Click on the link below to get your chart!
Check out www.babiesfirstfitness.com and like Babies First Fitness on Facebook for more information on activities you can do today with your babies and toddlers to progress their development.