Thursday, March 12, 2015

Life with a Helmet, Part 2

It's amazing how quickly the past month has gone by. I've reached out to make some connections with other mama's that have a little one in a helmet, and they all say how fast the time goes by. It's so true! JB has been in her helmet for one month. I'm going to be brutally honest - it's stressful. I'm not worried or stressed about how Lizzie Lou deals with it, because quite frankly, she's been a champ about it. It's almost like she doesn't even know it's there. I'm stressed in the evening when we have to take her helmet off. 

Stressed that there might be a heat rash.
Or a red spot. 
Or that her head is going to be even stinkier than the previous night.  

Helmet therapy only allows for the helmet to be off for one hour. You can break up the hour or you can just do it all in one shot. Typically we take it off right before bath time and then it goes back on right before she finished her bedtime bottle. Sometimes it's a little bit less than an hour and sometimes it's a little bit more than an hour. Previously, we had also been taking it off in the morning to air it out, but I started to realize that those minutes were adding up and we were well over the 1-hr off rule. So over the past several days, we only take it off at night. Or when she's at the doctor's office and needs to get weighed or measured. 

We've gone to the orthotist a few times over what I thought were issues that warranted an adjustment, but the few times we went, he's only shaved a little above the eye and that's about it. At her appointment last week, I asked him to measure the circumference of her head and she's had 2mm of growth. So discouraging. I was sure that she had hit a growth spurt right when she got her helmet, but apparently it didn't do much for her head. The orthotist won't do any progress scans to see real growth for a few more weeks, even though I beg and plead every time we go to the office. He did say at her last appointment though that her head is definitely rounding out. I've noticed the rounding out part, but I still do notice a flat-spot when I run my hand down the back side of her head. I just have to keep reminding myself that changes won't happen overnight and that I have to be patient. 

Here's a picture to show progress.

So, what sucks about the helmet? Here's the top three things that I dread about helmet therapy:
1. I miss kissing her head. Parents don't even realize how many times a day they kiss the tops of their baby's head. Or blow raspberries on their neck. Or whisper "I Love You" into their ears. Sure, there's a big open spot at the top of the helmet so I can kiss the very top of her head. And I can oh-so-carefully kiss her ears, granted if she doesn't move and I end up kissing hard plastic. But it's not the same. The hour that helmet is off is spent kissing and loving on her head. I miss it. 
2. The smell. It took a good 3 weeks for her helmet to start to smell. And I mean boy does it smell. Think dirty gym sock. Times 10. Luckily I'm so good about spraying it with 91% alcohol as soon as it comes off. Apparently hers doesn't even smell all that bad. Her PT made a comment last week that the smell isn't bad at all. I replied "It can get worse!?!?" Yikes! 
3. Always worried about how she's dressed. One of the first things the orthotist tells parents is that they need to be dressed in as little amount of clothes as possible. In the beginning, she slept in normal pajamas (never swaddled since she rolls around all night) but once she had that awful fever from her 6-month vaccinations, she doesn't wear regular pajamas. She either wears jammies that don't have footies or a long-sleeve onesie and a sleep sack. A few nights last week we woke up and it was freezing in the house, but from what I've read, it's better to have a baby with cold toes than to have a baby with a heat rash and a high body temperature. Luckily we live in Florida and it's okay to dress her in just a onesie around the house during the day and she typically doesn't need socks while in the carseat. I'm not sure how people do this when the weather is like freezing. I'd be constantly afraid of her overheating! 

With all of that being said, there are some positives to having the helmet. Here's the top three "perks" to having a helmet:
1. It cushions their falls. JB was sitting on the playmat on Monday and she toppled over twice. Both times, she helmet cushioned her head. She can sit for a long time by herself but if she gets super excited and starts moving around, she sometimes topples over. Sure she cried a little bit over the fact that was scary falling over, but I looked at my husband and said "she'd be crying for way longer than 30 seconds if she didn't have that helmet on".
2. She looks even more adorable than she already is. There's just something about babies in helmets that is so cute. I belong to a few support groups on Facebook and the mom's are always posting the most adorable pictures of their babies in their helmets. It's precious.  
3. She gets to have a helmet graduation party. Party? Why yes! Apparently it's the thing to do once helmet therapy is over. I already have the most adorable onesie picked out and I'm having it embroidered by a fellow blogger and former teacher! No, we're not actually going to have a party with balloons and cake, but JB will get to have her first trip to Build-a-Bear and her new bear will be the one to wear the helmet! I can't wait! 

So now you know a little bit more about life with a helmet. I probably won't update again until our next appointment, which isn't until the end of the month. I just say prayers every night that her head continues to grow in the right direction and that we are going to be out of the helmet soon! But like I said in my first post - if the helmet is going to fix the issue, then by golly, I'm all for it. We're already one month in and I haven't regretted our decision once! 

Have a terrific Thursday!!!


  1. Awww - what amazing progress! :) Good luck at your next appointment - you will all be in my prayers!

    1. Thank you! We are one month down, a few more to go!


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