A lot of moms out there will never have to know or even be aware of what a Doc Band is. This post is for my fellow Mama’s that had to or will have to get a Doc band for their baby. I am sharing what I learned through our experience with my son’s Doc Band Treatment and some tips you may not know.
There are so many different “names” for the Doc Band. You may have also heard it referred to as a baby helmet or cranial helmet. They are used for re-positioning your baby’s head if it is flatter on one side or misshaped (Plagiocephaly aka flat head syndrome). Or as in Nic’s case a little lumpy-ish and larger on one side of his head.
*I am NOT a licensed professional and this post is filled with information I learned or experiences I had while my son had his Doc Band Treatment for a little over two months*
Does your Baby need a Doc Band? Here is some helpful information and tips we learned when our son had his.
I remember when our pediatrician referred us to get an evaluation for Nic. It was to determine if he needed a Doc Band. She had noticed his head was a little misshaped and favored one side. I thought his head seemed fine and could just barely see what the Doctor was talking about.
Before our appointment I was giving Nic a bath and had washed his hair. When I went to rinse him I could really see what our pediatrician was talking about. It was way more noticeable when his hair was wet and all stuck to his head.
At our appointment they put this little pantyhose like sock on his head and took some pictures, he actually looked really cute and I had to snap a pic. The above one was toward the end, he looks so funny and cute with that thing on. When they showed us the images you could really see where his head was shifting to one side. It was also not very “smooth” on the back side of his head.
We were told this could have been due to a huge number of things. Of course I felt guilty and like it was my fault, I could not help it. I think as a mom we can’t help but take blame especially when it comes to our kids. Plagiocephaly is something that actually affects one in two children – 47%. Just remember it is important to know it’s not anyone’s fault especially yours!
What to expect when your Baby needs to get a Doc Band and some questions you might be asking yourself.
First you will probably receive a referral from your pediatrician if she suspects your baby might need or benefit from Doc Band Treatment. Once that has happened you will find the closest Doc Band Treatment center.
The center we chose to go with was called Cranial Technologies (I am NOT getting paid by them) and it was convenient to where we lived. You will have to go in weekly so remember that when choosing your treatment center. Your pediatrician will more than likely give you a list of places available.
You will have to provide them with the referral slip from the Doctor, at least it was required for our center. At your first appointment they will take a bunch of pictures of your baby’s head but rest assure it is quick and easy. Plus you will be there with them the entire time. A little pantyhose type thing is put on their head, like in the picture I have above and they snap a few pics, then done.
After, the technicians will show you some really neat images where you will be able to see your child’s head shape and the problem areas it might have. Once they have decided if your baby needs a Doc Band you will be informed of payment, payment plans if needed (and offered) and will be asked to set another appointment to return for the Doc Band fitting, which was a few weeks later.
Getting your Doc Band – Be prepared for a longer first appointment. Our center was great because it had a little play area for kids and it kept Harper occupied when we would go. Every Doc Band is custom fit to your baby’s head so they have to make sure it fits just right. They will put the Band on their head and see if it needs to be adjusted. They adjust the Band at each appointment as needed by shaving down the Styrofoam like material that lines the inside of the Band.
The staff will go over the cleaning procedures with you and when your baby can have breaks. The first few days you have to log your baby’s progress every few hours to make sure they are not having a bad reaction to the band. You do this by removing the band every few hours and leaving it off until any redness goes away. You are advised by the staff to call them if the redness lasts longer than supposed to, which was an hour I believe.
I am sure there are other reasons they have you do this as well, but I am here to share my experience, tips and what to expect, not all the science behind it. The staff from the center will go over all of this with you and even give you some print outs and a folder to take home.
From there on out if everything is good your baby will wear the band for 23 hours a day with a one – one hour break – once a day, that’s it. You will go in weekly (yes weekly, babies heads grows fast) for check ups and they will shave down the inside as needed each time.
For us, Nic was expected to wear his band for 6-8 weeks and I think we only went for about 9-10 weeks. It went by pretty fast and he had a perfect little head when we were done. He was about 6 months old when he got his band and it did not seem to bother him.
Living with the Doc Band – I was so nervous as to how Nic would accept having to wear his band but he did pretty well. During the entire time he had his band we were experiencing the “I do not want to sleep” phase but I do not think it had to do with his band.
Nic had his Doc Band throughout winter which I have heard is completely different from having to have it during the Summer. Since the heater was on we had to make sure he would not get too hot. We were told to leave socks OFF him at night and to NOT wear the fuzzy flannel jammies.
You will have to clean the band once a day. We did it during the one hour break so it would be completely dry when we had to put it back on (which it has to be). To clean the band you wet a cloth with rubbing alcohol and wipe the inside and outside. Make sure you follow instructions and stick to the wearing times, which i think is 23 hours a day for everyone.
Tips I learned while Nic had his Doc Band that you may or may not already know.
- Use a white towel – It may sound weird right. One time we used a towel that had some red on it and it turned the entire inside of his helmet pink! It did not affect anything but it was just pink for a really long time.
- They make scented rubbing alcohol and we were told it was ok to use (double check with your center). There was only mint when we had the band. Be aware though the technician said that since it was a light green color it turned the inside of the band green too.
- Your Baby’s head will smell!! It happens and I tried to avoid it but they said it happens to all Doc wearers! It is not a horrible smell but more like a weird funk – so sorry to say. But don’t worry it goes away afterwards!
- If you are interested in getting your Doc Band wrapped it can be expensive. Some places even have waiting lists or a free offer. But it takes weeks to get the wrap so just be prepared and do research. We never got a wrap since we were told it would possibly only be 6-8 weeks. Just was not worth it to us.
- Be prepared to get head butted. Holy moly it hurts so bad and I am sure it will happen to you. We would be playing and he would just slam his head into my lip and I would always ask “am I bleeding”! It hurts, so just a warning.
- Cute idea I saw somewhere probably on Pinterest – Get a teddy bear for when your baby is done with his band. You put the Band on the bear and display it in the kids room or for a keepsake. I mean, you did have to pay a lot of $$$ for that thing! We have not done this but I have been looking for a bear and plan to do so.
- Follow instructions and always call your Doc Band center if you have any questions.
We would have fellow parents stop and talk to us saying their kid had to have a band too. They would tell their kids “you used of have one of those” and told us they remember having to go through the process.
So see, we are not alone and there are a ton of parents out there that have gone through, or are going through, the same thing. One of my favorite things about the band was the added layer of protection Nic had for when he took a stumble or hit his head. Too bad he got it off right before walking, really could have used that protection for then.
I hope some of this information has helped you or at least maybe prepared you for your baby getting a Doc Band. All children are different and I hope everything goes smoothly for you and your family! Remember, be sure to always call your Doctor or treatment center with any questions or concerns.
Did you baby have to get a Doc Band? I would love to hear about it and any tips you have to offer others out there.