By mom Jenna Wustman
By the time Jack was two months old, we noticed his head shape was getting more and more flat. He also had reflux pretty bad so tummy time was always pretty miserable for him (and us) as he would just lay there vomiting and screaming.
The pediatrician noticed the flatness at two months and said if it didn’t improve by his four-month appointment, he would give us a referral to get scanned to see if he needed a cranial remolding orthosis.
We tried a head-shaping pillow, constantly readjusting his head and switching sides, but despite our best efforts, it continued to get worse. We also tried craniosacral therapy about every other week for those two months as I tried my best to avoid him having to get a STARband; it didn’t seem
to help much.
We went to Mary Free Bed Orthotics & Prosthetics in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on December 24 for Jack’s first scan and diagnosis. At that time, he was about five months old, and his head was on the moderate scale as far as severity goes, and would only need to wear it for about three-four months. So, we chose to move forward, and orthotist and cranial remolding specialist Brent Tuinstra set up his appointment to receive his STARband on January 18.
I cried, worried about what others would think and how to explain it to people, especially family. But I knew this is what would be best for Jack. I think having a cranial remolding orthosis is a more common occurrence in this generation, but older generations find it so foreign it needs more explanation. Thankfully our family was very sympathetic and understanding about the situation and ended up being very supportive in helping care for Jack throughout
Jack received his STARband on January 18 and followed the wearing schedule, slowly working him into the adjustment. We opted for a white helmet with a black band knowing we would want to decorate it eventually! Jack did surprisingly well in getting acquainted with his helmet; many even commented on how cute he looked in it! We were very strict about sticking to his schedule and him only having it off for one hour a day, despite having to explain to the family that even though he isn’t laying down all day – his head is still growing; therefore he needs to keep it on.
Overall, our experience with the STARband was much better than anticipated! Anytime someone asked about Jack’s STARband, we were happy to tell them how much his head is improving and how well he does with it on! He honestly never had any issues with it, we had no problem cleaning it, and he never had any reactions at all! Both our orthotists were great—Jack went in for regular check-ups and adjustments every three-four weeks, we were eventually switched to Doug Richardson (another orthotist and cranial remolding specialist) to finish out his time in the helmet, and he finally got it off about four months later on May 10! Although I was initially upset and nervous about him needing a STARband, I am so glad we went through with it and are thrilled with how great Jack’s head looks now!