Kennedy's STARband came in this week, and we had our appointment this morning to have her fitted with her helmet! I will admit, I felt a little pang of sadness when we checked in on her at bedtime last night, knowing that the big day was coming. It's easy to feel "okay" with it when it's not actually a reality! The same thoughts played in my head as I tried to fall asleep last night - Could we have worked harder with tummy time and repositioning and kept her from needing one? Am I a bad mom for letting her lay on her head so much that it got a flat spot? Is the STARband really going to work? Will people stare at her in public? The funny thing is, once she got the helmet and we were on our way home, I realized that it's really not that big of a deal at all. She has a helmet. So what? In 12 weeks, this will be a distant memory. I may not know the answers to all of the worrisome questions that plague me now and then, but I know that we've made the right decision for our daughter - that much I am sure of.
When we got to the appointment, our orthotist, Lisa, tried the helmet on Kennedy's head, and then went over some instructions with me. For the first few days, we increase her time wearing the helmet in increments (1 hour on/1 hour off, 2 hours on/1 hour off, 4 hours on/1 hour off, etc.) until day 5 when she will begin wearing the STARband for 23 hours a day. We can take it off for special occasions, important photos, bathtime, etc. - and we have to take it off if she gets sick and has a high fever. We have to clean it once a day, and we can expect it to smell bad, as she'll be sweating into it (yuck.) I was shocked by how completely oblivious she seemed to it being on her head. I'd read that that was the case, and heard it from friends who have been through this, but I definitely wouldn't have believed it without seeing it. After checking the fit of the helmet to see where it needed to be trimmed down, Lisa took the helmet to make some adjustments to it. While she was gone, Kennedy and I snuggled, and played, and sang silly songs to pass the time.
It took two times of putting the hemlet on, and making adjustments to the material inside of it before Lisa was happy with how it fit. From there, we practiced taking it on and off a few times and that was it! We were sent on our way and told to come back in two weeks for a follow up to check her progress. Easy, peasy.
We've been through two "1 hour on" time periods this afternoon and still, Kennedy remains unfazed by the helmet. I can't believe it doesn't bother her, but she doesn't seem to know it's even there!
I've already learned a few things since we brought it home:
#1 - It's easier to get it on and off if you put her in the Bumbo Seat so you have both your hands free.
#2 - Toddlers are jealous of special hats for their baby sibling.
Bennet keeps saying, "Nennet wear it? Nennet have hat? Nennet have helmet?" Lisa suggested that, if that happened, we could get Bennet a bike helmet to make him feel special, too. We may be headed to two babies in helmets around our house!
I have definite plans to "bling" Kennedy's band. Glitter and flower stickers have been purchased, and I can't wait to jazz it up and make it even more fabulous. For right now, we'll just take some time getting used to life with the helmet, and being thankful that we have the STARband and are taking care of our little Bean's flat head.