Babies come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s sometimes difficult to tell what’s normal and what’s not. Far from criticizing babies’ appearances, noticing what’s different about a baby compared to others can often make the difference between significant medical challenges and a happy, healthy future. When baby’s weird head shape means a medical diagnosis that’s not only scary but seriously hard to look at, parents are often at a loss for how to handle things.
Whether a baby’s head shape is from a traumatic birth, an underlying medical condition, or a harmless genetic variation that just results in a larger-than-average head, there’s absolutely no reason to make fun of a child, especially when their condition comes with health concerns.
To parents, a child with a “weird-shaped” head is still a beautiful and unique one, and often one who has additional special needs to contend with that only make life that much harder.
From babies who had a rough start and are showing their wear and tear, to babies who survived astronomical odds and thrive despite their “weird” heads and the cruel comments of others, here are fourteen cases of odd-shaped baby noggins and the explanation behind the often-ridiculed images.
14 Pint-Sized Star Earns Internet Fame
A few years ago, toddler Kyran emerged as a Vine star, thanks to his older sister Amira, Global Grind reported. The feisty little boy wasn’t a fan of his big sister’s internet videos, but he also had a huge personality of his own that earned him a huge following on his Vine videos and later his Instagram. The family apparently uses Kyran’s abnormally large head to get attention- because “Big Head Baby Kyran” is the title of all his videos and it’s referenced on the Instagram account in his name.
Fans speculate that Kyran either has a condition that makes his head grow larger than average, or that he’s a little person. It seems that his family isn’t forthcoming about whether Kyran has any medical issues. But his shorter arms and legs may also be indications of a form of dwarfism.
13 Odd-Shaped Head Signals Serious Illness
With his chubby cheeks and bright eyes, it’s almost hard to tell that baby Matthew has a serious condition called craniosynostosis. It’s what made his head look elongated, despite his round cheeks. The problem with this condition is that it affects brain growth, since the shape of the head doesn’t let the brain grow normally.
About one in 2,000 babies are born with this condition, CBS News reported, and some side effects are headaches, developmental delays, and eye problems. Luckily, most babies, like Matthew, can undergo surgery to remove the “extra” bone that’s essentially trapping their brains. Matthew’s parents told CBS News that after a difficult few days after surgery, Matthew was himself again and has continued to grow and thrive, despite having to wear a helmet post-op for nearly 23 hours per day.
12 Oblong Head Might Mean Medical Problem
Parents all over the web hop on forums to ask for parenting advice and to pick other moms’ brains. One common concern across all baby boards is whether a child’s development is normal or not. That’s the case for this photo, where a concerned parent searched for answers before turning to doctors to figure things out.
This baby’s head doesn’t look concerning at first glance, but when you look closer, you notice that the infant has an oblong-shaped head that is a little longer front-to-back than what is normal. The disproportion of the head is what caught the parents’ attention, and while it could be a variation of normal, this baby appears to be an older infant, so the explanation that it’s a newborn whose skull is still rounding out doesn’t really fly.
11 Worst Fears Realized With Zika
The outbreak of the Zika virus in Brazil affected at least two thousand pregnant women, whose babies are now growing into toddlers. Probably the most visible evidence of Zika is the children’s microcephaly, which means they have smaller than normal sized heads. For many moms, they didn’t even know their babies were affected by Zika until months after their births.
Although many of these babies live with seizures and struggle to eat and develop, their parents have hope as new strategies and therapies emerge to help treat their children. However, these babies with malformed heads are not the only ones suffering the after-effects of Zika- there are untold numbers of children with minor problems whose parents may not even consider Zika as the cause. As one expert told The Sun, they are “writing the history of this disease” as they learn new things each day.
10 Bruised Baby Battles His Way Out
Although the movies would suggest otherwise, most babies aren’t born with perfectly round heads and pristine skin. And although it seems shocking to see a photo of a substantially bruised up and misshapen baby, sometimes exiting the birth canal isn’t as easy as you’d hope. This infant is a newborn who obviously just went through a difficult if not traumatic birth. The bruise along the forehead suggests there were was a hang-up on the way out, and the shape of the skull that follows the bruise explains more of the story.
This poor little one also looks a little out of it, so maybe there was more to the birth than the bumps and bruises. You can also see one little hand wrapped up, and the other with a bruise on it, so they may have had to place multiple IVs on this tot to stabilize him after birth.
9 Bed-Ridden Twin Receives Life-Saving Surgery
Lairab Faisal become a mother for the first and second time the day her twin sons were born, she told the Daily Mail, and it’s been a struggle ever since. Ibtisam’s parents were told he had craniosynostosis, a malformation of the skull. But when he was a few months old, doctors believe, he suffered meningitis, which wasn’t immediately addressed. As a result, fluid built up in his brain from hydrocephalus. As Ibtisam’s twin grew normally, his mother found the dual emotional and physical challenges exhausting.
Ibtisam was bedridden because of the weight and size of his head, and it was only after months of searching that his mother found doctors willing to perform the risky surgery that could help him live a more normal life. An anonymous donor paid for the child and his mother to fly to Dallas, Texas, where two surgeries reduced the size of Ibtisam’s head.
8 Heart-Shaped Head Gives Parents A Scare
If you’ve ever seen those ultrasound images where people swear they see ghosts, or where baby looks like a creepy skeleton, this story won’t be much of a surprise. When his parents were getting a 3D ultrasound scan at 16 weeks along, baby Logan didn’t quite look normal. His head looked heart-shaped, and initially, his mom Beverley was shocked. She and her fiancé Ben were told that it was likely a glitch in the image, a relief after they went through a miscarriage a year earlier.
When he was born, Logan’s head was perfectly normal, although he did arrive with an infection that threatened his health and his parents’ dream of a healthy baby. However, it didn’t take long before the infant was well again, and with a perfectly round head, too.
7 Tough Birth Leaves Its Mark
An elongated head and a few red marks suggest that this baby had a difficult birth, but it could be more than inconvenient positioning that caused the elongation if its skull. There are a number of medical conditions that result in babies having skulls that extend farther front-to-back with little room side-to-side, and if it’s left untreated, it can keep baby’s brain from being able to grow.
But at the same time, the red marks look like the baby was stuck on the way out, so this oddly shaped noggin could be another indicator of a difficult birth position. In most cases, only time can tell whether the malformations are normal, or whether the baby has some underlying condition that can cause problems as they grow bigger and their brains need more room.
6 Fresh Newborn Had A Tight Fit
Plenty of doctors tell moms that if their hips aren’t a certain width, or if their build is slight, they won’t be able to successfully birth their baby naturally. But photos like this are evidence that even if it’s a tight fit, many moms are able to give birth vaginally and their babies turn out fine.
Weathering a long labor is just one skill new babies seem to have, because their skulls are so flexible and include soft spots that let their bones move around. What’s actually happening here is the bones are pushing together, moving everything around, to get baby out of the birth canal. It’s such a crazy phenomenon that worries many new parents, and this freshly birthed babe is just one of many whose heads tell a story!
5 Squishy Baby Bounces Back
This fresh little newborn has an alarmingly distorted head, but rest assured, it’s all normal in the world of natural birth. While most babies who exit the womb via C-section wind up with perfectly round noggins (unless they’ve weathered a long labor smashed up against mom’s bones first), plenty of vaginal births end up with a less-than-photogenic infant.
This baby no doubt had trouble exiting, as its head is squished into a cone shape that even juts off to the side. That might mean baby’s position in the womb wasn’t head-down, but rather pushed up against mom’s anatomy, making it difficult to get out unscathed. It sure is uncomfortable to look at, but luckily babies are made for this kind of squishing and squeezing, and most are no worse for wear after a few hours or days.
4 Missing Brain Means Questionable Future
Baby Jaxon’s story is so rare that his parents even wrote a book about their experiences in his first two years of life. The baby was born with microhydranencephaly, a brain malformation that meant he only has 20 percent of his brain. Although Jaxon’s parents were told he’d never live to see his second birthday, their boy shocked medical professionals as he continued to grow and enjoy life.His parents told Today on his second birthday that despite daily seizures, he’s a happy and comfortable child who is otherwise healthy. His mom and dad celebrate milestones like Jaxon’s recognizing his own name, tracking people when they talk to him, and he’s babbling, listening, and looking- things doctors thought he’d never do. Because there’s no medical precedent for Jaxon’s diagnosis, his parents are taking things one day at a time.
3 Cone-Headed Baby Still Gorgeous
This bright-eyed and aware newborn’s head might be a funny shape, but this little one is hyper-aware for being so new. That squished-up expression and inquisitive eyes tell us this baby is interested in learning about this new world he just emerged into, and hopefully the evidence of the journey will wear off soon.
For many moms, this image won’t seem startling at all, since plenty of us have held our new babies and seen their misshapen skulls and not felt concerned at all. There are plenty of scenarios that instill fear into moms’ hearts, but at least at first, having a baby with a weird-shaped head isn’t an immediate medical concern. Besides, babies change so much in the first few days and weeks of their lives, there’s no telling what they’ll look like tomorrow!
2 Rare Disease Runs In Family
When Ellysse Healey was pregnant with her son Reuben, she was told that he would be born with a rare condition called alobar holoprosencephaly, or HPE. The birth abnormality causes impeded brain function and can cause learning problems, fluid in the brain, hormonal problems, and other issues. Both Reuben and his aunt Lydia, who was five at the time of his birth, both have the condition. Both children also have hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid on their brains.
This is what causes Reuben’s head to be so large- 44 centimeters at the time of his birth. Born prematurely then staying in the NICU for weeks, Reuben even had surgery as an infant to relieve some of the liquid weighing on his brain. Today, Reuben’s parents are doing their best to offer their son fun and developmental opportunities to increase his quality of life.
1 Parents Blog About Baby's Disorder
Baby David’s parents were thrilled when he was born, and despite multiple comments from medical professionals, they didn’t think there was a problem with the way their son’s head was shaped. As his mom wrote on her Blogspot blog Davidscabesa, after a long labor with the baby’s head engaged in her pelvis the entire time, it was obvious David’s head wouldn’t look “normal” at first.
But as time went on, both of David’s parents began to wonder how long it would take his head to “even out.” As it turns out, it never would- not on its own. They later found out that David had sagittal craniosynostosis, and learned that he would need surgery to correct the way his growth plates had fused together. Luckily, after an endoscopic surgery and a few months of wearing a helmet, David’s measurements were finally “normal.”