The twins have had their DOC Bands for a few weeks now. It sure has been an experience! I thought I would share our ups and downs as well as some tips that make our lives with the bands less miserable. Before I get into things, here are some pictures. Even with their bands, I still think they are pretty adorable.
This is what we have learned so far.
1. People are curious about the bands.
When we take the twins out, people ask me what the bands are and what they are for. One person even asked me what’s wrong with our babies (not very nice!). The are called DOC Bands and primarily treat Plagiocephaly.
While tummy time can help decrease the change of Plagiocephaly becoming an issue, some babies still get it even with lots of tummy time. Our babies were especially susceptible because they were premature and spent time in the NICU.
2. DOC Bands can indirectly help with other issues
Our son developed severe Torticollis (partly from being breech, a preemie, in the NICU, etc). His flat spot is on his right side and it makes it really hard for him to move his head around, especially when he is on his back. His physical therapist saw him the first day he had his band on and said just having it on helps a lot with his alignment. The DOC Band does not treat Torticollis but it definitely helps when used with PT and exercises at home.
3. Insurance does not always cover the bands.
This can happen 2 ways. In some cases, they offer coverage but deny the claim. In this case you can appeal. Other times (as in our case) insurance companies create a provision that specifically excludes band coverage (jerks!). That means we can not appeal but we can file a grievance. We did. A grievance won’t help us but I hope they change their policy so other people can get coverage.
A while back I wrote a post about our insurance not offering coverage and got lots of great tips. Here I leaned there is an organization called the United Healthcare Children’s Foundation that will help with the cost. Unfortunately, we do not pass their income requirements. Even so, I would like to thank Meredith for letting me know about them as well as any else who read my post. I hope if someone else is facing this issue they may be able to help them.
Ultimately we did have to pay for them out of pocket but Cranial Technologies did give us a twin discount. We are thankful for that.
4. Timing is important with DOC Bands
As a baby gets older, their skull hardens. That means if they get a late start with the DOC Band, they will likely have to wear it longer and it may not be as effective. On the other side, you do not want to get on too early because some babies heads will naturally reshape without needing a band. We had our babies initially measured at around 3 months and then remeasured around 4 months. That way we could see that things were not getting better on their own (although our son’s head was really misshapen even at 2 months so I pretty much always knew he would need a band).
Even though we got the band through Cranial Technologies, we worked closely with our pediatrician throughout the process. I have had nothing but good experiences with Cranial Technologies but some reviews have said they have pushed some parents to get bands when their kids did not need them. Knowing our pediatrician also highly recommends they have bands makes me know we made the right choice.
4. You may have to rethink how you dress your baby when wearing a DOC Band.
We were told when we got the bands they would make the babies hot, but we did not realize how much so. Two days after having them on, we noticed rashes on their face. We took them back to Cranial Technologies and turns out they had heat rash. We now keep the babies in onesies, no pants, and no socks. They are so much more comfy now even though they can not wear all the cute footed PJs we bought for them to wear this winter. Of course, we got doctor’s approval to do this and bundle them up before going outside. Also, all babies are different and some may not get as hot.
5. DOC Bands get gross!
Even when we keep the babies cool, their heads sweat a lot. Wiping the bands out every day does not cut it. I got a great tip from a coworker whose baby also had a DOC Band. He told me to scrub the bands out every night with a toothbrush using 70% Isopropyl alcohol. Cranial Technologies did tell us to clean it out daily with the alcohol but did not suggest using a toothbrush to scrub the band. We asked them if this would damage the band. They said no and it works like a charm. No more dirty, gross bands!
6. They take a while for babies to get used to
We are still working on this one. It has gotten better but we still have a ways to go. They seem to have them most trouble with them at night. Before we got them, they had just started sleeping through the night, which was freaking awesome. That feels like a distant memory now. They are now wearing them 23 hours a day as instructed. Hopefully as time goes on, they will continue to get more used to them. Someday in the future this will all be a distant memory.
Thanks for reading. If anyone else has any tips at all for surviving these bands, please share!
I hope everyone is doing well and all my US bloggers have a fabulous Turkey Day (or anyone else celebrating the occasion)! We sure do have a lot to be thankful for this year. – Jennie