I have a newborn 20 days old, he always prefers to sleep in right side. I turn his head to left side when he is sleeping but soon enough he goes back to his right side.

I also noticed that his head is getting taller because he dont sleep in his back.

should I be worried , anything I should do ?

  • The answers are quite informative but I would like to reiterate the idea, which you might want to consider, of checking with a doctor or nurse. Exactly where you could go would vary quite a bit from one country/region to another. Mar 19, 2022 at 16:33

2 Answers 2


Torticollis is, as @swbarnes stated, a possibility, however, it's less likely torticollis than simply a preference on the baby's part. Torticollis does present in neonates, but in that case, it's called congenital torticollis (CT), which is thought to be a result of intrauterine position (more common in breech babies) or birth trauma (sternocleidomastoid muscle injury or other). The incidence of congenital torticollis is .3% to 2% of births.

Do this to yourself: turn your head all the way to the right, and place your left palm on your lower jaw/chin area on the left side of your face. Keeping your palm there to stop your head from turning (providing resistance), try to turn your head to your left. Feel the large muscle on the left that runs from the corner of your jaw to your collar bone in front. That is your sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle. If you do the opposite, you'll feel the SCM on the other side. The SCM helps us turn our heads.

Congenital torticollis is present when one of the SCMs is weak, so the stronger muscle pulls the infant's head in that direction. The SCM also helps us to tilt our heads, so in an infant with CT will turn its head in one direction while tilting the chin towards the opposite side. (This can be a bit hard to see in neonates, but it's there.)

The doctor who delivers babies does an exam, part of which is to determine if CT is present. Pediatricians (or the delivering doctors, if they also care for children) also do a thorough exam soon after birth and again before discharging the infant, part of which is to look for CT. (All kinds of abnormalities are looked for.)

Head position preference, or the infant preferring to lay with its head to one side, is common, and present in about 20% of births. Interestingly, most commonly the preferred position is to the right. By the age of two months, 50% of infants will have corrected this on their own, and by 6 months of age, it will have disappeared.

Your doctor can determine if this is CT or a normal head preference, and will recommend a number of easy things to do to help minimize any problems which may be associated with prolonged head direction preference.

Congenital torticollis
Congenital muscular torticollis: where are we today?
Congenital Torticollis


Ask your pediatrician, but it could be infant torticollis. Stiff neck muscles lead to the baby preferring to sleep on one side, which can lead to an asymmetrical head.

(There are no scary images when googling infant torticollis)


Here are some exercises to try:

When your baby wants to eat, offer the bottle or your breast in a way that encourages your baby to turn away from the favored side. When putting your baby down to sleep, position them to face the wall. Since babies prefer to look out onto the room, your baby will actively turn away from the wall and this will stretch the tightened muscles of the neck. Remember — always put babies down to sleep on their back to help prevent SIDS. During play, draw your baby's attention with toys and sounds to make him or her turn in both directions.


Treatment for Infant Torticollis The best way to treat torticollis is to encourage your baby to turn his or her head in both directions. This helps loosen tense neck muscles and tighten the loose ones. Rest assured that babies won’t likely hurt themselves by turning their heads on their own.


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