Why does my newborn have a soft spot?
When you’re gently feeling around your baby’s body or shampooing her hair, don’t panic if you feel two soft spots on the front and back of your baby’s head. These are called fontanelles, which are the natural gaps between the bones of her skull.
Fontanelles play an important role in giving your baby’s head the flexibility it needs to get through your narrow birth canal and are necessary to allow her head and brain room to grow and develop. Many parents are afraid of touching these spots, but you don’t have to be: there’s a strong membrane that protects your baby’s skull, so don't worry if you touch them, just be gentle.
Eventually, the bones in your baby’s head will fuse together and these tiny gaps will close. The fontanelle on the back of her head will close within the first 3 or 4 months, and the one in the front will fuse when she is somewhere between about a year and year and a half old. You might notice her fontanelles slightly bulging when she strains during a bowel movement, or sometimes even coinciding with her heartbeats. Notify a doctor if your baby has soft spots that are very caved in or bulging out significantly, since this could signal dehydration or excess pressure, but otherwise, just be gentle, and all should be well.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Baby’s head shape: What’s normal?” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, January 29 2015. Web.
- “Your Baby’s Head.” HealthyChildren. American Academy of Pediatrics, June 1 2010. Web.
More articles at this age
7 tips for bottle feeding
Much like breastfeeding, bottle-feeding is an art, and everybody probably has some tips to help you out. We've got some too.
Can a single parent ever really have a moment alone?
Close supervision is one of the big parts of the parent of a newborn's job, but for single parents it's a part of the job that can start to get in the way of the other parts.
Understanding your Edinburgh depression screening results
The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) is a tool that healthcare providers use to screen for and diagnose depression. Here's what your results mean.
The two-month baby checkup: A play-by-play guide
It's hard to believe 2 months will come so soon. Or is that the sleep deprivation talking? Either way, it'll soon be time to take your baby in for her checkup, so here's what to expect.
Keeping baby sunburn-free
The sun is beautiful, the sun is warm, the sun is...dangerous? If you've ever had a sunburn, you know the sun's friendliness has its limits, so it's important to know how, why, and when to keep infants protected.
How to choose a healthy formula
For the number of labels there are on the formula aisle of the grocery store, it can be surprisingly tricky to tell what's different about different types of formula.