Why does my newborn have a soft spot?

Body Inside & Out   |   Age: 24 days

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.


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