Babies’ soft spots are fascinating things and can trigger a lot of questions for parents, particularly new parents who haven’t experienced them before. To answer all of your questions in one place, here are 6 things you should know about your baby’s soft spot:
1. Soft spots are completely normal
To adults, the concept of a soft spot can be quite concerning and confusing. It might appear like an unprotected area that can cause harm to your baby, but rest assured, soft spots are normal and necessary. Soft spots, known as fontanelles, allow your baby’s head to remain flexible and able to be moulded for safe passage through the birth canal. Simply put, these soft spots are gaps between the bones in your baby’s head, and they stay open after birth to allow for growth during the beginning of your little one’s life.
2. Your baby has more than one soft spot
Where are baby head soft spots? Usually, parents can spot at least one of their little one’s soft spots. However, you might be surprised to know that your baby has more than one. Babies have two larger and more noticeable soft spots. One of these is the anterior fontanelle, which is front and centre on the top of your baby’s head, and the other is smaller and towards the back of your baby’s head. Additionally, something that is less commonly known is that there are four more soft spots lower down in the skull when your little one is born! These are much smaller and not as noticeable.
3. It’s normal to see your baby’s soft spot pulsing
Seeing a pulsating movement on your little one’s head can be a confusing observation. However, it’s nothing to worry about if you do see baby’s soft spot pulsing. There is a strong fibrous membrane, which will eventually turn into bone, between the bones for protection during these early months and it is normal to see this area pulsating. Once the bones within your baby’s skull begin to fuse, the soft spots will close and the pulsing will stop. Pulsating fontanelles aren’t a medical or health indication, and instead, represent a healthy blood flow in the brain
4. Your baby’s soft spot may appear sunken
Due to the absence of bone at your baby’s soft spot, it isn’t unusual for your baby’s soft spot to be sunken in. This is nothing to worry about as long as it is only slightly visible. If your baby’s soft spot appears to be severely sunken, however, it can be an indication of dehydration and you need to make sure that your baby has enough fluids. Dry nappies are another indication of dehydration and if this is something that happens a lot or over a long time you should approach your doctor for their help.
5. A bulging soft spot can be a sign of illness
A bulging soft spot is more concerning than a sunken fontanelle. If your baby’s soft spot is bulging or swollen and it doesn’t go down, it can be an indication of brain swelling or illnesses such as meningitis. You should talk to your doctor immediately if this is the case. However, if your baby’s soft spot bulges whilst they are crying or coughing and it returns to normal afterwards, there is nothing to worry about.
6. Baby soft spots are more fragile than the rest of their head
Although your little one’s fontanelles are covered by a strong membrane, they are more delicate areas than the rest of your baby’s head. Be gentle when touching or handling your baby’s head to avoid putting excess pressure on their soft spot.
For information regarding the length of time that a baby has their soft spots for, and when they typically start to close, take a look at our previous informative blog post. Additionally, take a look at our blog page for more advice and information for parents