You must have noticed the soft spot on your baby’s head! Nervous about the delicate spot? You need not be. This is a feature of all infants; not a speciality of your baby. This is a gap on the head between two skull bones known as fontanale and posterior fontanale. It is a diamond shaped gap on the crown of the head. As the child grows up, the gap closes in and ultimately disappears by the age of around 18 months.
In fact, there is another gap at the back of the head, but it closes early. Yet, new parents are mostly nervous about this spot lest the infant should get an injury to the brain. To allay your apprehensions, here are some important facts about the soft spots on your baby’s head.
It Is Normal, And Necessary
The gap takes about 18 months to close completely. By this time the brain gets enough time to grow. In fact, the time is very much a necessity for the brain to grow to its fullest extent. In case the fontanalle closes faster than 18 months, it should be a cause for concern. It may result in mental retardation, seizures, blindness, abnormal shape of the head etc. Till about 18 months the paediatrician would most likely check the fontanalle of your baby in each and every visit. If the gap closes early, the paediatrician may even recommend a special helmet so that the gaps don’t close early, and the brain is allowed to grow.
Soft Spots On Your Baby’s Head
There Is Nothing to Be Afraid Of
There is nothing to be afraid of. Don’t think that the brain is exposed to the environment. In fact, it is protected by a tough membrane. It is also surrounded by a soft cartilage. Even slight pressure on the area won’t harm the baby. You can even massage the area with oil and apply shampoo. However, you must be careful about applying pressure on it. You also need to save the area from any kind of impact.
Read More: Importance of Baby Massage and Its Benefits
Symptoms That You Need Not Be Concerned About
1} The gap is still there
There are many soft suture areas in the head of an infant. You can find them on the sides, back and top. As the sutures become hardened, the gaps between the skull bones closes. After some time the bones get joined firmly with one another. However, the fontanelle at the top of the head takes time to close. It takes about 7 to 19 months. The fontanelle at the back of the head closes early, by about 2 months. So at about one and a half years of age, the infant’s skull bones should not have any soft areas. If the gap does not close even after two years, you must talk to the doctor.
2} It is pulsating
It is normal for the soft spot to pulsate with the heartbeat of the infant. There is absolutely nothing abnormal with this as the pulsation is due to the flow of blood. So, you don’t need to call a doctor.
3} It is bulging out at times
When is it bulging out? Is it happening when the infant is crying, lying down or vomiting? If yes, there is absolutely nothing to worry about it. It should return to normal after the episode is over. However, if it does not become normal, you need to consult the doctor. Swelling of the fontanelle may also occur due to accumulation of fluid or swelling of the brain. If there is a large bulge, then you do need to consult a doctor. If there is something abnormal with the baby such as it is running a fever or is extremely lethargic, you may consider the bulge to be abnormal.
4} The spot is appearing depressed
Read More: 11 Foods that Cure Child Depression
5} The hair on its head is falling rapidly
Some infants are born with a head full of locks while some others are born completely bald. Both conditions are normal. If the baby’s hair falls off after a few days, don’t panic. This too is normal.
Symptoms That You Need To Be Concerned About
Bumps or bruises
Is there any bump or bruise on the infant’s head? If it is there, you should consult a doctor. However, many infants also have a soft bruised spot on top of the head. This sometime happens during the delivery, but often clears up quickly.
So if your baby does have soft spots on his head, there is nothing to be too concerned about!