A person holding their newborn baby's soft spot.

Why does my newborn have a soft spot?

When you’re gently feeling around Baby’s body or shampooing his hair, don’t panic if you feel two soft spots on the front and back of Baby’s head. These are called fontanelles, which are the natural gaps between the bones of his skull.

Your newborn and their bald spot(s), here are the details

Fontanelles play an important role in giving Baby’s head the flexibility it needs to get through your narrow birth canal and are necessary to allow his 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 Baby’s skull, so don’t worry if you touch them, just be gentle.

Eventually, the bones in Baby’s head will fuse together and these tiny gaps will close. The fontanelle on the back of his head will close within the first 3 or 4 months, and the one in the front will fuse when he is somewhere between about a year and year and a half old. You might notice his fontanelles slightly bulging when he strains during a bowel movement, or sometimes even coinciding with his heartbeats. Notify a doctor if 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.


Sources
  • 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.

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