Newborn babies are delicate and require constant care and supervision. You will notice many things about your newborn baby that older babies do not have, including soft spots on the head. These spots, also called fontanels, are sections of your baby’s skull that have not completely formed yet. It can be dangerous if damage occurs in these areas, so it is important to understand what they are and how to protect them. The following are five questions that many parents have about soft spots.
What exactly are soft spots?
The soft spots on your baby’s head usually come in pairs, with one being larger than the other. However, it is possible for your baby to have more. The soft spots help your baby move through the narrow birthing canal more easily, reshaping the head. This process is known as molding and also allows your baby’s brain to develop better after birth.
Where are the soft spots are located?
The soft spots are located on the center and the back of your baby’s head. Typically, the largest soft spot can be found on the top of the head and is triangular or diamond-like in shape. If you do not know where to find the soft spots, try gently feeling for them in the general areas where they may occur. Be careful as you do this and be aware that there may be more than two fontanels.
When will the soft spots disappear?
The length of time it will take for your baby’s skull to completely form will vary. Depending upon where the soft spots are located, it can take up to eighteen months or longer. The smaller soft spots can take six weeks or more to completely close, while the largest will not close until the brain has fully developed.
If your baby’s soft spots completely close earlier than this, it can be a sign of trouble. If this issue happens, it may mean that the brain has stopped developing. Contact your pediatrician immediately if soft spots have closed early.
What can I do to keep my baby safe?
Taking proper precautions to protect your baby’s skull and developing brain is important for every parent to do. However, you do not need to avoid touching your baby’s head. You can press on the soft spots without hurting your baby, as long as you do not apply too much pressure. When lifting your baby, be sure to gently place your hand on the back of the head and neck for support, but do not press down too hard. You should also teach anyone who will be handling your baby the proper safety procedures to avoiding hurting the soft spots. If your baby’s head is ever injured and they develop a fever shortly afterward, call your pediatrician immediately.
What happens if the spot spots suddenly look different?
Normal soft spots are slightly indented, but if you see that the indention has become deeper, your baby could be dehydrated. If you have given your baby enough liquids and the soft spot is still too deep, call your doctor as soon as possible. In contrast, if the soft spot is swollen, there still may not be a medical issue. Sometimes, after excessive crying or coughing, soft spots can become swollen, but they should decrease in size within hours. If the swelling does not go down, contact your pediatrician quickly.
Finding the best pediatrician in Amarillo, Texas
If you are searching for a reliable, experienced, and caring pediatrician, contact Dr. John M. Young, M.D. Pediatrics today. Dr. John Young and his team are committed to providing the best experience for you and your child. Call our office at (806) 354-0404 ext. 3330 to schedule an appointment with us today. You can also Contact Us by email or visit our office in person at 1500 S. Coulter St. Suite #3 in Amarillo, Texas to learn more about our services.