Can I touch the soft spots on my baby’s head?

All babies are born with soft spots on their heads, called fontanelles, as their skulls are made up of four bone plates. These four plates are designed to slide over one another to help baby’s head squeeze through the vagina during birth—just part of the miraculous way that babies are designed!

Where are the soft spots located?

You can find the soft spots on top of your baby’s head in two locations. One is located near the front, and another one near the back. These spots are actually gaps between the bone plates of the skulls, which have yet to fuse together. In fact, because they are not fused at birth, they give your baby’s brain room to grow further.

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The plates on your baby’s skull take a little while to fuse together, but they will do so eventually. The back fontanelle will typically close first when your baby is between two and four months old, but the larger one on the front of the head will usually stay open all the way until your baby is past one year old.

Can I touch the soft spots?

As new parents, you may feel worried about the soft spots as you fear that accidental pressure could hurt the skull or the brain. In fact, if you touch it, you might even feel the spot pulsing along with your baby’s heart beat, or bulging out when your baby cries. Don’t be frightened by this as it’s quite normal.

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Actually, it is harder to injure the soft spots than you think as the brain is protected by a membrane layer, and not only through a thin layer of skin. That said, you should always be gentle when handling your baby’s head, whether it is combing your baby’s hair or giving baby a massage.

When should I be worried about the soft spots?

While soft spots on the skull are normal for all babies, there are cases where the soft spot display some abnormalities. For example, if you see a soft spot that is indented, where the skin seems to have collapsed, you should seek medical attention as your baby may be suffering from dehydration.

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Some bulging from the soft spot from time to time is normal, but if your baby’s soft spot is permanently bulging outwards or swollen looking, that could be a sign of some kind of inflammation or fluid build up. This is especially worrying if your baby has suffered a head blow or has a fever, so take your baby to see a doctor.

Newborn babies in Singapore are well taken care of by regular checkups, so if you have any worries, always ask the pediatrician on one of these visits.

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