Your baby was born with two noticeable soft spots, called fontanels, on the top and back of his head. Your baby’s skull is made up of bones that connect at the soft spots. The soft spots are made of a tough membrane which allows your baby’s head to be flexible. This flexibility is necessary so that your baby’s head can fit through birth canal. You may have seen a baby that had a cone shaped head when he was born. This was a result of his head being squeezed through the birth canal. Without the soft spots, baby’s head might get stuck in the birth canal, but instead his skull compresses to the shape of the birth canal.
Why do babies have soft spots?
Babies need a flexible skull, not only to fit through the birth canal, but also to allow room for growth. As your baby’s brain grows, his skull needs to be able to expand. The soft spot on the top of your newborn’s head may actually get bigger during his first 2 or 3 months of life to accommodate his rapid brain growth. After that, it gradually starts to close. The soft spots also serve another purpose. They keep your baby’s head from being injured. Babies are more vulnerable to injuries because they are so small and are still learning so much. As your baby starts to roll over, crawl, or sit up, he may fall over or roll off of something and bump his head. The soft spots will help cushion his head when he falls and help protect him from injuries.
Is it okay to touch baby’s soft spots?
A lot of parents worry about touching baby’s soft spots. It is okay to touch your baby’s soft spots just be gentle. His soft spots are composed of a thick membrane so you won’t injure your baby just by touching them.
When will my baby’s soft spots close?
The posterior fontanel, the soft spot on the back of your baby’s head, will close first. It is the smaller of the two fontanels so it doesn’t take as long to close. It normally closes by the time your baby is 2-4 months old. The anterior fontanel, located on the top of baby’s head, closes later. The time frame on when the anterior fontanel will close varies. On average, it closes at around 18 months but it can close as early as 9-12 months.