Now that your newborn baby is here, you may wonder about the soft spot on baby head dangers. You had probably heard that the soft spot is very important and that mismanaging it could lead to problems for your baby.
But before we go into the possible soft spot on baby head dangers, there’s a need to understand why your baby’s head is soft at birth and the functions of this part of their body.
What is a soft spot and what does it do?
Your baby’s soft spots show where the skull has not closed completely at birth. These soft spots are called fontanels. It might interest you to know that your baby has one soft spot at the top of their head and another one at the back, making it two soft spots on one tiny head.
The purpose of the soft spots on your baby’s head
- Your baby’s brain will still grow after birth, so these spots allow for the brain to expand rapidly after they are born
- A baby’s head is able to pass through the birth canal because the soft spots make the skull flexible enough to mold and change shape as it navigates the tight birth canal
Interesting things about a baby’s fontanels
Neonatal experts said that the bigger, diamond-shaped soft spot situated at the top of the baby’s head can be as wide as 2 inches. The closing process starts around when the baby is six months old and closes completely when the baby is 18 months old.
As mentioned before, there is a second soft spot at the back of the head, so you should be aware of soft spot on baby head dangers. The soft spot at the back of the head is a lot harder to find, but is triangular in shape and only about half-inch wide.
Your baby’s fontanels will often pulsate in time to his heartbeat, so you shouldn’t be scared when you see this happening.
Dr. Tia Hubbard, nursery paediatrician at the University of California at San Diego Medical Center, tells you not to worry, and that soft spots are tougher than you think.
“It is supposed to be soft because it allows for the rapid growth of the brain that occurs in the first year of life. But you can touch it; it’s not that fragile,” she told WebMD.
The soft spots have such unique coverings. The thick fibrous membranes form a protective layer to protect your baby’s growing brain.
Protecting baby soft spot from danger
Your baby’s soft spot has a protective layer, but this covering notwithstanding, you and other caregivers should try not to bounce the baby roughly or shake them. Ensure that no one—curious children included—pokes the baby’s fontanel.
Soft spot on baby head dangers: how to know when something is wrong
If the soft spot is sunken, this could be a sign that the baby is dehydrated, so you should definitely take the baby to the doctor immediately for effective treatment.
If you find that the baby’s fontanel bulges out, this could mean that there is a lot of pressure on the baby’s brain. This could become a life-threatening condition, so you definitely need to take the baby to the doctor.
Some babies would tilt their heads to one side frequently, and this could be as a result of an underlying problem. To rule out a muscular condition called torticollis, you should take the child to see a paediatrician. In most cases, this can be treated with physical therapy to stretch the muscles and help the baby change the position of their head without discomfort.
In some very rare cases, a baby may develop craniosynostosis, a condition where two or more plates in the baby’s head fuse together. This can change the shape of the baby’s head because the brain is growing and disfiguring the baby’s head because of a lack of space. Medical experts will recommend surgery to separate the plates that had fused together.
The head is a very sensitive part of your baby’s body, and so, you should handle it with care. While the soft spot will close on its own without any problem, it is important to make sure nothing disturbs it. If you notice anything out of the ordinary about your baby’s fontanel, please take the baby to a doctor immediately!
This article was first published on AfricaParent.com
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