Your Baby’s Soft Spot
I was terrified of my baby's soft spot, as if it was some kind of self-destruct button. I was paranoid about damaging the mysterious, fragile area, and I was certain that people were not being extra precautions while holding her. I decided to arm myself with information before becoming a crazy person. Here's what I found:
The technical term is “fontanel.” Your baby has two of them. One is located on the top of the head, and one is located a little farther back. These make it easier for your baby to make it through the birth canal. So that's a good thing!
Your baby's brain grows pretty fast during the first year, and the soft spots allow for that growth. And, thankfully, the bones in the baby's head begin to fuse around six months, and the soft spot will be gone around 18 months.
Apparently, the soft spots aren't as fragile as I thought. Despite their name, they’re actually covered with a tough membrane that protects everything under the skin. As long as you're being gentle and normal with your baby, there's no need to worry. Wash her hair, give her kisses, and hold her close.
Also, it’s totally normal for the soft spot to pulse. Blood and other bodily fluids pass through this area on the head, so it’s going to rise and fall!
The signs of trouble are large indents or bumps on your child’s head. If the soft spot stays sunken for more than a couple of minutes, this is when you need to speak to a doctor, immediately, as that may be a sign of dehydration or something else serious. But that's pretty rare.
Doctor Alan Greene also had some good news about soft spots. He says, “Far from making the baby more vulnerable, the soft spot protects a baby from injury.” If your baby bumps her or his head, the soft spots cushion the impact. Doctor Greene states that “it actually consists of a surprisingly tough fibrous membrane.” This was also a great relief. As much as I wish it weren't true, babies bump themselves, fall over, and are generally pretty clumsy. (Hey, they're babies. Give them a break.)
So instead of fearing my baby's soft spot, I decided to be thankful for it. Besides, there were so many more things for me to be fearful of; it was nice to alleviate one.