Updated: Jun 1
Have you ever wondered what the soft spots are when you feel your baby's head?
What are fontanelle's and why are they important?
These soft spots are called fontanelles and are part of a baby’s normal development.
Unlike adults, babies have skull bones that are not fully joined together yet. This allows for the growth of the skull as the brain gets bigger. The borders where these bones meet are called sutures. The spaces where these connect but are not completely joined are called fontanelles or soft spots.
Different Types of Fontanelles and Their Closure Time
There is a huge variation of normal fontanelles - both in shape and size and when they close.
At birth, an infant has six fontanelles but the two you may hear about are the anterior fontanelle (front one) and posterior fontanelle (back one)
Over time, all the fontanelles harden and close
The anterior fontanelle is the largest and usually closes between 7-18 months
The posterior fontanelle usually closes by two months of age
Changes to the fontanelle may provide clues about your baby’s development or health
That is why it's normal for your Maternal Child Health Nurse or Doctor to check the fontanelle during regular checkups. If they are worried that it is closing too early or late, or that it is sunken or bulging - they may send your infant to a GP or Paediatrician or to the hospital if they are really worried.
Your doctor will then check the fontanelle and feel the bones as well as measure your infant's head size ( head circumference). Be reassured that the vast majority of the time, it is normal and will need monitoring.
Dr Lexi Frydenberg is Parents You've Got This Pediatrician Expert. Lexi specialises in the care of children and their families from birth to eighteen.
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