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Your Baby Week Seventeen

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Updated July 16, 2014

4 of 6

Infant Q&A - Baby's Soft Spot
A gentle kiss or caress will not harm your baby's soft spot.

A gentle kiss or caress will not harm your baby's soft spot.

Photo © Marilyn Nieves

Q. When will my baby's soft spot close? Can I touch them?

Your baby's soft spot likely won't close until he is eighteen to twenty-four months old, although it can sometimes close as early as nine months.

Until then, it is fine to gently touch them when you wash your baby's head or caress your baby. The soft spots are actually covered by a thick membrane. So although there is no bone in that area yet, you won't do any harm if you are gentle. You shouldn't go out of your way to put direct pressure of push on your baby's soft spot though.

There are actually two soft spots. The larger one in the front of the babies head, the anterior fontanel, that most parents are familiar with, and a much smaller posterior fontanel. This smaller soft spot is near the back of your child's head and closes by the time your baby is six to eight weeks old.

Your pediatrician will check your baby's fontanels at his well child checkups, but if your are considered that they are staying open longer than they are supposed to or are closing too early, then be sure to ask about it.

Until they close, your baby's soft spot should appear flat and not sunken or bulging. A sunken soft spot can be a sign of dehydration, especially if your baby also has other symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and poor feeding, while a bulging soft spot can be a sign of meningitis or hydrocephalus.



Sources:

Behrman: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 17th ed.

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