All babies have a kind of opening or dent on top of the head. This is called the fontanelle. The fontanel of the baby has multiple functions. This makes the delivery a little easier and the brain of your baby gets room to grow. The fontanel of the baby seems very fragile, but it is well protected. So you can just touch it.
Read more about the fontanel here, when it grows and what it means when it is indented or dotted. You can also read how you can prevent distortion of the skull.
Fontanel of the baby what is it
The small dent on top of your baby's head is called the fontanelle. In fact, your baby has two: one on the head and one on the back of the head. However, the latter is so small that you probably can not feel it. You can feel the fontanel on top of the head. It has the shape of a diamond. The size can vary per child. In some babies it is 1 fingertip large, in others it is 4. The fontanel is a kind of hole or space between the skull parts.
Fontanel when close
The size of the fontanel differs per child. Some babies therefore have a larger fontanel. The larger the fontanel the longer it takes before it is closed. Usually the fontanel has grown between 12 and 18 months.
What do babies have a fontanel for?
The fontanelles have a very important function for your baby. This starts during birth. Because there is space between the skull parts, they can slide a little over each other. This makes the diameter of the head slightly narrower so that your baby can go through the birth canal more easily.
In fact, a vaginal birth is probably not even possible without the fontanelles! In addition, the fontanelles and therefore the spaces between the skull parts ensure that the brain of your little one can grow and it ensures that the skull grows nicely and well. This causes no skull abnormalities or a deformed head.
Fontanel baby closed too soon
In the first year of life, the fontanelle is still open. It then slowly grows close. If your baby is 1 year or 1.5 years old, the fontanel must be close. It can happen that it closes too soon. The fontanel has grown too early if it happens well before the first year of life. The clinic will keep an eye on this.
When they notice that it is already closed, it may be that you are referred to the pediatrician. A premature fontanel means that there is no room for the skull to grow. So a growth disorder arises. This is craniosynostosis called. In most cases it can be treated.
If you look closely you can see the fontanel move a little bit to the rhythm of your baby's heartbeat. That is very normal. In addition, the fontanel of the baby can dent or you see a convex fontanel.
It can dent if you keep the fontanel pressed. If you let go, it must spring back again. If you have not touched your baby's head but the fontanel has collapsed, it is a sign that your baby has dried out a bit. It is then important that you give your baby a drink. However, if it continues to collapse, please inform the doctor.
When the fontanel is curled up, your baby is busy with something. Such as pressing, chewing or crying. So there is nothing medical going on. But also for this applies: if it remains, switch on the doctor. It is possible that there is fluid retention, a bleeding or infection.
Fontanel baby bumped or fontanel baby dented
The fontanel of your baby can have a lot, so you do not have to worry if it has had a bump. The baby's fontanel looks like a hole and feels like a soft spot, but it is not quite that. It is not closed with a skull, but it is protected by subcutaneous connective tissue and a very strong brain membrane.
Do not worry yourself too much. If you really see that the fontanel is dented and dented, consult your doctor to be sure.
Prevent deformation of the skull
The skull is still deformable thanks to the baby's fontanel. It is possible that babies with a preferred posture on one side of the head are flatter. Medically nothing wrong with that, but some parents find this disfiguring.
With a side sleep pillow you can do something about the preferred posture.
Yet you have to be careful with a preferred attitude. In the long run it can increase the risk of distortion of the skull.
You can do this to prevent this:
- Let your baby lie on the belly as much as possible when he or she is awake. Always keep an eye on things. If your baby can not keep his head on, he or she is tired and it is time to lie on the back.
- Swap your arm when carrying or feeding your baby.
- If your baby has a preferential posture, think first of all what that comes through. Maybe your baby is happy with the head in a certain direction because he or she is in the direction of the window. Then turn the whole bed around every week so that your baby is on the other side. If this does not help, ask for help from a pediatric physiotherapist.
In any case, never put your baby on the belly, which increases the risk of cot death. Always on the back!
A side sleep pillow can work if your baby has a preferred posture.
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