Baby Fontanelle | When Does Anterior Fontanelle Close?

To understand how your baby maneuvers out of the pelvis, it’s helpful to learn more about the fetal skull. The bones of your baby’s skull are not fused. Alternatively, there are spaces between the bones. Seam lines on the skull show where these soft spots, called baby fontanelles, are located. These spaces provide the bones to overlap as the baby moves through the pelvis in late pregnancy and during labor.

Learn why baby fontanelles are important, how to care for them, when they close, and what to look for if you are more concerned about them.

I had earlier shared  Premature Infant  I hope you read the post.

When Does Anterior Fontanelle Close?
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Table of Contents

What are fontanelles?

A baby fontanelle is an opening in a baby’s skull where the bones have not but grown together. Although they should seem like undeveloped areas of the baby’s head, fontanelles are crucial for normal baby development. Therefore, they serve two important roles for your child.

Birth: 

By leaving the space for the bones of the skull to push during delivery, the fontanelles allow the baby’s head to fit through the narrow birth canal without damaging their brain.

Growth:

A baby’s head grows fast over the first two years than other times in their life. The spaces in the skull bones leave the room needed for the growth of the brain during this period of active growth.

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Types of fontanelles

People know about the soft spot on the top of a baby’s head, but it’s not the only one. A newborn baby has two fontanelles.

Anterior fontanelle: 

Fontanelle is found on the top of the baby’s head. This shaped fontanelle is the people know as “the soft spot.” It contains about 1-3 centimeters at birth but occurs larger or smaller.

Posterior fontanelle:

 This opening at the back of your baby’s head is triangular. It contains less than ½ centimeter at birth.

I also wrote a article: When to Deliver IUGR Baby?

When do fontanelles close?

The skull bones do not fully close through childhood because the brain still needs room to grow. However, once the bones rise to the point that they fill in the open spaces, the fontanelles are considered closed.

When does the anterior fontanelle close?

The anterior fontanelle closes sometime between 9 and 18 months. The joints and fontanelles are needed for the infant’s brain growth and development.

Baby fontanelles close in this order: 3 

  • Posterior: Between 1 and 2 months
  • Anterior: Between 9 and 18 months 

The listing above is a range of average closure times. Thus, a baby fontanelle can close earlier or later and still be normal.

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Caring for your baby's fontanelles

While caring for a baby’s fontanelles is not difficult, it does require understanding what’s normal and knowing what to watch for. Here are the things you should know. 

  • The baby’s fontanelles look flat against their head. They should not look swollen and sunken down into your child’s skull. 
  • When you move your fingers over the top of your child’s head, the soft spot should feel soft and flat with a slight down curve.
  • When your child is crying, lying down, or, vomiting the anterior fontanelle looks grown or like swelling. As long as it moves back to normal once the baby is calm, there is no cause for concern. 
  • You notice that the baby fontanelle seems to be pulsating in rhythm with the baby’s heartbeat. This is quite common.

Although the soft spot is a space of the baby’s skull bones, a membrane over the opening guards the soft tissue and the brain inside. So you can:

  • Touch the baby’s head, even on their soft spot
  • Wash their scalp and hair 
  • Use a baby brush on their hair  
  • Put on a charming headband 
  • Allow your other children to hold the baby (with supervision)

As with other aspects of caring for your child, make sure to handle your baby gently. With better practice, you’ll develop more confidence. As long as you don’t put pressure on the baby’s soft spot, you don’t need to worry that you’re hurting them.

You must read this article : 7 Stages Of Child Development.

Soft spot concerns

The baby fontanelles can give you hints about the child’s health. Here are what changes in their fontanelles could mean.

Sunken

Your child can become dehydrated if they: 

Dehydration in infants and young children is considered a medical emergency. Call the pediatrician right away if the child shows signs of dehydration and you notice that their fontanelles are sunken.

Bulging

A bulging baby fontanelle could mean there is a development of fluid or swelling in the brain. These are some serious conditions that need immediate medical treatment.

If you notice that the baby’s soft spot feels hard or is bulging, call the pediatrician.

Very Large

Your pediatrician will be watching your baby’s fontanelles in each checkup from birth until they are closed. So if you are worried about their size, be sure to voice the concerns.

Conclusion

Your doctor will check the baby’s fontanelles at birth. Monitoring will continue whenever a doctor or nurse examines your child, and you also check your baby’s soft spot at your home. While there isn’t something special you need to do to care for your baby fontanelles, it’s good to know a little about them.

Understanding why baby fontanelles are there and what they should look like can help you feel confident about caring for the child. If you have questions and are worried about the baby’s fontanelles, talk to your pediatrician.

Suggested read:  Down Syndrome.

Still have any questions about Disease Name baby fontanelles? Ask in the comments section!

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