What does it mean when your baby’s soft spot is pulsating?
The soft spot is rather fragile, and for most new moms who understand the need to protect this part of their child’s head, soft spot pulsating might raise a few concerns. This article will show you the things to look out for!
Before we get into why your baby’s soft spot might be pulsating, you’ll have to understand this part of your baby’s anatomy.
Your baby’s soft spots show where the skull has not closed completely at birth. These soft spots are called fontanels. It might interest you to know that your baby has one soft spot at the top of their head and another one at the back, making it two soft spots on one tiny head.
- Your baby’s brain will still grow after birth, so these spots allow for the brain to expand rapidly after they are born
- A baby’s head is able to pass through the birth canal because the soft spots make the skull flexible enough to mold and change shape as it navigates the tight birth canal
Sunken soft spot
If the soft spot is sunken, this could be a sign that the baby is dehydrated, so you should definitely take the baby to the doctor immediately for effective treatment.
Bulging soft spot
If you find that the baby’s fontanel bulges out, this could mean that there is a lot of pressure on the baby’s brain. This could become a life-threatening condition, so you definitely need to take the baby to the doctor.
Some babies would tilt their heads to one side frequently, and this could be as a result of an underlying problem. To rule out a muscular condition called torticollis, you should take the child to see a paediatrician. In most cases, this can be treated with physical therapy to stretch the muscles and help the baby change the position of their head without discomfort.
Fused head plates or craniosynostosis
In some very rare cases, a baby may develop craniosynostosis, a condition where two or more plates in the baby’s head fuse together. This can change the shape of the baby’s head because the brain is growing and disfiguring the baby’s head because of a lack of space. Medical experts will recommend surgery to separate the plates that had fused together.
Watching your baby’s soft spot throbbing in time to their heartbeat can be scary, but it is not always a sign that something is terribly wrong. Soft spot pulsating can even help you figure out what is going on with your baby health-wise.
- Your baby’s soft spot pulsating will end as your baby grows older and the spot closes
- The thick fibrous membranes form a protective layer to protect your baby’s growing brain, but everyone—including young children—should not handle the baby roughly or poke the soft spot
- Your baby’s soft spot will start to close at around 6 months and close completely at 18 months
- Your baby has two soft spots—one at the centre of the head and one at the back, so you should handle the whole head with care
- An indented soft spot could be a sign that the baby is dehydrated, while a protruding soft spot often indicates head injury. If you notice any of these, call your doctor immediately!
- Crying babies will usually have a bulging soft spot. So when your baby is crying or vomiting, their soft spot pulsating should not bother you too much.
- There are myths that some local ointments in Nigeria will stop soft spot pulsating. While no one has conducted researches to verify these claims, you should be patient and wait for the soft spots to close on their own.
The head is a very sensitive part of your baby’s body, and so, you should handle it with care. While the soft spot will close on its own without any problem, it is important to make sure nothing disturbs it. If you notice anything out of the ordinary about your baby’s fontanel, please take the baby to a doctor immediately!