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What Your Baby's Bumbunan Says About Their Health

Medically reviewed by Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS · Pediatrics · Philippine Pediatric Society

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Aug 02, 2023

What Your Baby's Bumbunan Says About Their Health

As you gently run your hand over your baby’s head, you might notice some “soft spots” or gaps not covered by the skull. We refer to these spaces as fontanelles, and although they seem more delicate, experts assure us that they have enough protection for normal baby handling. Here’s what you need to know about the bumbunan ni baby.

Its purposes

The first thing you need to know about fontanelles is they are normal and crucial.

At one glance, it may seem like having spaces in the skull indicates that the skull didn’t develop completely. But, looking closely, a skull that completely closes while the baby is still in the womb is a huge problem.

You see, fontanelles have two crucial purposes:

  • During birth: The gaps in the skull allow the baby’s head to fit into the narrow birth canal.
  • For growth: Fontanelles leave room for the skull to accommodate the growing brain.

Babies have several fontanelles

The most prominent and observable soft spot is the one found on top of the newborn’s head (anterior), followed by the one at the back (posterior). But in total, babies have six fontanelles.

In this article, we’ll mostly talk about the anterior fontanelle.

Ang bumbunan ni baby is well-protected

While fontanelles seem less protected, they can handle usual baby care activities just fine. Even with these soft spots, please remember that you can:

  • Touch your baby’s head, including the soft spots
  • Wash their scalp and brush their hair
  • Have them wear a headband

It’s also helpful to know what a fontanelle normally looks like. The bumbunan ni baby typically looks flat against the head; when you touch it, you may feel a slight downward curve, but it shouldn’t feel sunken.

When the baby is lying down, crying, or vomiting, the soft spot may bulge a little. As long as it goes back to normal when the baby is upright and calm, there’s no need to worry.

Finally, feeling that fontanelles pulsate is completely normal.

Changes in fontanelles may indicate a health concern

Knowing how the bumbunan ni baby normally looks helps you identify when there’s a problem.

Below are the changes in the fontanelles and what they possibly mean:


If your baby’s bumbunan continues to appear bulging even when they are calm, it may signal a problem. Reports say a bulging soft spot may indicate increased fluid, swelling, or pressure in the brain.


While a slightly inward curve is normal, a sunken fontanelle is not. In many cases, a sunken soft spot indicates dehydration. Other symptoms of dehydration in babies include lack of tears when crying and fewer wet nappies.


Did your baby fall or bump their head on a hard surface? If that’s the case, a swollen fontanelle may indicate head trauma, especially when accompanied by vomiting.

Fontanelles that close earlier than expected

Each fontanelle closes in its own time. For instance, the fontanelle at the back of the head may close after two months. On the other hand, the one at the top of the head may close any time when the baby is 9 to 18 months old.

In case you don’t feel your baby’s bumbunan, don’t panic. Experts say that as long as the head is growing just fine, it might only mean that your baby has a “quiet” fontanelle.

To be on the safe side, bring them to the doctor. This is because cases where fontanelles close prematurely happen, and they might require surgical correction to ensure that the head will develop properly.

Fontanelles that don’t close as expected

While your baby’s bumbunan may close earlier or later than expected, you should still set an appointment with your doctor if the soft spot is still there after they turn one year old.

bumbunan ni baby

Key Takeaways

Fontanelles, or bumbunan ni baby, are normal and crucial for their growth. Normally,  soft spots look and feel flat with a slight inward curve. If you notice changes in its appearance, bring your baby to the doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Learn more about Baby Care here. 


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS

Pediatrics · Philippine Pediatric Society

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Aug 02, 2023

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