I want to put this out there for any other mamas who might be going through what I recently went through. In short, here is the info I searched all over the internet to find: A bony head or noticeable ridges does not necessarily indicate craniosynostosis!
The full story: On September 25th I gave birth to a big 9lb 3oz baby boy after a very short labor at home. Five days later I took him to his first pediatrician appointment. He was weighed, measured etc. and the doctor agreed with the midwife that he was perfectly healthy.
A few days later, at just over a week old, I started to think that maybe his head didn’t look quite right. The bones seemed really prominent, much more so than I remember from my older daughter. I could easily see and feel a ridge along the middle of the top of his head running from front to back, and even along the back of his head running side to side. Of course I know that there is a lot of variation in baby heads and it is common for heads to be misshapen, particularly in the first day or two after birth, but at two weeks old these features seemed even more obviously apparent. I wondered if they were normal and started googling.
If you search “bony head, newborn” or “newborn head ridge”, essentially the only thing that comes up is Craniosynostosis. It refers to a situation where the various bones in the infant head fuse prematurely. With the bones fused, the brain cannot grow properly. This leads to all kinds of problems including facial deformities, vision and hearing problems, as well as developmental delays. It’s rare, only 1 in 2000 babies are afflicted. How bad it is depends on which of the bones – which sutures – are fused, but in most cases the treatment is surgery.
My husband thought I was just being a paranoid mama spending way too much time staring at his head, but I had become very worried. I did find one forum of others talking about the ridges on their baby’s head that the doctors had declared normal. Multiple parents on that one forum shared stories and even photos, but everything else I read pointed to craniosynostosis.
The only thing (besides that forum) that gave me hope that he was fine was that applying gentle pressure to the edge of the bones made them move independently. The ridge also changed based on which side he was laying on. It didn’t seem like one ridge down the center but more that one bone would be higher than the other and sort of stick up along the suture, causing the appearance of a ridge. Those observations made me think the suture couldn’t be fused. Nevertheless, I couldn’t find anything on the Internet to convince me that ridges were ok and normal at 1 month old.
I was worried, and since by then we were back home in Pavones (a 6 hour drive from our doctor in the capital of San Jose, Costa Rica) I sent pictures to our pediatrician to ask his opinion.
The pediatrician responded that his head looked perfectly normal. But when I sent the same pictures to our midwife who happens to be married to a neurosurgeon, her husband thought it did look like he could have craniosynotosis of the sagital suture. He recommended we take our son to a pediatric neurosurgeon and gave us the contact information for a friend of his.
Based on what the pediatrician had said, I had relaxed into thinking my husband was right and I was over thinking it, but now a neurosurgeon thought I might be right about the craniosynotosis! I called the pediatric neurosurgeon immediately but we couldn’t get an appointment for 10 days. I spent that time spiraling deeper down the freaked-out Google wormhole reading the same information over and over on different sites, and basically becoming an expert on the condition, the diagnosis and treatment. I convinced myself that based on the presence of the ridges he was definitely going to need surgery.
I finally got my husband concerned enough to start doing his own research. We reached out to what seemed to be the best treatment center in the US, whose doctors had pioneered a less invasive surgery technique and claim to treat more cases than anyone else. They were very helpful and suggested we send in photos of specific views of the head for an initial opinion.
Before hearing back from them we also reached out to a specialist in Los Angeles who also asked for photos.
Amazingly to me, both responded that the photos looked normal. Big *sigh* of relief, but what about those ridges? I was not going to feel true relief until someone who knew what they were doing got their hands on his head and felt what I was feeling.
On the day of the appointment I was so excited to get some answers but was also very nervous about what the answers would be. Soleo and I left the house at 4am, to get on a small plane for the city. At the Hospital Catolica we got 2 xray views of his head as recommended by the doctor. I seriously wish I’d posed for a picture with the doctor, especially now that I’m writing this post. He was 60ish, with an earring, a red bow tie, gold cufflinks in his button-up shirt, and a super cute vintage leather doctor’s satchel. Very stylish, but more importantly he was very friendly and patient. He listened to my concerns, felt Soleo’s head, examined the xrays and told me his head looked perfectly normal. I was skeptical and bombarded him with questions – “What about those ridges? Are you sure? How can you be sure? So, what if he wasn’t born with it, do the ridges mean the sutures are trying to fuse now?”
The xrays showed gaps between the sutures to assure me that they are not currently fused. He explained the ridges by saying that since he was born with a very big head – 38cm at birth (39cm by 1 month old), that the sutures had been forced to overlap during birth and he simply needed to grow into his head. Over the next few months the brain will expand causing the bones to move and flatten out.
“Nothing to worry about, he’s a very pretty baby. I don’t think you need to schedule an appointment for another checkup, but if you need more reassurance, feel free to send me photos in a few months.”
Another bit of info that I never found during my google searching but that the doctor confirmed is that if they have it, they are almost always born with the condition. Only in incredibly rare situations, involving certain other conditions like swelling in the brain requiring a shunt, would the plates fuse after birth.
So, in our case, Soleo is fine and we are relieved. He’s just got a bony head and my husband has jokingly started calling him “ruffles” as in “ruffles have ridges”.
I wanted to follow up on the above story and say that Soleo is now 6 months old and his ridges are completely gone. He has grown into his head and several people who have met him have commented on his “great head” shape.
74 thoughts on “Infant Head Ridges Not Necessarily Craniosynostosis”
Thank you so much!!! I’ve been googling like crazy because my 2 month old has these same ridges. His head is otherwise normal (shape wise). The pediatrician wants to see us again at 3 months to check his head again, and I’ve been so paranoid. It’s good to hear a story where it turned out to be normal. I can sleep better now !
Im so glad I could help as I went through that same struggle. He is now 5 months old and the ridges are way less noticeable! check out my instagram feed @salt_water_mama to see photos. I couldnt figure out how to attach one here.
If your son has a normal shaped head, you don’t have anything to worry about!
As a nurse I know what to look for….but it is always different when you are dealing with your own kids. Thanks for the help. When I searched for a prominent sagittal suture all that came up was craniosytosis. It was good to see someone else’s experience with almost exact same thing. Whew. You should make a place to share pictures. Then we can all stop worrying about our baby’s bumpy heads 😊
Thank you! As i was reading it felt like you were describing exactly what is happening in my life right now.
My son 2 months old has a ridge at the sagittal suture.
I will anyway ask for the opinion of a specialist (my normal pediatrician said there is nothing to worry) but you lifted a huge amount of stress of my shoulders lady.. 🙂
Wow! I am very relieved to read this I had trouble concerning it, I thought maybe my daughter is not normal. Thanks so much for this valid information 😃😃!
Thank you! I as obviously many others have had the same concerns for my child. The more difficult part is that the palm of my hands and fingers have been somewhat numb since delivery. Only thing is that he’s been well at all well baby checks so I could only hope that it wasn’t a problem that the doctors had missed. I appreciate your share and I’ll relax a bit until next baby appointment. Thanks and yes you do have a very pretty baby. Congratulations.
Has your son’s ridges resolved now? My daughter is 2 months old and her head looks exactly like the pics you posted! Her head is growing appropriately on the growth chart and fontanelle is normal so we have not done any referral or imaging and just wondering what to expect about when this would resolve. Your blog is the only thing I have found on the Internet that does not suggest craniosynostosis! Thanks for posting!!
yes the ridges are mostly gone! he is almost 8 months now and the only ridge still slightly visible is the occipital ridge along the back of the head and I can just barely feel it.
I’m so glad you found my post reassuring!
you can view recent pics on my instagram @salt_water_mama
Hey my baby’s head shape is very strange from back. His head is quite pointy from back I am so worried. What should I do for him. According to the doctor he is normal. He is 3 month old.
I’m sorry to hear that and I know what you’re going through. I’ve learned that there is a wide range of head shapes that are considered normal and the strange shape you’re seeing will probably even out as your baby gets bigger. If your doctor thinks it’s ok, i would try not to worry. But if you can’t stop worrying about it, see a different doctor for another opinion. Good luck!
I really needed to read this. The doctor and paediatrician couldn’t find my daughters soft spot when she was born and we had to be referred to the registrar who said he could feel it but only very small. My daughter had ridges exactly like this / still does (10.5 weeks old) we went private and saw a neurologist and she had no concerns other than the size of her head (90th percentile) but I still am worried due to the ridge on the back of her head. I’m in a big Google worm hole and ALL I keep seeing is Craniosynostosis so I was freaking out! This has really helped me so thank you! I will definitely be monitoring it but it is so good to know your little one was okay and the ridges went!
My son has those ridges at the sides of his head. I am so worried but reading this post slightly calms while waiting for his appointment with his paeditrician
Thank you Momma! I’ve been googling everything related to ridges driving myself crazy!
9 weeks old with a tiny soft spot and visible ridges, 100% percentile for height, weight & head… here’s hoping he just needs to finish growing into his huge head 🙂
Glad to help. My little guy was in the 95th% on head size and height too. He is 8 months old now and has definitely grown into his head, the ridges are gone. Cuddle that little guy, he’ll grow fast!
Thank you so much holly beck! Our son is 1 month old and we have been worried sick. Same here 50 percentile in head, ridges, with perfect health. If you don’t me asking would you be willing to call my wife and give us some information about the neuro you used and what not? Thank you for this maybe dad can sleep better.
Thank you for posting your story! It can be so easy to spiral out of peace when you notice something off and start looking on the internet. I’m sincerely sorry you and Soleo had those stressful times, but very thankful you shared.
THANK YOU for posting this! My daughter is 1 month old and my concern began at 2 weeks old when I noticed her head has some ridges along the plates and her occipital bone stuck out a little bit… but her face has remained completely normal. I terrified myself reading what’s online and went to two pediatricians who both told me they thought her head was fine. The panic definitely set in after googling and I scheduled an appt with a specialist who doesn’t have openings for two weeks! Your article saved me from spending two weeks worrying myself sick. I completely related to you saying it feels like the plates are just overlapping bc one side feels higher than the other when I press lightly. I’m also glad to know that doctor told you the fusion almost always happens before birth, I haven’t read that anywhere!
Thank you again from a very worried and sleepless mama. I’m glad to know there are other possibilities! I’m praying the specialist tells me what they told you.
I understand your stress but if you feel movement between the plates she should be fine. Good luck!
Thank you so much for spreading your experience! I’ve been worried sick about my boys! My almost 6 months old still has the ridge on top of the head. Was born with a big head (37.5cm) and we have seen craniospecialist 2x and both times he just brushed us off with a smile on his face! That makes me feel good of course! But still the mother worrier instinct is active and am wondering why is the ridge still there? I read everywhere that they are gone by 6months or so.
My oldest boy (2 years) has a prominent ridge on metopic and some bumps over coronals on top of his head. Keeps me worried but craniospecialist dismissed even without touching his head.
Both, our pediatrician and craniospecialist just seem so chill about babies and toddlers with bumpy heads!
Thank you. So so so very much. I have been slightly freaking out but my story is identical to yours and my infant’s head looks exactly like your son’s head. The midwife and craniosacral therapist have both said his head looks normal but it just looks so different from my other son’s. Also, I have never seen this before on another baby. I am e trembly grateful to you for posting.
Just want to follow up with this post. I saw a different craniosacral therapist and after one treatment my son’s head was SO much better. The two plates on top ‘relaxed’. I highly recommend all of you to do the same.
Just an update on my previous comment since it seems like a lot of us are in the same boat with these symptoms: I went to the craniofacial specialist and he said he did not think she had craniosynostosis. In his opinion, the ridging is due to overlapping skull plates rather than fused sutures. My daughter also had a big head at birth and her ridges look identical to those posted in this blog. He said her skull is slightly elongated but it is not narrow, which would be characteristic of craniosynostosis and no frontal bossing. He said he couldn’t be 100% definitive unless we did a CT scan but he said he didn’t think there was enough concern to warrant a scan and expose her to the radiation. He said he’d just follow up with us when she is three months to be certain head growth continues to be on track.
He also said to please stay away from Dr. Google on this issue! So true. I wish the internet provided more information about babies with skull ridging that didn’t immediately make parents fear the worst. Again, your post has been really helpful! Thank you!
Quick question if you don’t mind: Do you remember at what month your son’s sagittal ridge starting to smooth out?
I’m so glad you found the post helpful. Honestly, I dont remember at what point the ridges smoothed out. It was a gradual process. I’d say by 3-4 months they were gone.
Im sure yours will be fine as well!
Thank you so much mama! Sometimes Google is foe, not friend ( especially at 2 AM). I just noticed my four week old son’s coronal ridges sticking out. I will follow up with the pediatrician, and will hold off booking a flight to the Mayo clinic for surgery. Your detailed description of your experience, both medical and emotional, really helped to calm me down. I wish there was more of this on the Internet. Thank you again!
Update: Now our son is 10 weeks old, and the pediatrician says his head is perfectly fine… Just bumpy. Hang in there, worried mamas!
Took my 2 1/2 month old to a craniosacral therapist- she got rid of the ridge over the top of his head after the first app. His head is still bony on the sides but she told me she won’t fix that…so that was my third time going and he is 4 months old.
Great thank you! My girl is 10.5 months just diagnosed hypermobile and was born with the same head ridges so mentioned to doc today and he said head was fused. But all normal. I was just revisiting spme reasearch and came across this. Thank you for sharing your experience!
OMG thanks! I noticed the ridges the day after I had my son, and asked the pediatrician and he said they were normal, 6 weeks after I am left wondering if in fact they are normal or not? Ur post helped put my mind at ease and it’s exactly what the pediatrician told me when he was born. 🙂
Thanks so much for this post! Like everyone else I was spiralling. The doc brushed off my concern without really looking at my son’s head, so I have been worrying extra for the past month. I’ll keep monitoring it, but it is wonderful to hear an alternate diagnosis from everything else I’ve found!
My baby boy is 50 days old he also have trigoncephaly shaped head a bone is visible at the mid of forhead please guide me what should i do i am very worried about this
I’m sorry you’re worried but i understand the feeling. One thing you can do is send a photo of your son’s head to this place: http://www.craniosynostosis.net/
they will give you a free online first opinion. when we sent photos they told me my son looked fine. if they think there might be a chance your son needs a hands on appointment to check, they’ll let you know. good luck!
Thank you for your post! I am dealing with this in our 3 month old baby girl. How do you feel for movement without hurting the soft spot?
Have you taken your 3 month old to the doctor? I feel like by 3 months my son’s head ridges looked a lot better, but it’s hard to remember. Don’t push into the soft spot, but push along the edge of the ridge. Good luck!
Thank you so much for sharing your story! My son is 7 month-old and I noticed the ridge since he was 4 month but he was fine when he was born. I am so worried about him now because the ridge is more obvious than before although my pediatrician said it’s fine. Btw, his soft spot is still obvious. It really drives me crazy! Should I contact the craniospecialist and get him examined…
thanks for your message. My advice would be to trust your pediatrician. That said, if it is actually driving you crazy then peace of mind is worth contacting a specialist!
Grest post. Many thanks ..
Hi glad all is well and just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. I’ve just had the second of 2 boys. Our first had a perfectly round head from the minute he was born so he was no worry. But my almost 4 week old has had me worried as he was born with a very prominent ridge and almost long shaped head. I had asked various people who had all said completely normal and even what a lovely shape head. But never quite believed the answer. To me all I could see was the suture ridge!! His head is now starting to round out. So I had just ventured to look it up and found your story which has really put my mind at rest now. Thanks again for sharing and putting a sleep deprived exhausted mummys mind at ease!!xxx
Sometimes you need to hear things from another mummy to believe it!!xxx
Thank you for this! My 4 week olds head looks identical like exactly like yours did. This helped me slow down on the google train. He does have a big head in 80 percentile, they didntbsay anything at his appt last week and i didnt think to ask at the time. Inthink ill wait til 2 month appt and try not to worry til then
I’m glad the post helped. I’m sure he’s fine!
Thank you for the post. My son has ridges too at the back of his head and i have an appointment with the pediatric neurosurgeon in 2 days. I hope all will be fine. Your posts gave me courage.
I am so relieved to have read this, as a young first time mum the last week has been stressful, although my son is 6 months old there has been no concern raised regarding his skull until last week he was unwell in hospital and the paediatrician became concerned and referred us to X-rays which are tomorrow, my son was born with the exact same ridges as your daughter but was told at birth it’s normal and it will go away, I’m hoping it’s all ok and your article has given me that little bit of hope so thank you 🙂
One more reader grateful for your blog post! My fifth kid and the first one with these ridges! Thanks for letting me know it’s just normal big-head stuff :). They always keep you on your toes, don’t they?
Thank you so much for this. Although i found it after searching pages and pages of google i am so grateful for finding this page. I was so worried about my sons ridges i was in tears. I thought the only answer would be finding a nuerosurgeon and accepting surgery. Thank you thank you, a million times thank you.
Thank you so much! The pediatrician mentioned the suture ridges my 8 week old has in passing, and I’ve been worried sick after innocently googling today and going down the rabbit hole. Thank you for your story!!
Thank You For This!!!!
Thank you so much for giving such a detailed and well-written account of this. We are in the same boat following up with the ridges but your post has helped me to understand this better.
Thanks again for taking the time to put your story out x
Thank you so much for this! I have been worried about my 5 week old, his shape seems ok to me but those ridges! I needed to read this, my son was also born with a pretty big head so it all makes sense. I will probably mention it at his 2 month well child exam but I’m definitely more at ease now!
Thank you so much for sharing this! At my son’s 2 month check up, the pediatrician pointed out the ridges and said she needed to see him at 3 months. I, too, started researching everywhere I could to try to understand better what may be happening. I’m hopeful now that he will not need surgery!
I am so grateful for your information! I have been really upset after googling. I feel way better and I think I will be a lot more calm until I can get my daughter to a doctor.
Thank you for sharing. you were on my first google search as I have the exact same questions about my son’d ridges! His head looks so big! I can get through the next week before my next pediatric appointment now!
Thank you very much. As a “paranoid mom” I have searched this ridges a lot. Same as you, I found only craniositosis information. The article you write helped me a lot. Have a good life ❤️
Thank you for sharing this message, been googling and searchIng infos about head ridges,as I have the exact same questions about my son’d ridges! I gave birth December 26-2019 by C-secrion and by the time I saw my baby his head got my attention. Was so worry I keep asking all the pediatricians ,surgeons and nurses and they answered the baby is healthy and about the head its perfectly normal and nothing to worry but since I search about the craniosynostosis makes me feel so paranoid and worry. But thank you for sharing your experience.. hoping after few months his head will be normal. Thank you and Happy New Year..
Hello,…mama…is yor baby is fine now..??….coz even m suffering from the same situation…even I delivered my baby through c section..0b 11th of November…n after few days j started noticing d ridge….dr said it’s all normal..bt after googling..I got worried.. tht my baby might be suffering from craniosynostosis…plz reply
You can ask them to do a x-ray if you need more assurance
My son is 8 months now we started seeing ridges like
your son’s when he was a few weeks old. He still has on individual the middle of his skull hard ridge running from his soft spot back about an inch or so.
I am always worried about it, but his PRD says he is beautiful and every complements his head shape. However i’m just still a worry wart over here.
Did you ever find out anything. My daughter is almost 11 months and still has metopic ridge. Not completely noticeable but towards top of head and towards soft spot is a lot more predominant.
Nope, my son is now 6 with a normal head. All good. I hope your daughter will be the same.
My one month baby was born with ridges
I love your story! It is very reassuring. I have one question – what was your baby head circumference at 10 months?
Unfortunately, I’m not sure! he’s 3.5 now. : )
I just realized that my baby doesn’t have craniosynostosis. Thank you! I was extra worried because I have a known risk factor ( hypothyroidism treated by Synthroid.) She was also a large baby born with a large head. Her plates move and she still has a soft spot. At five months she still has ridges but her doctor insists that she’s fine. I finally believe him. Come to think of it, she has the same head shape as her father. He also has palpable ridges in the front and a big forehead.
Woow great post. Same thing here. I have been googling nonstop but results are same as yours. Worrying like crazy. My baby head is 93rd percentile. She is 4months and your experience relieved me. Thanks so much!
Hi! Another freaked out google doctor mom here lol!
Your story just saved my heart about 10yrs of stress and worry lol! My son is 6 weeks old and I’ve noticed the ridges on both front sides, one side specifically where his forehead is a little bigger and had myself convinced he has CS and needed surgery for this! He was born 10lbs and his head was 38cm,39 at two weeks! I made him an appointment for tomorrow but praying he just needs to grow into his big head! Thank you so much!
Thank you, thank you, and thank you for this post. My 2 months old daughter also has ridges on the back of her head and the doctor took an x-ray and confirmed that the sutures are open. But she nevered assured me like the doctor you met that everything will be fine. She wants to see her in a month and wants the ridges to almost be gone by then.
Based on what I have read everything you said makes perfect sense. Thank you so much for sharing your story. God bless you and your little angel.
I’m writing this to give a peace of mind to all of you mamas who are going through this, here is my story.
Every since my daughter was born I noticed that she has prominent occipital bone on the back of her head. I could feel the ridges around it. It was completely sticking out. I brought it up at her 2wks check up, the doctors checked it and said it’s probably fine and will go back to place in a couple of months. I showed it to her pediatrician at 1 month and she suggested doing a x-ray to rule out craniosynostosis. They did the xray, but they couldn’t see the lambdoid sutures at the back of her head very well on the xray. so they suggested we wait to see if the ridges improve. at 2 months the ridges were still there, so we were referred to a craniosynostosis cosmetic surgen, who said we should do a CT scan to be able to see everything clearly. So we finally did the CT scan and the doctor called the next day and said all the sutures are open and she is just taking a little longer to push the occipital bone back in place and everything is fine.
So important points are,
1. a prominent occipital bone and ridges on the back of baby’s head, doesn’t automatically mean craniosynostosis, but definitely check with a doctor because in the smallest chance that it is, the sooner you know the better off you are and the easier the treatment will be.
2. A prominent occipital bone by itself is not a problem. The only thing that is important is making sure the sutures are open. there are variety of normal head shapes.
3. craniosynostosis is a birth defect. If the sutures are open when the baby is born, they will remain open for the right period of time. it’s not something that suddenly happens at 1 or 2 or 6 months.
Hope this has been helpful!
Thank you for your post. From one paranoid momma to another, I’m so grateful to find information that isn’t completely bleak! My baby girl is going on 10 weeks and while she’s had the ridge since birth, I’ve just started going down the rabbit hole and psyching myself out.
Quick question, and you may have already answered- but when did you notice the ridge start to disappear?
I’ve got an appointment with her pediatrician tomorrow, but they are probably getting tired of my anxiousness 😉
The ridge was slow to disappear. I don’t remember exactly when it happened. He’s 4 now and still has a super bony head!
I am also going through the same problem. My doughter is 4. During her birth I didnt observe oany ridge, but therewere almost no hair in the front half of her head during birth. The doctor told nothing to be worried. Then slowly hair started growing. After a year or so I found a ridge in the middle of the head. I showed to doctor. He told again nothing to worry. She is now 4. And the ridge is still there. Recovering very slowly. Also she is struggling to achieve all the milestones that she should reach at her age. Is it related to ridge? I recently consulted her pediatrician and she told its normal…I am hopeless and sometimes getting frustrated as not information is available on head skull ridge. Kindly help me if you have any suggestions .
Thank you for posting this! Literally the only thing I can find online that can assure me that my son’s head could be fine (before we can be seen again). I’ve had the paediatrician look at his head twice as well as multiple times by the midwife. My son is 5 weeks old and you can feel a very definitive ridge from the front to the back of his head. The paed has assured me both times that they are overlapping and not fused – but I can’t seem to stop myself from feeling his head and going down the Google rabbit hole every night. He wasn’t born with cranio or ever diagnosed so hopefully I can stop freaking out about it soon lol. Please tell me there was a time when you stopped obsessively touching your baby’s head to feel the ridge
Yes, eventually I trusted it was all good and it was. You will get there too!
Thank you so much for this post. Very helpful and reassuring. My 2 month old daughter has a prominent saggital ridge and I had convinced myself that she has cranio. I’m in the UK so asked for a referral to a craniofacial specialist so waiting for that appt now. Our GP wasn’t worried though. Her head shape is normal but I can’t move the ridge – I’m doing it so gently though so that might be the reason. Anyway, thanks again for giving some positivity to a very worrying Google search. So pleased your son is all good! It’s also nice to see all the comments as none of my friends have experienced the same thing! It’s nice to hear that I’m not alone!
Thank you so much for this post… I have been so worried about my son’s head shape with the prominent ridges, he’s only 6 weeks old. Couldn’t stop googling. I’m currently waiting for his appointment next week… I hope he has a positive outcome