by Steven Martinez Jazcquez
(Bayard, N.M. USA)
I’ve heard that if you pull a baby’s bottle out of his/her mouth directly and too fast that it can cause his/her fontanel to drop or cave in because of the suction. I’ve heard that when you pull a baby’s bottle out it should be gently and somewhat to the side so it breaks the seal of the suction and slightly opens the mouth therefore allowing the parent to pull the bottle out w/o the suction. Is this true?
The Mollera Caida (Sunken Fontanel) – An Interesting Folk Myth
What you are referring to is a Hispanic folk illness called Mollera Caida (or caida de la mollera) – “Sunken Fontanel”. While modern medicin stipulates that a sunken fontanel is an indication of dehydration, the Hispanic folk myth is that it is due to e.g. pulling the nipple out of a baby’s mouth too quickly.
Due to the completely different interpretations of the underlying causes, the remedies differ too. In modern medicin, we treat dehydration with liquid either by feeding the baby or in severe cases through a drip in her arm, or through tubes inserted into her nose, and of course by finding out and treating why a baby is dehydrated.
In traditional Mexican folk medicin, the treatment of Mollera Caida is pushing up on the inside of the palate, on the roof of the infant’s mouth. Other treatments include holding the baby upside down, sucking on the top of the fontanel with one’s mouth, or applying raw egg or oil to the fontanel. These traditional remedies are not likely to help the baby at all and might even dangerous.
Even if pulling out a nipple hard and quickly is likely to be uncomfortable for your child and hence should be avoided, it is very unlikely be the cause of a sunken fontanel. Instead, dehydration or other illness might be the cause and the baby should be examined by a pediatrician.
Hope this helps,
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