My baby is 14 months old, soon to be 15 months, and he continually slaps himself on the side of his head. What could this be? Could he be sick?
LoriBaby Help Line:
Baby Hitting Head A Sign Of Illness?
When a baby slaps his head on the side continously, it might pay to get this checked out with your doctor. You didn’t say if it was just one side, but I wonder if he has an ear infection, or problems with a tooth coming in.
Some babies don’t cry unless pain is severe, but they are still annoyed by it and his hitting maybe trying to get the annoying feeling away or dull the pain he is feeling. My stepson had many ear infections as a baby, and never cried or seemed ill, but would rub his eyes. It took Mom and Dad several burst ear drums before they started to recognize the eye rubbing as a sign of an ear infection.
Babies can’t verbalize pain, or sometimes even locate it. So any repetitive unusual things like rubbing or hitting may well be showing you he is in pain.
There may be other reasons for a baby hitting his head too, such as anger or self-soothing. You can read more about babies that hit themselves, why and at what ages in this thread.
If you are sure your baby is not in any pain from infection or teething, and he has developed good social skills, such as eye contact and babbling, this is likely just a behaviour he is trying out. He will soon get bored with it, if you do not artificially reinforce his head-slapping by paying attention to it. However, if you have doubts about your baby’s social skills being in line with his age, be sure to discuss this with your paediatrician.
Hope it sorts itself out soon.
Enjoy your little boy,
(Answer approved by our Medical Reference Team)
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