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Is your toddler or baby hitting himself in the head? Relax; this is a common behavior and usually a normal developmental stage. We’ll discuss the most common reasons, what to do about it, and when to worry.

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Mom’s Question:
We are concerned that our 10-month-old baby is hitting himself in the head. It seems he does this when he gets excited. Our son would hit the right side of his head with his right hand and sometimes both sides with both hands. And it seems he is doing this more often now.

We’ve read many forums where other parents are experiencing the same thing. However, I have not seen what explains this behavior in these forums and if it is normal.

Should we be concerned? Is this normal behavior? What is the cause or explanation of this behavior?

Your advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you,
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Baby is Hitting Himself in the Head – Normal Or Not?

You’re completely right that this is common behavior, especially at around 1 year old. The behavior can start at early as around six months and continue until the child is a few years old.

There are a number of reasons why a baby might be hitting himself in the head, and it is completely normal.

Hitting themselves can also be a warning sign of developmental issues, and I’ll write more about that at the bottom of this article.

Normal Reasons Why a Baby is Hitting Himself in the Head

1. Frustration

Babies hit themselves, bite themselves, bang their heads against the wall or floor, etc. It looks awful, but it is usually their way of coping with frustration and anger.

Often, the baby does the same (hit or bite) their parents too when angry with them or even just for fun and to see the reaction.

This way of hitting themselves when frustrated is often seen in young toddlers trying to achieve something they find difficult – such as building a tower that falls down or putting on their trousers.

Dealing with negative emotions is hard for any person, and for babies and toddlers, of course, very hard. This is where toddler tantrums start, too – the child really wants something but is unable to manage it or is not allowed.

It’s tough to deal with strong emotions, whether you are a baby or an adult!

2. Excitement

Just like frustration and anger are strong emotions, so is excitement. Banging their head can be a child’s way of expressing excitement too. One of my children clearly did that, and obviously, your son too.

It is quite easy to relate to, don’t you think? Being very excited, hitting your head a little bit, clapping your hands, or jumping up and down.

Again, this is a sensory way of handling strong emotions and is completely normal. Older children and adults are more likely to clap their hands, dance, or cheer – because we’ve learned that these are normal and accepted ways to respond to excitement. Babies do what they feel like.

3. Pain-relief

Another possibility is pain-relief, so having his ears checked could be a good idea, even though you for sure can derive the behavior to the excitement, and he is showing no other signs of illness. I think you most likely have already identified the reason for his hitting.

But, since he hits himself in the head to relieve strong emotions, be on guard if he suddenly starts doing it more frequently or when you don’t think he is excited. Chances are that he would do it also because of, for example, ear or teething pain.

So what to do..?

Since you are quite convinced that your son’s behavior is related to excitement, you don’t have to worry. It is normal, and it passes. Since your boy is now ten months old, he is starting to understand words, and you can say “no” and gently stop him from hitting himself.

You can also show him how to “pat gently” or something like that with his hand.

But don’t make a lot of fuss about it – if your reactions are strong, or if he gets a lot of attention for this behavior, you might end up actually reinforcing it! So unless he seems to be hurting himself, try ignoring the behavior and focus on distracting him instead.

I’ve noticed, for example, that talking even to quite young babies (at around 1-1.5 years) in a very engaging way, confirming their feeling without judging, can really make them calmer. At least sometimes.

But again, any kind of positive distraction is usually the most effective way with young children if you want to reduce a certain behavior.

When Hitting Himself in the Head is a Warning Sign

While in most cases, this is just normal baby behavior, a baby hitting himself in the head can also be a reason for concern.

Hitting the head all through the day for no apparent reason and falling behind developmental milestones would be a reason for concern and should be discussed with a pediatrician, but that does not seem to be the case with your son.

Other signs of worry would be if he would hit his head very often, randomly, or if each time would continue for more than 15 minutes.

But again, how you describe it, I believe this to be normal. You can, of course, film one of the events and show a doctor, to ensure the behavior would be considered normal when seen. In such a case, taking notes on the frequency and length of the episodes can be a good idea.

But in conclusion, as described by you, I wouldn’t worry.

Your boy is learning how to deal with his emotions, which takes time. (A whole lifetime, really… ;-) ) Just make sure he doesn’t hurt himself or someone else. And don’t yell at him.

I hope this helps!

Parents, if your baby is hitting himself in the head, please leave a comment below!

More Discussions About Babies That Hit

Research References


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This Post Has 58 Comments

  1. Ellie

    Leaving my comment.

    My son is 14 months old and born at 30 weeks. He has been punching himself in the most often the right side and he throws his head again objects and us when we have him in our arms. He does it all the time, I’ve tried redirecting his behavior to clapping or being silly and it doesn’t help, it’s not one emotion related events it’s random. I’ve brought it to attention of our occupational therapist and speech therapist so we are observing for concern for possible medical opinions

    1. Paula @ easybabylife

      Thanks a lot for sharing your situation, Ellie! Very good that you contacted your therapists. Of course, sometimes slapping can be something to address to find the underlying cause.

      I wish you good luck! Keep us posted.

  2. Nicole Morel

    Hi, my 15 months baby boy also hits his head, but he when he does, he isnt playing or happy or frustrated, he does it when he is calm, and maybe away (in his thoughts maybe!). Thebpediatrician told me to take him to a neuropediatrician and I am having the appointment tomorrow. What do you think that couls be. He says mama, papa and tata so far.


    1. Paula Dennholt

      Hi Nicole, it could be some sort of self-soothing, but let’s wait and hear what the neuro pediatrician has to say. There are many aspects to consider, including developmental milestones, possible illnesses, etc. It is very good that you get to see a neuro pediatrician. Let us know what they say. I hope your baby is just fine.


  3. Raquel

    Hello. Can someone reply or help. My 20months old is also hitting his head when he can’t get what he wants or sometimes when someone is getting his toys or want to caught my attention. And there’s also a time in the middle of the night even when he is sleeping he suddenly hit his head?

    1. Paula Dennholt

      Hi Raquel,
      It sounds perfectly normal for a toddler to deal with frustration by hitting his head. :-) Doing it at night could be a way of putting himself back to sleep if he is on the verge of waking up. Or maybe he is dreaming. As long as he seems to be overall healthy and reaching his milestones, I wouldn’t worry. Try to distract him, and don’t make a big deal out of it. It will most likely pass.

      Best, Paula

      1. Stacey

        I am really struggling with my 20 month old with head banging, extremely hard slapping and punching himself in the sides of the face and now biting (I honestly taught that he was going to take a chunk out of my arm) this is ongoing since he was 7 months, as he gets older he is getting harder. He has a constant bump on his forehead, he has broken the skin too from headbanging. We are linked in with peads but appointments are so long between each one. Our last one being 3 months ago. I am a mum of 5 and I had 2 other boys that head banged but not to this extreme.

        1. Paula Dennholt

          Hi Stacey! This sounds really tough! Does he do it when upset, tired, excited, or randomly? If I were in your situation, I’d probably do anything I can to try to distract him before the situations occur (if possible), and try to get a new doctor’s appointment earlier. If he mainly bangs and bites when upset, try focusing on fun, distraction, and lots of outdoor play together and try to prevent the situations that make him upset. Easier said than done with a toddler, I know, but if you can see patterns of when he is the most likely to start headbanging, biting, etc., see if there is anything you can do to change those. If you want to brainstorm ideas, write back about when the banging occurs. Now, I assumed they were connected to him being upset because it is common, but kids can also have this behavior for other reasons. Good luck!

  4. Tiff

    My almost 8 month old has been doing this for the last 3 mos, usually while he is drinking from a bottle. The behavior stops when he is finished eating.

    1. Tammy Ortwein

      Same here, my 5 month old does it while eating the bottle. I believe it could be his teeth coming in.

  5. Jacquelyn

    My almost 1 year old has had a couple ear infections recently but just finished her antibiotics about 2 weeks ago. She’s hitting the side of her head repeatedly and pulling on her ear. I’m concerned because she’s also developmentally behind where she should be and I know you mentioned that to be an issue. Could that be related to her hitting her head?

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hi Jacquelyn,
      If the hitting started after the ear infections, it seems more likely to related them. Have you checked that her ears have healed? It is true that repetitive behavior sucj as hitting can be related to for example autism spectrum disorder, but this is something her doctor should assess. In what ways is she behind her milestones? Just behind a bit behind a milestone does necessarily mean that she has any more serious developmental delays.

      You can read about signs of autism in babies here.

      Good luck!

  6. Marva

    our baby is 10 months old and when she can’t get her hands to do what she wants them to do she either falls backward, hit herself in the head or hit you. Is this normal. I am very concerned as a retired teacher and a great grandmother. She can clap hands, shake her head no, say da da and ma,ma. I read to her all the time and say no when she does things like biting, hitting etc.

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      It sounds like a completely normal thing for a frustrated 10-month-old to do! Try to distract her instead of verbally correcting her when she starts acting out her frustrations. Verbal correction usually doesn’t work before the age of two. They may stop because you sound angry, for example, but they don’t really learn anything. So have fun with her, play games that help her develop the skills she works to hard to master and if possible distract her in some positive way before she gets too angry.

  7. Kayla

    Oh thank god, someone finally explained this to me. I wasn’t sure if this was normal or if I should be worried. My baby is 15 months and has started doing these things a couple months ago. He will intensionally bite himself and start crying then do it again!! And yep… he also smacks his head with one or two hands sometimes. Thanks for the explaination and how to handle it bc as a first time mom, it’s been frustrating.

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      I’m so glad you found it helpful! :-)

      xo, Paula

  8. Marja

    My 1 Year old son punches himself in the side of his Head and likes to slam his head against the wall repeatedly until I say stop or no.he also likes to pull his own hair. I’m getting concerned

  9. Karyl Martinez

    My 15 months old baby also do the same. Hitting/head banging, although not all the times but oftentimes. I feel worried about my baby boy regarding with this behavior but also hoping to have a positive result and feedback. Thank you!

  10. Kris

    My Son just turned 1year old last May 8, my concern is he keeps banging his head with his fist. At first he hits his head gently everytime we say no for a few seconds, it’s been a few weeks that he’s been doing this but now it keeps getting stronger, I can even hear the sound and feel the pain everytime I cover his head and he bangs my hand with his fist, when he realize it wasn’t his head got hit, he would hold my hand and throw it away to remove it from covering his head and continues to hit his head with his fists. At first we won’t show any reaction. We would just simply talk to him but then as time goes by we become worried and react to every time he hit his head. I’m worried and don’t know what to do. I planned to visit our pedia soon. But taking my chances to get answers here. Can you help me out?

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hi Kris,
      Unless your son is falling behind developmental milestones or appear to be ill and in pain, he is most likely just trying to cope with his own frustrations over your “no”. And since you write that his hitting mainly occurs in this type of interaction – he wants something and you say no – it is even more likely that his behavior is all about coping with frustration. This is normal at his age.

      Verbally correcting a 1 year old is pointless. You may scare him to stop whatever he is doing by raising your voice, but that won’t make him understand that something he is doing is wrong and should be avoided going forward.

      At his age, limiting your NOs as much as possible, to avoid these situations, as well as using positive distraction are usually the most effective. Also, don’t react to his banging. (I know it’s hard!)

      But think through if there are situations that you can avoid – I don’t know when you most often say no – but try to change the environment or what you do so you don’t have to say no. That way, he will get frustrated less often and the banging will become less of a habit. For example, if he tries to reach your food, give him some finger foods of his own and place your plate further away. Interact in fun ways at dinner table. (This was just to give an example.) If you have certain situations that come up repeatedly, you can write about them here and can come up with ideas together.

      And of course, bring it up with your pediatrician to rule out any developmental concerns or pain. But it does sound like normal baby/toddler behavior and will in such a case stop, probably within a year and maybe earlier if you use a combination of limiting the situations where this is likely to happen, positive distraction and no reactions. :-)

      Good luck!

  11. Mayank

    Hi my baby is 2 years old .
    He has development delay.
    Not gaining weight enough currently 12 kg. He has speech delay.
    Fussy in eating.
    And also in sleeping problem.
    And most important he is showing tantrum and hit himself from both hands on floor on the wall. And kickingboth legs to others whenever someone stops to do wrong thing. Then he doesn’t. Listen starting hitting crying.
    This happened most of time in a day but duration is up to 5 minutes but minimum 10 times a day.
    Doesn’t properly or say eats unwillingly.

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hi Mayank,
      I am sorry to hear about your child’s challenges. A lot of what you describe can, of course, be completely normal toddler behavior, but if he has different types of developmental delays, or if you are worried that he’s behavior are not normal, please contact a doctor asap. If he does have challenges, it is important that he gets help early. You can read about toddler development milestones here.

  12. Roxy

    My son hits his head with his left hand on his left side of head, and sometimes bangs his head forwards and backwards on walls, can this be a sign of a negative environment? Like someone screaming or yelling constantly?

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hi Roxy,
      It is hard to say why your son hits his head the way he does. Have you ruled out an ear infection, since he hits the left side of his head? Hitting their head or banging the head against e.g. the wall is quite common behavior for toddlers and it does not have to be a sign of an unhealthy environment. Young children may self-soothe or express frustration this way, and life is often quite frustrating for toddlers, who want and “know” so much, but don’t get their will through. So, no, banging the head is not typically a sign of a negative environment. That said, being raised in an environment where someone is screaming or yelling constantly, is, of course very stressful and not a healthy environment for anyone. If your child experiences this to a large extent, try to get help to improve the situation. Also, try to add calm and laughter to your child’s life to counterweigh the negativity even if you can’t solve the situation immediately. Playing, cuddling, and laughing is very healing!

      I wish you good luck,

  13. Cassidy

    My 1 year old will hit his head or me or try to bite others to get reactions. If we say no that hurt he will cry at us or just go play with a toy. When he is mad he will stomp his feet go in a circle and sit and start hitting his head screaming crying.

  14. April

    My 16 month old son been in foster care since he was 3 months old. Just a month or two ago he started slapping himself hard on the side of his head or the side of his face… He will pull his own hair hard as well or slam himself backwards against me if he’s sitting on my lap.. I’m very concerned… As well as he is neglected in foster care a lot. I’m not sure what’s going on but with my other kids, I raised at home and they never done this at that age.. I’m devastated..

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hi April, what a difficult situation! Your son’s behavior is quite normal for his age, but can, of course, also be a sign that something isn’t quite right. Would it be possible for you to discuss the behavior with his foster caretakers? You all have the same interest in your son feeling well and thriving.

      Check out this article that goes into greater detail on why babies hit themselves.

      Best of luck!

  15. Flome

    My 2 year old baby girl always banging her head on the floor or in our wall every time she can’t get what she want or she is frustrated with what simhe is playing. I am so worried about her behavior

  16. Daniela

    My 7 month old baby also hits himself in his head and I’ve been wondering if it is normal or something to be concerned about. This article has been very reassuring.

  17. Rayq

    1 major reason missed here is the fact a baby’s alignment may be out & why head banging occurs they’re naturally trying to fix it, take them to a chiropractor prior to being mis diagnosed

    1. Dr Gina Montion

      That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard! Has nothing to do with there body being out of alignment, you must be a chiropractor freak or a chiropractor yourself in hopes of getting more clients. Pathetic

  18. Monica

    My son hits himself in the head, pinches his cheeks and bangs his head on the floor or the stairs. He doesn’t when he is angry not when he is tired. It is kind of alarming. He doesn’t like to wear his helmet he screams and cries until we finally just take it off.

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hi Monica,
      YOu don’t mention how old your son is, but what you describe is pretty common toddler behavior. They know what they want, express it, and can’t really handle the strong emotions when not getting what they want. Remember to keep calm and avoid all unnecessary power struggles. Helmets are, of course, necessary, sometimes, so that’s one area where you probably have to just keep calm and keep it in until it’s not needed anymore. Your son doesn’t have to like it, he just has to wear it.

      If you find the tantrums hard to endure (a lot of us do!), here are two articles with tips on how to deal with them and how to minimize them.

      8 Things to Do Instead of Losing Temper with Your Toddler
      5 Powerful Parental Habits for Happy Kids with Self Worth!

      I hope it helps,

    2. Raya

      Have you taken him to a chiropractor to rule out any misalignment causing pain or discomfort?

  19. Nádia

    Hello, my 6 months old baby started hitting himself in head, I think he does this when he’s tired,when he’s falling asleep he does it as well he has 2 tooth out already.

  20. Brenda

    Glad I found these posts. However, my grandson just started hitting himself in the head the past couple weeks and he is 2 1/2 years old.

    Is this common for a 2 1/2-year-old as well or just for the 1 1/2-year-olds and younger? Seems to do it when he is tired or frustrated in trying to express himself verbally. I raised 3 of my own children and never had this issue so I found it quite alarming.

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hi Brenda,
      It is still very common up until around 4 years old or even to somewhere around the fifth birthday to have problems dealing with anger and frustration. And the two-three year old really are often the ones acting out the most.
      As I said in an earlier comment, try to avoid focusing on it and instead praise and acknowledge your grandson the second he stops with the behavior; that will help him get through this faster. Remember that he isn’t being mean or rude (or weird) he is just exploding in emotions and has not learned how to deal with his feelings yet.

      Make sure he is in a safe environment and can’t hurt himself. Stay with him, stay calm, and show him your love and appreciation every time he starts calming down.

      You can read more about why babies hit themselves here.

      Hope this helps,


  21. Ro

    Hi, our daughter (15 months) started hitting her head with right hand whenever she doesn’t like things, we try to chase her just to pull her sock up or lift her up from behind. She has been doing it for about a week now and it seems to us it occurs when she disagree with something.
    I must say it is not always, however it looks she’s doing it more and more often.
    Your advice would be much appreciated. I do understand all comments above but I haven’t come across anyone related to our babies behaviour.

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hi Ro,
      If you’ve nailed hitting down to situations when she is likely to be frustrated, then that’s most exactly what this is about! She doesn’t like the situation and she is using non-verbal communication and expression to deal with her frustration.

      I’m not surprised that you see the behavior more and more often – she is at an age of strong will and strong emotions. Just imagine being on the go exploring the world, and someone stops you, lifts you up, and puts socks on you that you didn’t ask for! No wonder she is expressing frustration! :-)

      Try to make as little fuss as possible about the behavior – otherwise she might increase the frequency because of the attention she gets! You can definitely try to validate her feelings, “I can see that you really don’t want those socks, right?” Or whatever the situation is, but also focus on fun and distraction. You can read about about that here.

      Good luck! Have fun with your little girl!

  22. Ishan

    I am so glad that i ended up no reading this post. I am really thankful for your question and thorough answer.
    My baby has just turned 10 and started doing this since few days and i was worried initially.
    His mom was getting impatient about it and was getting negative thoughts. i have explained this is common after reading this and she is relieved so is me.
    Our baby just hits on right head for like 2-3 times in one minute and then with force try to pull few hairs around the same time. Then we distract him and he forgets about it for like few hours and might do it again or not.
    Rest of the day is very playful and not concerned about it at all.

    The only unique behaviour which i saw is different from the post for our baby, is pulling hairs “like a small pull”, at the end of the banging on head with his right hand.

    I hope all other parents find this post and get relaxed. happy parenting !

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hi Ishan,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment! I am happy to hear that you found this post helpful and that you are able to distract your baby when he starts hitting his head. Distraction is the best strategy for our young ones!

      Best, Paula

  23. Alyssa

    My little boy is 1 year old this week and has just started doing this when hes frustrated, tired or bored. Im glad to read its quite normal

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      It is! I’m glad the post helped! :-)

  24. Kayla torres

    I’ve read your arrival and has really inspired me but I do have one other concern my son also smacks his head normally when he upset gets excited but also when he’s in bed and sometimes for no reason. He was born 2 months early but he’s catching up nicely he’s 2yrs old so I’m still a little concerned. Is there any possibility that my son might have an issue?

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hi Kayla,
      As I described in this article, babies and toddlers often do smack themselves out of excitement or frustration. But other reasons are common too – for example, self-soothing and being tired – or even when bored! You can read about these reasons in this article.

      It IS common for babies and toddlers to hit themselves, so in most cases, this is just a stage they go through and nothing to care about or try to “fix” at all.

      However, smacking themselves CAN be a sign of developmental issues or a hearing problem, for example. But in that case, there would be other signs too. (The article I linked to covers that too) Your son was born premature, but you say he is catching up, which sounds great! Is he communicating, and being social? Can he talk at least a little bit and understand what you say?

      If you are concerned about his development, don’t wait with consulting a doctor. Early intervention is extremely important to help children with any type of development challenges.

      In addition to that, just make sure to interact and have fun with your son as much as you can. A 2-year-old needs lots of interaction, they usually love contributing to the household if they are allowed, and they are quite able to finish small tasks too! My oldest was SO proud when he was allowed to take out the garbage! :-) He loved doing the dishes too – dressed just in his diapers, usually.

      Don’t make a big fuss about his head smacking, so you end up reinforcing it. Try to distract him in a positive way, with games, talking, singing, doing things together, having fun outside, and just enjoy your time together. (And check with a doctor to ease your worrying or get the help your son needs.)

      Good luck and let me know how things go!


  25. Gie

    My baby is 1 yr 2 mos old and still hitting his head, especially when he feels he did something bad or somebody is shouting at him. Somebody told me it’s not normal. I’m worried.

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hi Gie,
      This is a very common behavior, so don’t worry.

      Babies and young toddlers are learning to deal with their frustrations and they may hit themselves, bang their heads, even bite themselves. I’ve seen it in many babies and toddlers.

      Try to engage in your young toddler’s feelings, confirming them (“I can understand that you are angry”) and try to comfort him rather than getting upset about how the anger is expressed.

      Unless he risks really hurting himself or someone else, then you don’t have to focus on the behavior. If you want to make it stop faster, then rather focus on positive consequences the minute he stops with the behavior. Then pick him up, hug him, tell him what a big boy he is who can be angry without banging his head, etc.

      He might be a bit too young to understand that yet, but over then months to come reinforcing the positive behavior will be far more effective than trying to force him to stop.

      You mention that he does this when somebody is shouting at him. If this “somebody” is an adult, ask them to stop. Children younger than 2 years do not understand verbal correction very well, and especially not verbal correction that is shouted to them. It makes nothing to improve their behavior long-term, it only makes them scared.

      But above all – your baby is normal, so don’t worry!

  26. Concerned

    My son (5 mos) just started doing this within the last couple of days. He makes a fist and hits himself in the head repeatedly while trying to go to sleep. I was concerned also.

    I remember my nephew (now 3) banging his head on the bed to go to sleep, but the doctor said not to worry. I guess I am concerned that the behavior is actually painful.

    Reading some of the posts, I guess it is the same as pinching yourself to alleviate pain elsewhere in the body. I sure hope it passes.

  27. Brenda

    I was worried that one of my 10-month-old twins had a tick. He just started hitting his head with his hand and it’s usually as I am trying to get him to sleep whereas his brother sings himself to sleep.

  28. Stan

    Hi Arlyn, I am a father of 4 and I have dealt with this behavior before. If your baby plays peekaboo with you then you have nothing to worry about. It’s just the babies way of getting attention or their own way.

    Most would probably tell you to gently take the babies hand way and in a polite manner say no no. I disagree. I think the best thing to do is let it pass. Ignore it. The more attention you pay to it, the more your baby will use it to get what he/she wants.

    Remember babies are human and if they notice that something get them what they want then they will continue to use it. It’s a basic instinct of survival.

    If this is your first baby then take my advice and concentrate more on enjoying as much time as you can with your child especially if it’s going to be your last one.

    Hope this helps good luck.

  29. Gabby

    I think is normal my baby started doing that when he was 10 months old. He does it when he’s tired most of the time.

  30. Amy

    I have been searching everywhere to find an answer too… Thank you so much!!! I think my son is getting mad when I cook and he can’t see what I am doing…

  31. Danny

    My son just started this behavior on his 1st birthday as well. [Banging head on the floor and sometimes toys when frustrated or tired]. I don’t really think it’s anything major to worry about at this stage in their lives. It is disturbing to watch, but it seems to be fairly normal behavior. As mentioned above, I tell my wife all the time I think it’s very important to not give him a big overly-dramatic response to his actions or he will continue to do it, even more, on this basis alone. When he does it I generally just watch closely to make sure he’s not actually hurting himself,(which he only does very rarely and I think it’s on accident when he actually does), and very calmly tell him “no-no”, as to not give him an overly-exciting response. Sometimes, also I believe it has to do with his teeth cutting in. And of course, in that case, we give him something for it and it tends to help some.
    I truly believe he will grow out of it in a few months if we continue on this path, and he will find different ways to deal with his anger and frustrations. This is a time in their lives where much is changing and once they get settled in as toddlers they should stop.

    I hope this helps… and good luck with your little ones!

  32. Jess

    I’m so glad I found this! This is day #2 for me dealing with this new behavior. My son is 10 1/2 months and has started either banging his fists into his mouth or uses whatever object he has in his hand to bang into his mouth (even hitting his teeth). He does it when he is angry, which is every time I change him! I was about ready to cry this morning, telling my husband that I think our son has anger issues or something. I was racking my brain to think of how he possibly could have learned such an awful way to deal…thank God I don’t have to blame myself anymore! Glad to see that this is a normal stage. I don’t know if I should ignore it though, or try the calm soothing voice. It seems that when I try to calm him or give him kisses he gets angrier. I hope it passes soon though because it’s not easy to see him do this!!!

  33. Kate

    I am amazed this is so common, I have three children and it’s only my youngest(16 months)that is hitting himself in his head and just recently banging his head on things. It’s got to be natural to think something else more serious could be wrong but the only times he does it is when he wants to lead me somewhere and I try to redirect him and he gets mad. So I guess it is frustration or a tantrum.

  34. kmi

    When our middle child started banging his head into things we were alarmed but dismissed it as being somewhat normal phase, however it was actually the first sign of a disability (adhd and behavioral issues). He would bang his head in anger. Our baby now, 9 months is starting to hit his head too but it’s different, he does it for attention and will laugh normally, or when he doesn’t get his way… but our other son did it deliberate, hard, and repetitive. Like he was doing it for his own reasons and didn’t care about our reactions, the baby does it specifically for a response. You can definitely tell the difference. Hope that helps.

  35. Paula @easybabylife

    I’d say it is neither good nor bad – just pretty normal toddler behavior. Try to distract him. The behavior is likely to go away if he feels listened too, is distracted and you don’t focus on the behavior – in such case he gets a lot of attention for it and might continue with it longer.

    1. Ivy

      I have a son who turns 3 in less than a month. Up to this point we have had a lot of life changes and we have had a speech delay because of tubes needing to be put in. I can tell he gets frustrated a lot because he can’t get his point across and his tantrums are getting more and more Wild. He will scream when he doesn’t get his way, he doesn’t communicate well with a lot of people. He doesn’t seem to like change but doesn’t throw a temper tantrum over it. I feel like something could be wrong and people look at us like we’re crazy. I don’t know what to do I’ve been told not to worry about autism because he makes good eye contact and is affectionate but I don’t know