Is it normal for a baby to hit themselves in the head repeatedly when they are tired? Is this something I should be concerned about? The doctor said her ears are clear but he has no answer for why she hits herself like that.
Baby Hits Her Head When Tired – Reasons & What to Do
I have received this question several times from worried parents because it looks so odd when a baby hits their own head!
But even just judging for the number of questions and the huge number of comments, it is a common behavior.
You can check out these two Q&As on the same topic and read the comments. I am sure you will find it calming. :-)
4 Resons Why Babies Slap Their Heads
To answer your question – babies do hit their heads for several reasons.
One of the reasons is actually self-soothing, for example when tired. Some babies and older children too find the srythmic slapping soothing and it can actualy make them relax.
Another reason is pain relief, so it is great that you had your baby’s ear checked. I can imagine that any pain could become more apparent to the child when everything calms down and it is time to sleep. So hitting their head could be pain relief when they are tired.
Teething can also make a baby hit his or her head or face.
There can be developmental issues involved too, but in that case, you would definitely see other signs as well.
What to Do When Baby Hits Her Head
So what to do about it..?
Well, first of all, ruling out any physical pain or illness (like you just did) is a good start.
Secondly, you need to make sure your baby doesn’t really injure her or himself. This is usually not a problem, but for example, make sure the baby doesn’t have any heavy or sharp objects at times when he or she is likely to start the hitting.
Third, don’t react to it! If you start giving your baby a lot of attention when hitting, there is a significant risk that you will reinforce the behavior. Instead, ignore it as much as possible, and divert your baby’s attention to something else if the behavior disturbs you a lot or you are afraid that your baby can get hurt. Why not try a lullaby and cuddle, for example? Or patting the lovey?
But again, if it is just a matter of hitting the head relatively softly when tired, it is likely to be a self-soothing thing and really nothing to worry about.
I hope this helps,
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