Watching Your Baby Banging Their Head, What Should You Do?

Watching Your Baby Banging Their Head, What Should You Do?

Proofing your house can be quite essential when you were expecting a baby. However, it can seem going down the drain the moment you saw your baby was head banging against toys or furniture. 

This can be frustrating and scary at the same time. After all, you have worked so hard to childproof your house and that’s never a small feat.

Some babies love to embrace their unusual head banging behaviour against the soft surfaces like mattresses etc.

However, there are some babies who love to take risks and bang their head against hard surfaces which can cause injury.

It can be extremely confusing for the parent but head banging can actually be categorised as something unusually normal. It’s ironic as it is.

Here’s why.

This is how a common head banging scenario looks like

head banging

It’s normal for a baby to commit head banging as a way of soothing themselves. 

This particular behaviour is quite prevalent when they are trying to sleep or before taking a short nap.

However, when discussing head banging, it can be frightening for the parents.

The first thought or question might be in line with brain damage which wasn’t the case.

They usually adopt this type of behaviour as early as 6 months old. Eventually, they will get over it when they are 3 to 5 years old.

Different children like to commit different styles of head banging. Some like to bang their heads against the pillow while lying facing down.

Others love to bang themselves when they are upright, like against the pillow or mattress or something.

This particular episode can last for up to 15 minutes though some might seem longer.

Causes of head banging in children

head banging

There might be fewer cases than what you would have expected when it comes to pinpoint why your baby likes to bang their head.

Let’s take a look at why they love to do so.

#1 It’s a condition! Sleep-related rhythmic movement disorder

For those who witness head banging, it might seem painful.

However, for the baby, this particular behaviour soothes them to sleep.

Sleep-related rhythmic movement disorder (RMD) is a repeated body movement which is typically seen in children.

This particular condition usually occurs when children are drowsy or while asleep.

Up until now, there is no known injury which is cause for a medical concern associated with RMD.

However, those head banging behaviour can be good for parents’ psychological health right?

I mean, sometimes, you may be startled at night when the sudden sound of banging wakes you up.

In terms of how detrimental it is, you shouldn’t worry too much.

#2 Some form of developmental irregularities

A child with autism is more likely to commit head banging than a normal infant. 

Some other conditions which are associated with neurological or psychological concerns might be too.

As a general rule, if the head banging typically occurs before sleep and your children are healthy, it’s more likely RMD.

However, if you are worried, don’t forget to tell your paediatrician during your next appointment visit.

They can carry out tests and physical examinations to determine if there are irregularities with your child head banging behaviour.

Responding to your children head banging behaviour

head banging
Positive joyful mom playing with baby daughter in bed. Mother and little child staying at home. Child care or quarantine concept

Watching your child bang themselves can be nerve-racking. There are a few ways to react to this unusual normal behaviour.

#1 Just ignore them

It might be easier said than done. 

However, you should note the risk of picking up and sleeping with your baby in your bed before they reach 1 year old.

As we’ve mentioned in the previous point, this particular behaviour will not last for long. 

Eventually, they will tune it down and get to sleep for real.

Ignoring should only be done if you know for sure there is no risk of harm for them. 

If they bang their head which can result in injury, you should adjust their sleeping arrangement as soon as you are able.

#2 Reposition their crib as you see fit

Some people might underestimate how loud the head banging can be when you are trying to sleep.

The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to move your baby’s crib away from the wall.

Unless you want the whole household to wake up every time your baby bangs themselves to the crib.

#3 Don’t forget to consider injury risk

You can place soft cushions upon your baby’s crib headboard to soften the “blow”.

Any risk which is associated with injuries and falling should be accessed and acted upon by the latest recommendation as you see fit.

For example, putting a cushion in your baby’s bed can help prevent injuries. 

However, The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) recommends only to do so when they are old enough (more than 1 year old).

This is to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

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