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Why Does My Baby Hit Himself in the Head When Going to Sleep?

When bedtime comes around, the last thing you want to see is your baby hitting himself in the head. This behavior can be disconcerting for parents, leaving many wondering, “Why does my baby hit himself in the head when going to sleep?” In this article, we delve into the possible reasons for this behavior and provide some helpful strategies for managing it.

Understanding Why Your Baby Hits Himself in the Head When Going to Sleep

Babies have a range of habits, some of which can seem strange or worrisome to adults. Self-soothing behaviors like head-hitting are common among infants and toddlers. These actions, while sometimes startling to observe, can be a normal part of a child’s development. Understanding the causes can help you manage these behaviors more effectively.

Causes for Baby Hitting Head Before Sleep

  • Teething pain: Your baby might be hitting his head to distract himself from the discomfort of teething.
  • Self-soothing: Some babies find repetitive actions like head hitting soothing and use it as a way to fall asleep.
  • Attention-seeking: If this behavior is getting a lot of reaction, your baby might continue it to get your attention.
  • Developmental issues: Although less common, repetitive behaviors can occasionally indicate developmental issues. If you’re concerned, it’s always a good idea to consult a pediatrician.

Tips to Handle Your Baby Hitting Himself in the Head When Going to Sleep

Handling this behavior can be tricky, but here are some tips to help your little one find safer ways to self-soothe and settle down to sleep.

  • Distract your baby: Try soothing bedtime activities like reading a story or singing a lullaby.
  • Provide a comforting item: A soft toy or blanket can provide comfort and divert attention from head-hitting.
  • Ignore the behavior: If it’s attention-seeking, try not to react, as long as the baby is not hurting himself.
  • Consult a professional: If you’re worried or if the behavior persists, consult a healthcare professional.

Is it Normal for Babies to Hit Their Head While Falling Asleep?

The simple answer is: it’s not uncommon. Some infants develop certain self-soothing behaviors, which can involve rhythmic movements like head banging or hitting their heads on the crib. This often happens when they are settling themselves down to sleep. These behaviors usually diminish as the baby grows older.

Understanding Sleep Related Rhythmic Movement Disorder

What is Sleep Related Rhythmic Movement Disorder?

Sleep related rhythmic movement disorder is a condition that’s usually characterized by repeated body movements just before and during sleep. This may include head banging, rocking, rolling, or other similar behaviors.

What Causes Rhythmic Movement Disorder?

The exact cause of rhythmic movement disorder isn’t known. It’s thought to be a way for some children to self-soothe or help them transition from wakefulness to sleep.

An Example of Rhythmic Movement Disorder

A common example of rhythmic movement disorder is a baby rhythmically banging their head on the crib as they are falling asleep.

How Long Does Rhythmic Movement Disorder Last?

In most cases, rhythmic movement disorder decreases and eventually stops as the child grows older. Most children outgrow it by the age of 5.

Symptoms of Sleep Movement Disorder

Symptoms may include rhythmic head banging, body rocking, or rolling. The baby might also thrash about, flail their arms, or throw their legs up while sleeping.

When Should I Be Concerned About My Baby Hitting His Head?

While this behavior is often benign, it’s important to monitor it closely. If the behavior becomes more frequent, more violent, or continues past early childhood, it may be worth discussing with your pediatrician. Also, seek immediate medical attention if your baby displays signs of injury or distress following these episodes.

My Baby Won’t Stop Hitting His Head on the Crib. What Should I Do?

If your baby continues to hit their head on the crib, there are a few steps you can take:

  1. Ensure their crib is safe. This means all screws are tightened, the mattress fits snugly, and there are no loose items that could potentially cause injury.
  2. Create a soft barrier using mesh crib liners.
  3. Maintain a consistent sleep routine to help your baby settle.
  4. Consider seeking advice from a healthcare provider.

Could My Baby Have a Concussion from Hitting Head in Crib?

While it’s uncommon for a baby to sustain a concussion from hitting their head while in their crib, it’s not impossible. If your baby displays symptoms like excessive crying, dizziness, vomiting, or unconsciousness after hitting their head, seek medical attention immediately.

Could My Baby Be Showing Signs of Autism or Hyperekplexia?

Head banging can sometimes be associated with conditions like autism, but it’s important to remember that many babies who are not on the spectrum also exhibit this behavior. Autism has a range of symptoms and can’t be diagnosed based solely on head banging.

Hyperekplexia, a rare genetic disorder that causes an exaggerated startle response, is not typically associated with head banging. It’s more often characterized by a sudden, involuntary stiffening of the body, particularly when the baby is surprised or startled.

In all cases, if you’re concerned about your baby’s behavior or development, the best course of action is to consult a healthcare professional.

How Can Help

With resources like professional consultations and a wealth of information on child sleep patterns, can be your guide through the often confusing world of baby sleep. Whether your baby hits his head when going to sleep, struggles with night waking, or has trouble napping, our team of experts can provide advice and solutions tailored to your situation.

With, you can navigate the complexities of baby sleep with confidence, ensuring that both you and your little one can enjoy a restful night’s sleep.

Your baby hitting himself in the head when going to sleep can be a concerning sight, but remember, it’s usually a normal part of development. Stay calm, use our tips, and if needed, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. With the right approach, bedtime can become a peaceful experience for you and your baby.

Remember, at, we’re always here to assist with your baby sleep needs.

11 thoughts on “Why Does My Baby Hit Himself in the Head When Going to Sleep?”

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