Baby Pats/Hits Head When Feeding

Updated on October 16, 2008
R.M. asks from Mesa, AZ
28 answers

I am wondering if there are other parents out there that have expeienced this, but my little 7 month old hits her head with her hand when she nurses. This only happens when she nurses. It is not hard or anything, its just weird that she does it and we do not know why and have not found any other info on the internet and were wondering if this is a natural thing or if this is something we should look out for. Anyone else dealt with this?

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your responses. It was actually my dear husband who posted this question, because we were talking about it that morning. :)
As one of you mentioned, she also has started pinching and/or scratching me while nursing, and she also sometimes scratches the furniture we're sitting on! How funny.
Again, thank you all. I'm glad it is normal.

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L.C.

answers from San Francisco on

My 9 month old does this too. She extends her affection to herself when she's happy/proud of feeding herself. The petting, or patting becomes less funny looking when they become more coordinated.

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K.H.

answers from Albuquerque on

Just be careful what kind of cheap plastic beads they are. If they are made in China I would not buy it. I believe all their toys especially the cheap ones like the ones in gumball machines are poisonous. My husband has been saying this for over 15 yrs when he was only 23 yrs. old and now you hear about it on the news. No wonder Americans have joint diseases and other cancers. I believe this is from lead toys and all toys made in China. Now they are saying cell phones are going to be the number one cause of brain cancer. That's why I tell my friends who are breast feeding to not talk on phone while breast feeding. Good luck.

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A.S.

answers from Davenport on

My son is 10 1/2 months old and does some what the same thing. He will either put his finger in his ear or rub his thumb back and forth over his head. I never looked into it, but I just took it as the "thing" he does to soothe himself to sleep. He now takes his little stuffed Tigger and brushes the tail over his face when he is falling asleep too. He has been doing this for a while now.

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M.F.

answers from Modesto on

One of my twin's does the same thing! THey are 9 months old. The other twin does not slap himself at all. Basically Isaac takes his hand and slaps the side and top of his head and sometimes he slaps me in the chest. My older son used to also pull his hair when he nursed at that age. I think they are just trying out new sensations or looking for comforting techniques even though it doesn't seem very comforting! Maybe teething? In any case my older son is perfectly fine despite the hair pulling and slapping.

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S.B.

answers from Redding on

Dear R.,
I don't think you have anything to worry about. It is your baby's weird way of comforting herself.
I know someone whose little boy rubs his ear when he nurses. My own daughter sucked her thumb and rubbed her elbow with her other hand.
Talk about self soothing!
I always rubbed my son's head and ran my fingers through his hair when he nursed. He just turned 13 and still loves getting his head rubbed.
If "hitting" her head upsets you, try rubbing it instead or holding her hand and massaging her fingers.
She seems to associate patting her head with happy nursing time. I don't think it's anything to worry about.

Best of wishes! Enjoy your little baby!

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T.R.

answers from San Francisco on

hey R.! :)

my son does did this too. he's grown out of it, but i think it's a way for them to calm themselves down into nursing...it's a kind of comfort/get all the energy out to relax thing. i wouldn't worry at all, but itf she starts to hit hard or hurt herself, work on "gentle touches"...she's only 7 months so it will probably take a while to teach that one :)

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L.C.

answers from San Francisco on

My 9 month old does this too. She extends her affection to herself when she's happy/proud of feeding herself. The petting, or patting becomes less funny looking when they become more coordinated.

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C.C.

answers from Fresno on

Your post brings back memories for me! My older daughter would hold/tug on her ear when nursing. I always thought it was the strangest thing, but our pediatrician said it was normal. Eventually she grew out of it. My younger daughter insisted on squeezing my chest (hard!) with her tiny little fist while nursing, and I wished that she would just hold her own ear like her sister had done! =)

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R.R.

answers from Sacramento on

Our now three-yr old used to do the very same thing. I was so perplexed, especially since his older brother never did it. Oddly enough, it seemed to be some sort of self-soothing move on is part, seriously. It was almost like an "aaaah" response. It did go away all on its own but I did find myself saying things to him when he did it, like "Sweetie, you don't need to hit your head, you can hold mommie's hand", etc -- and usually he would push away my hand, or shake his head "No", especially as he got older. I eventually had to giggle about it and he would grin at me like he knew it was funny too. And, believe it or not, I'd mostly forgotten about until I saw your question! But all traces of this disappeared after many, many months - possibly a full year, so hang in there.

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B.S.

answers from Sacramento on

Your post brought back wonderful memories for me as well, I think she is so happy she is loving herself as she is all safe and snuggled in her happiest spot on earth. My daughter used to pat me - and as she got older would just squeal with delight as she nursed...Enjoy this wonderful magical time...

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J.J.

answers from San Angelo on

I wouldn't worry about it, my 9 month daughter does the same thing. Sometimes she pats me, sometimes her own head. Usually it is her own head when she's almost asleep, weird huh. Anyway, we never figured out why she does it either, isn't it interesting what they pick up? If you ever find out what causes it, let me know. But I wouldn't worry. Good luck!

J.

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J.C.

answers from Sacramento on

My niece used to pinch her mom's breast while feeding and my sis in law could not get her to stop and it hurt! She outgrew it. It was just a habit, or comforting or something. She is bright and wonderful and 2 years old now. Nothing odd about her. It is probably the same kind of thing and I wouldn't worry about it.

Little one's do the strangest things just to stress us out!!! Just the first of many things to worry about!!!!

J.

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D.G.

answers from Washington DC on

Put a sock on her hand. Worked for me.

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M.R.

answers from Pensacola on

My daughter (now 22) did this and also curled her hair around her finger. At 22 she continues to curl her finger around her hair when she is concentrating on something or nervous.

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J.G.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi R.,
I remember having to put something in my DD hands when she was nursing so that she wouldn't pinch/scratch. Maybe a soft/small receiving blanket or burp cloth. Or hold her hand?

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A.S.

answers from Davenport on

My son is 10 1/2 months old and does some what the same thing. He will either put his finger in his ear or rub his thumb back and forth over his head. I never looked into it, but I just took it as the "thing" he does to soothe himself to sleep. He now takes his little stuffed Tigger and brushes the tail over his face when he is falling asleep too. He has been doing this for a while now.

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S.J.

answers from San Francisco on

My son Jack is seven months old and does this strange scratching of the head thing... only when he nurses. It looks almost like he is trying to twirl his hair but is actually just scratching his head. I don't know if this is "normal" but if she only does it when nursing and if she isn't hitting herself hard enough to cause visible pain to her, maybe it is just an odd way of soothing herself. Hope it helps :)

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P.C.

answers from San Francisco on

Hello,
I have seen this with other babies and my daughter did it as well.Don't worry about it...I think of it as perfectly normal...perhaps a movement of of self-orientation...here I am...here is my body.... it feels good....I can make my arms move in a certain way.
P.

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T.G.

answers from Sacramento on

I'm glad to see these strange things happen to others. :) My DD, also born Dec 2007, pulls at her hair or she'll scratch the furniture that I am sitting on. So, she'll have the dangling arm scratching away while the other arm is pulling & "raking" her hair. I figure it is OK if she is still nursing.

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M.S.

answers from San Francisco on

R.,

Totally natural response. Alot of babies do this or touch their ear etc. Nothing to worry about, its how they comfort themselves.-- She is fine!~

M.

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J.H.

answers from San Francisco on

Thank you for posting this! My son does the same thing and although I asked my pediatrician about it two weeks ago (and she said it was normal), it was still comforting to read that others have experienced this along with the ear pulling/twisting thing and the neck pinching (which hurts!)

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K.M.

answers from San Francisco on

Our daughter (1 year next week) does this also!

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J.H.

answers from Sacramento on

My daughter is nearly 3 and is still doing it when she's impatiently waiting for her food to be served to her. : )

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V.M.

answers from Sacramento on

It's normal. My one year old often pulls her hair or pats me. Oh, and pulls her ear too. If it bothers you, try wearing a nursing necklace or holding a soft toy for her to touch. :)

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M.S.

answers from San Diego on

All three of my babies pinched, patted, etc. while nursing! This is very normal! If the pichcing hurts you, you can gently move her hand or hold it!

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C.C.

answers from Dallas on

Hi R.! I know you have had tons of responses, but I wanted to let you know what worked for us. I nursed my son to 15 months and he was very active! I heard about something called nursing beads. I looked for them on Ebay and decided to come up with my own. These beads are a necklace you can wear that your baby can touch and hold and play with while they nurse. I ended up getting a cheap plastic kids necklace and I would just let my son hold it while he nursed, I didn't wear it. It worked great! I hope this helps you!
C.

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A.E.

answers from San Francisco on

My 9mo. old daughter does the same thing. SHe always hits the side of her head when she is nursing. It is totally normal I think. She is always a bit fidgetty and likes to pat my shoulder when I am holding her. I think it is really cute!
I wouldn't worry about it.

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M.B.

answers from Sacramento on

My son did this as well. He would make his hand into a fist and hit his head when I fed him his bottle. Sometimes when he was frustrated he would do this too. He is now 13 months and now that I think about it I think he outgrew this phase a couple months ago.

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A.R.

answers from San Francisco on

My 7 month old does this too! It is kind of strange. I find she does it mostly when she's tired. Am curious to hear what others say, though I'm not too worried about it.

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K.H.

answers from Albuquerque on

Just be careful what kind of cheap plastic beads they are. If they are made in China I would not buy it. I believe all their toys especially the cheap ones like the ones in gumball machines are poisonous. My husband has been saying this for over 15 yrs when he was only 23 yrs. old and now you hear about it on the news. No wonder Americans have joint diseases and other cancers. I believe this is from lead toys and all toys made in China. Now they are saying cell phones are going to be the number one cause of brain cancer. That's why I tell my friends who are breast feeding to not talk on phone while breast feeding. Good luck.

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E.D.

answers from Fresno on

Hi R. -

This is completely normal. At about 6-7 months babies get alot more active and although they want to eat, they don't really want to stop moving. If you haven't had it happen yet pretty soon she will start exporing via her mouth. Lots of fun, but nothing to worry about unless she starts doing repetative motions while not feeding and they last longer than 3-6 months. Then you might want to get a check up. But I have a feeling when she starts her next learing pattern this will stop even during feeding.

Good Luck!

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