Head Scratching

Updated on February 03, 2011
L.H. asks from Bedford Hills, NY
8 answers

My 5 month old son has recently starting scratching his head relentlessly when he's tired. He doesn't do it when fully awake, so I don't think there's a skin issue. We've already been to the doctor and she said it's "developmental". Has anyone else experienced this problem? I'm assuming he'll grow out of it and until then we're using pjs with "mittens" and keeping his nails as short as possible. thanks.

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answers from New York on

My daughter does this too. She is now 7 months old and hasn't grown out of it. I figured it was dry skin. Before bed I put Coconut oil on her face, ears & hair line. Cetifil works well too. She hasn't scratched her forehead to a point of cutting it up since. She still slightly itches it though.



answers from New York on

Both my boys did that (one still does, he's almost six months). I don't think they did it as rigorously as it sounds like your does but they grew out of it.



answers from New York on

When pregnant with my first child, close to term, when his head was already in the downward position, I used to feel a definite tickling in the lower right front of my abdomen. It was frequent and I could not for the like of me figure out what it was.

Eventually when he was born, most times, while lying on his back, he would be scratching the top of his head! My husband has always had this habit, so too his father. They each have a bald spot where they have been scratching for years.

As our son grew, he seemed to have forgotten to carry on with this practice. However, as he got into his teens, he would scratch sometimes. At those moments, I gently pointed out to him that that was what his father did and that he should notice the results. I also related to him my experience with him in utero.

When he had started sucking his finger, I put a sock on his hand. Within a matter of days, I had had to remove it; it was causing him undue distress; after all, as babies we first experience our world with our mouths. He stopped sucking his finger around the age of six.

I believe we should trust our children to make wise decisions based on their own observations and experiences. Our emotions and fears communicate themselves to our children and they end up playing out our fears and doing exactly what we prefer them not to do.

Hopefully, this has been of some help to you.




answers from New York on

My daughter who is 11 months old also scratches her head. Evidently it's normal. I know a lot of babies that do it - also always when tired. My pediatrician is not at all concerned.



answers from Dallas on

My 15 month old daughter was born with eczema, and she would scar

herself from scratching at night. We went out and purchased the

traditional scratch mittens from the store, however she would rub

them off during the night. As not only does she have a habit of

scratching, but rubbing against things with her wrists as well.

After trying several different mitten products with disappointment,

my wife developed ScratchMeNots. They are fun/creative looking

mitten-sleeves that are hard for babies to take off. The mittens are

made of silk, and the body is a bamboo-blend. Our daughter has been

wearing them for about a year now, and her skin looks so much

healthier, she can scratch without harming herself. Although, the

ScratchMeNot may not cure the Eczema, it gave us time to figure out

what triggered her eczema without her little scratching fingers

undoing any progress we've made. They have truly helped our daughter

and many other children. And I am sure they can benefit other

children as well. Check them out: www.scratchmenot.com


answers from New York on

My son went through the same thing. It was TERRIBLE. His head was so scratched up people would stop and ask me what his problem was. As he would drift off the sleep, he would scratch his head. For no apparent reason. I look back at his baby pictures and his forehead is scratched up in all of them.
He grew out of it.
I did the same as you, I kept his nails as short as possible. After I cut them I would file them with an emery board to make sure there were no sharp edges.
And that is when he started sleeping his lovey. Once he found a new way to soothe himself, the scratching stopped.
Good luck, hopefully this phase will be a short-lived-one! :)



answers from New York on

Hey L.
Not to worry! He just likes to rub something when he falls asleep. Get him a blanket with a silk trim around it. He can rub the silk, put it in his hands when he is getting sleeping and show him. He will love it. Everykid I ever tried this with loved it !



answers from New York on

My 3 yr old son did the same thing and now so does my 3 month old daughter. We found keeping cotton hats on when they started happening really helped (neither one liked their hands covered.)once the baby falls asleep we would pull the hat off. Don't worry it will only occur for a short period of time, they out grow it pretty quickly.

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