My daughter since she could get up on her knees intentionally bumps her head at night. She kinda like rocks back and forth on her knees while hitting her head on either the headboard or footboard on her bed. Before she was 2 she had surgury on her forehead because of it making bone grow where she bumps it. Before we did the surgery I addressed this problem with her dr. and he said it was a temper tantrum. But in the middle of the night? This answer does not satisfy me when she is now 5 yrs old and still does it. i have to get up approximately 6 to 8 times a night to tell her to stop and lay back down and go to sleep. I asked her why she does it and she cant give me an answer. They said she had to have the surgery cause the bone growth was caused from trama to the forehead. From her bumping. I'm at my wits end trying to find someone with the similar problem and everyone i talk to looks at me like im crazy. She is my first born and i dont want to have to go have anymore surgeries to her head if she doesnt stop. Please help!!!
a very tired and confused mom
Head banging and rocking has classically been viewed as an immature way of children self soothing. It can be associated in some children with different diagnoses, such as attention deficit, autism, sensory integration and anxiety disorders. Ideally, the treatment for it should be driven by the underlying condition that it driving it. That can be difficult to determine. How is you child functioning in the rest of her life - outside of sleep/bedtime? Does she exhibit any behavioral, learning, sensory of emotional difficulties? How does she generally soothe herself when upset or distressed?
I read your posting about your daughter it makes me sad to hear that your daughter is experiencing any kind of pain or discomfort, but it is also interesting to know that someone is exhibiting behaviors similar to those I have been struggling to understand for a very long time. I am 24 years old and I have bumped my head at night every since I can remember. My mom has told me that when I started to crawl she was reluctant to put me down because I was prone to banging my head on the floor. Though I have never suffered any serious injury as a result of my head banging it has certainly caused me a lot of discomfort and shame over the years. I have trouble sleeping in close proximity to others because I am too ashamed and I know they will not understand the fact that I bang my head against my forearms in the middle of the night. My mom consulted a doctor when I was about 4 or 5 and we were told that it was just a nervous impulse that was strange, but nothing to be concerned about. I'm hoping maybe an explanation of how I bang my head, and how it feels when I bang my head could possibly help you to understand what your daughter is experiencing. When I lay down to go to sleep at night I feel a pressure and a tingling sensation in my head. Banging my head on a firm surface is soothing and helps to relieve the pressure. The best analogy that I can come up with to describe it is that it is sort of like an itch in the since that you can resist the urge to scratch an itch, but if you do you're very uncomfortable. When I was younger my head banging was more vigorous and I had a harder time resisting the impulse to bang my head against the matress, the head board, and sometimes the wall. My mom would also wake up at night and discourage me from banging my head when I was a child. Now I no longer bang my head on the wall or the head board, instead I bang my head against the bones of my for arms and that seems to do the trick. Though this is not as satisfying, I have learned that this is a way i can sooth myself without making as much noise. I usually bang my head untill I fall asleep. In a strange way banging my head keeps me up at night (it takes me far longer to fall asleep than it does the average person), but it also puts me to sleep because I tire myself out by doing it and I have a very hard time falling asleep without banging my head. The older I get, the more curious I am becoming about the cause of my behavior and how i can completely stop it without being extremely uncomfortable and sleepless. Again, I am so sorry to hear that your daughter is suffering injuries as a result of her headbanging. It sounds like your daughter's head banging is more severe than mine. I have bruised myself, but I have never banged my head hard enough to sustain any serious injury. If her case is anything like mine and is the result of a nervous impulse, she will more than likely learn to sooth herself in a way that's not as dangerous as she gets older. I hope my shared experience has been atleast a little bit helpful.
My 11 month old son has started doing the same thing. This started about 3 weeks ago. He would normally start at 1:00 AM and this could go on til about 6:30 AM off and on. If you walk into his room, he's on all fours rocking himself so vigorously that we find the crib in the middle of the room with all four wheels locked. He doesn't even know that we are even in the room when we check on him. I was thinking that he's unsettled due to his teething. Some nights are worse than others. Some nights he won't do it at all. He's normal functioning during the day and he doesn't do this during naps. Everyone thinks I'm crazy when I tell him what he's doing. The pediatrician said that he's self soothing. Hopefully he'll snap out of it.
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