Violently rubbing/scratching head & ear — The Bump
January 2016 Moms

Violently rubbing/scratching head & ear

DS rubs and scratches his head/ears SUPER aggressively when he's fussy or tired. His tell when he's about to melt down is seeing the left arm go up and start rubbing. Sometimes, he settles easily but other times the scratching becomes more and more violent. I file his nails daily and he still has little cuts all over his head. It makes me worried that something is wrong?? Dr said it could be self soothing but didn't see it in action. Anyone else have experience with this? Normal or should I get it checked out?

Re: Violently rubbing/scratching head & ear

  • My DD does the same. She rubs her hair to self soothe but when she is over tired it does become a little more rough. She also has dry skin on her head. She has some scratches too. Poor babies.
  • My little guys does this too. He usually thumb sucks with one hand and rubs his head/face with the other. It's only when he's sleepy/sleeping. If it's all the time during the day id be more conserned if he maybe has an ear infection or something. 
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  • Yep.  Mine does the same thing when he's tired or frustrated.  The pediatrician thought it may be his eczema but his head has always been clear of it.  He now owns an adorable collection of hats.  When his motor skills improve and he stops drawing blood we can lose the hats.
    mbud926fishee333l4rktfrangul
  • mbud926mbud926 member
    @amberjinnett that was my first thought! The dr checked his ears at the 4 mo appointment and they looked fine. It is day and night but only when he's fussy/frustrated. It drives me crazy!!
  • Mine does this too, but only when he's falling asleep/sleeping and it usually wakes him up, which is why he's been swaddled for so long. Trying to break the Swaddle now and it's so hard/frustrating to watch him claw at himself!! It really does seem like he's trying to self soothe but it's so aggressive it has the opposite effect. He isn't getting any gentler, but it's waking him up less and less. I too would worry if it happened any time other than sleeping, but I chalk it up to poorly coordinated self soothing.
  • livinslivins member
    My little girl does this too. I've chalked it up mostly to her bad cradle cap. My DH really wants us to transition her out of the swaddle now that we're working on the 4mo regression but she scratches so much it wakes her up. She's literally a bloody mess when he watches her when I'm at work. I told him he has to start doing her nails too (he doesn't clip or file). I'm going to talk to her ped this week to see if there's anything to help, but I'm sure it's a no. My brother is getting married next weekend so I'm trying to keep her scratch and cut free until then, and then I guess I'm going to have to start letting her out of the swaddle. 
  • EbiejayEbiejay member
    Our little man has been doing this too. I heard it can be self soothing but I think for us it's itchy cradle cap and eczema. Sometimes the back of his head gets infected between the scratches and the cradle cap so we use neosporin and socks on his hands for naps and night. I don't want to use hats much now it's so warm but I'm spending a lot of time redirecting his hands and his interest. I just wish I could help him and make it better! 
  • Are you sure it isn't teething? I've heard that can be a sign
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