Beating head against the wall! Is it normal for your baby?


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banging head against wall psychology

You are turning all the stones to create a healthy, safe and protective environment for your baby. But, often you find that your baby, out of the blue, is beating his head against the wall. And, not even with the softer objects, like pillows or cushions. What is this behaviour of your baby out of all the catchy things you were enjoying already?

This beating head against the wall might be a part of child-rearing. Your concerns are genuine. So, try not to get panicky, rather stay calm. You might be missing some of the milestones of his early life.

What does beating head against the wall mean to your baby?

As concerning as it may seem, beating head against the wall can mean many things to your baby. In short, he can be tired and needs to be put to bed for a nap or night sleep. Or, he does that when he lies his face down on the bed. So, he bangs against the pillow. Sometimes, in an upright position, your baby may beat his head with crib, or wall, or toys.

No need to freak out. It is normal if it usually occurs at bedtime or naptime.

What does beating head of your baby against the wall mean to you?

Despite being a common and regular habit of many babies, this habit of your baby can upset you so easily. In general, you may think about many worst possibilities. Does my baby have a mental disorder? Is he upset or angry about something? Maybe he has got some headache or brain issue. Or, he must have some internal injury. All of these thoughts will take you to the worst outcome of this habit of your baby. So, stop here and breathe.

What are the causes of this beating head against the wall habit?

Calm your nerves now. Here are some surprising causes of this beating head against the wall thing.

Before sleep beating head against the wall

Surprisingly when your baby does this beating head against the wall or pillow, think it as the gesture of self-soothing of him. Some babies try to calm themselves in a relaxing position or movement to get asleep. Or, they can show you the gesture that they want you to put them in bed. Or rock them for sleep as many babies need rocking or swinging before sleeping. To put it plainly, this habit of your baby leads him to sleep well and soon.

In-between-sleep beating head against the wall

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, you may be startled by the bang of your baby head. Off course, you will run to rescue your baby. But, don’t panic if he is safe. Don’t run or shout. Now he is beating his head because he needs to fall asleep again. Wait for a while. He is definitely going to stop after a few minutes.

Developmental disorder

Sometimes, this beating head against the wall habit of your baby can reflect any developmental disorder, preferable autism. For this, you need to check out for the frequency and timing of this banging their head habit. If it occurs before sleep and less frequent, this is for sure, rhythmic movement. On the other hand, if baby bangs frequently coupled with some abnormal behaviour of social interaction, language impairment, speech delays or emotional outburst, think of autism.

What if your baby has autism?

If you think, something is going on, look for the possible signs of autism before going to the doctor. Your baby won’t

  • Make eye contact with you when fed or smiled at.
  • Respond to his name or any familiar sound.
  • Make any gesture to communicate.
  • Initiate to play or cuddle with you when you reach to them.
  • Play with other people.
  • Share interests and enjoy.
  • Notice if you are hurt or have any discomfort.

If you find any of these simple signs along with his beating head against the wall habit, immediately call for the doctor.

The age for head beating against the wall and when to take notice?

Most of the babies start beating heads after the six months of their 1st year of life and end around four years. Boys do headbanging four times more than girls. The episodes are brief, mostly last for 15 minutes. However, it can last for more minutes as well.

But, if this habit doesn’t go away after the age four or maximum five, do further evaluation.

How is this beating head against the wall habit can be treated

Ignore and engage

You don’t need to do much for your baby to stop this beating head against the wall habit. In short, the babies learn slowly to get off from this habit by themselves. Just try to ignore, until it goes for too long or nerve-racking for you.  For that, try to divert his attention towards anything attractive. In this way, you will minimize the time of this habit gradually. It will wean off very soon if you try to engage him in various baby activities.

Moreover, if you get frantic and try to pick him up and run for him, he might use this tantrum trick in future to get attention. So, wait a little longer. He will settle soon.


If your baby does this beating head against the wall more often, during sleep hours, try to change his place to sleep. Bring him away from the wall. And, adjust with him some softer objects, so that, he may not get injured, beating his head again and again.

Prevent injury

If you think that your baby might hurt his head if he beats it for so long, then you should prevent the possible modes of injury for him. Take soft pillows around him. Or,   put railings around the crib. If he does that banging so violently take him in your arms to prevent for nig injury to his head. However, if he gets a one, try to be more careful for the next time. A softy cap will work as well sometime to reduce the risk.

A good thing about beating head against the wall

Headbanging habit must be so nerve-racking for you. It may leave a feeling of danger for your baby in your head. Maybe, all day and night. But, do you know that babies who do more head beating against the wall tend to have better brain development. Besides, they can have a better IQ. A large study showed that head banging will result, mostly, coordinated and complete brain habits in babies and toddlers.

And, the babies’ and toddlers’ head is built to withstand minor head traumas to achieve necessary walking or climbing milestones. You never know, and your baby gets an extraordinary intelligence because of this beating head against the wall habit.

The prevention

you can’t prevent some of the habits in your toddlers and babies, like beating head against the wall, as they are the part of a normal developmental process. Ignorance and proper care from the risk is the best prevention, nonetheless.

When to see the doctor

Till now, you have seen that this rocking of the head habit is usual. But, in some cases, it can become the reason to get your baby to the doctor for proper checkup and diagnosis. That is,

  • Baby beating his head throughout the day.
  • Your baby is not feeling sleepy or sleeping at all.
  • There is some speech delay.
  • Some abnormal head movements, or clumsiness, to rule out seizures.
  • Beath head against the wall habit going beyond five years of age.
  • Abnormal behaviour of your baby.

The takeaway message

After you know maximum about this habit, just relax a bit, and feel this thing as usual. The baby is just like the other babies. Sometimes, more active to achieve his milestones, and sometimes delayed. Now, if it’s beating head against the wall thing or beating anything of your baby, you can control it.





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