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Infant Care (up to 18 months old) Message Board

Infant Care (up to 18 months old) Board Index

My 18 month old son is a head banger. He's been doing it for a while...don't even really remember when it started. He mostly does it when he's tired or bored. He'll do it in the carseat and the highchair more than anything. He'll also do it when I lay him down in his crib for a nap or for nighttime. He'll put himself to sleep that way. He doesn't bang it on anything, it mostly a back and forth rocking thing. I can go into his room after he's asleep and if he's on his back, he'll do it in his sleep. I guess he hears me and doesn't really wake up, but enough to need to do it to get back in that deep sleep. If he's mad or upset, he might fall to the floor and do it there. It's how he self-soothes himself.

It does still bother me sometimes, but not nearly like it did before. It's an autism trait and that's why we were so worried about it. But I did some research and found that 20% of very normal children do it...especially when they are tired. It can last up to 4 years old. In my research I found that if the child is a head-banger and does one of these three things by 18 months, then the head-banging is more than likely a normal baby thing and not linked to autism.

1. points to an object
2. follows an adult's gaze
3. uses an object in imagination play (for instance, my son will open up the toenail clippers and put it to his ear and talk like he just opened a cell phone)

As my son started doing more things, particulary pointing and talking more, we worried less about autism. Again, the head banging thing can be annoying (and yes, sometimes it is accompanied with a noise), but I have learned to ignore it most of the time.

Keep your daughter engaged. My son won't do it if he's playing or active. I've also read possibly they do it to imitate being rocked. So maybe she does need more cuddles and rocking. Point to things and see if she can follow you. Does she point? Will she stop rocking when you talk to her? Even when it first started, my son would stop and look at me when I called his name.

I would definitely do some research on it and absolutely talk to your ped.

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