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Why is my 5 month old scratching her head?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
This started in the past week. At first I thought maybe she had a few bug bites since we had been outside. I couldn't see anything, though, and they should be gone by now anyway. She scratches at her head all of the time. She also grabs her ears like she's trying to pull them off. And when she itches her head, it's really violent, like she's trying to tear the skin off.

Any ideas what this could be? She even does it when she sleeps. Other than this, she seems fine.
post #2 of 15
Could it be that she's just discovered she can scratch w/ some intentionality and she's just trying it out? DS is just shy of 5 months, and he's been scratching the top of his head in a funny, absent-minded (but hard) kind of way. He's left some red marks so I have to leave his nails clipped short.
post #3 of 15
ds did the same thing! I would cut his nails so short and he would still scratch his head. He look terrible! i was worried someone was going to accuse me of something!: I think it is just a normal, new thing.
post #4 of 15
Hah, funny my son was born on the same day! hehe, he was scratching his head pretty rough a few weeks ago and has now stopped. I try to keep his quick-growing nails trimmed though. Probably just a trying out a new skill thing and she'll move on to something new soon.
post #5 of 15
I've also heard---and observed with my DS---that this can be a sign of teething or "pre-teething." My DS is cutting his two top teeth at the moment---yipes---and he's been pulling on his ears and scratching the back of his head much more frequently this week. I have had to be on constant nail-trimming duty. He did the same thing around 6-7 months when his bottom teeth were coming in.

I've heard that little ones can't localize pain or discomfort so the ear-tugging and head-scratching can be their way of expressing their teething discomfort.

Just another thought...
post #6 of 15
Oh I did want to add after reading the above post that I did think my son could be teething but I really can't tell by looking at his mouth. The head scratching has stopped but sometimes he seems reluctant to nurse...
post #7 of 15
a bunch of kids in my daycare room do that, often when theyre tired or cranky or something
post #8 of 15
My son did this at 4m-- he had eczema.
post #9 of 15
hi, my son still does it and he is 2. It seems its a stress issue with him. Like he is frustrated or upset. Usually when he is trying to do something, a new skill and can't. It started around 7 or 8 mos...when he was trying to crawl.
post #10 of 15
My ds did that when we were washing his hair too frequently.
post #11 of 15
could it be cradle cap?

as a pp poster pointed out maybe washing hair to often?

They really only need their hair washed a couple times a week.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr33nie
could it be cradle cap?

as a pp poster pointed out maybe washing hair to often?

They really only need their hair washed a couple times a week.
Yep. My ds has super thick hair, and we were washing it every day. D'oh!! We only wash it twice a week now. No more scratching.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for responses. She doesn't do it only when she's stressed, it's an all the time kind of thing. Also, she really doesn't have any hair, and I barely wash it, so that can't be it. Maybe she is teething.
post #14 of 15
My dd does it too. She likes to scratch while nursing, and if i don't let her scratch my boob (ouch) she scratches anything else, including her head. I guess it could be teething but I think it's more of a nursing reflex (squeezing).
post #15 of 15
My DD has been doing this for a few weeks now, although I remember she would do something similar (less scratch-y and more rub-y) when she was a couple months old. I think mostly it's just something she does, although she does have pretty sensitive excema, which appears a lot on the back of her neck (I just realized a few days ago it was from the velcro on her bibs! No more bibs for us!). She has a little bit of dry skin on the back of her head, but since I can't put lotion on it (as it's covered in hair, lol), I think it might be a little itchy. Whenever she does it when I'm wearing her, I go "Do you need mama to scratch your head?" and then I "scratch" the spot (I really just use my fingertips, but I think it helps).
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