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Do you want more sleep?   Yes! I need more sleep.

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  1. Greg says:

    Hi my son is 29 months old while sleeping he likes to rub his head on my elbow until he sleeps same during day while playing he does that in between and it’s constant every day if I don’t give him my elbow to rub he’s head he gets upset and hits his head with his hand same when he’s showing tantrums he’s not talking yet just speaks some words like hat,car,key,daddy,mumma that’s all he speaks if I take him to playgroup he won’t play with other kids but will play himself with toys or he won’t sit in one place or listen to music nicely just run if I try to teach him something he’s not interested in it for long will get upset otherwise he’s happy baby he like cuddles and playing with cars likes Hide and seek and sometimes he’s kind and sharing too

    • Neosha says:

      @Greg – Thank you for stopping by our sleepy little village and for your comment. Many children (young babies and preschoolers, too!) have what may be odd-to-others soothing behaviors. I remember my son, when he was that age, would rub my (or other adults’) ear as he got drowsy/to soothe himself – this would definitely take an unsuspecting aunt or family friend by surprise at times! He sort of phased out of doing it when he was 4 or 5 years old, though. If your little guy’s behavior, language development or social skills are concerning, at all, to you, then I would strongly encourage you to have a discussion with his healthcare provider about it all to be sure all is well with him. Thank you again for sharing, Greg and please keep reading!

  2. Nadia Guillen says:

    My 22 month old scratches herself. A lot. To the point wjere she sometimes wjll draw blood. I notice its after she’s woken up too early from a nap, or when we are in the bath. Should I be worried its a deeper concern. It seems to me like she’s trying to calm herself because she doesn’t do it all the time after short naps but always in the bath.

    • Emily DeJeu says:

      @ Nadia Guillen – hmmm…..does she have any underlying skin issues? Like eczema, or dry skin? Could it be that she is scratching herself in her sleep really hard, and unintentionally drawing blood? I might look into that first. Hot baths can exacerbate itchy skin problems; I know that from experience with my own daughter’s eczema. If you rule out a skin condition, then I would suggest keeping her nails very short; that way, if she does scratch, she’s unlikely to draw blood.

      Hope this helps, Nadia! Good luck to you 🙂

  3. leslie says:

    my daughter, since an infant, and who is now 3 years old, has sought out my lips to pull down on, press on, stroke, touch, etc as she goes to sleep. she will verbally express how much she likes this – even outside of the times it happens. at times it is manageable for me, but ultimately i am looking for a replacement for my lips as this can be painful. i’m looking for materials or products that feel like lips and have the movement too. i have tried many internet searches to see if others have experienced this and i can’t find anything! most of what i find is about self soothing . thanks!

    • Emily DeJeu says:

      @ leslie – That’s an interesting one! I don’t blame you for wanting a lip replacement 😉 Let us know if you find any good substitutes! And best of luck to you.

    • Janette says:

      @leslie, my almost 3 year old son does the same thing! Did you ever find a replacement? Or did she stop on her own? Thanks.

  4. NYCMom says:

    Very informative article and smartly written. My son will be two and half in January. I had another baby in August of this year and its been a tough transition for my little guy. As you can imagine babies are very demanding of your attention but I try make as much one on one time with my son when the baby is sleeping. This has helped but he is still showing out and started lifting his shirt up to rub his belly while laying down on couch/bed/play mat. Another thing he does is takes the baby’s hand or foot and touches his mouth repeatedly with it. My husband always looks concerns and side eyes this behavior but I feel its just one of those weird random things that some toddlers do and outgrow.

    • Emily DeJeu says:

      @NYCMom – these behavior sound totally normal to me, and they don’t sound dangerous at all – doesn’t sound like your toddler is hurting himself or the baby. Even the most well-adjusted kids will tend to develop weird little tics or behavioral patterns as they deal with the stress of a new sibling; in time, they usually fade. If you become concerned at any point, you should contact a healthcare provider, but if the activities remain harmless, as they are now, you can likely expect this to fade on its own 🙂

      Best of luck to you – and congrats on your new baby!

  5. Kyoung says:

    My 2 1/2 year old son pulls out his hair while trying to fall asleep at naptime. I put him in bed at 2:30 & he eventually falls asleep after 1 1/2 hours of “hair-pulling”. So when he finally falls asleep around 3:30, I have to wake him a 5. His nighttime bedtime is at 8:30 & I find he no longer gets to sleep until 9:30 ish /10:00. Now the hair pulling even happens during the day. We shaved his head, but now hedigs in his diaper or pulls off his diaper & that can leave a mess. Do you think I’m giving him too much naptime time?

    • Emily DeJeu says:

      @ Kyoung – My guess is that the nap is happening too late – a nap that ends at 5 means bedtime will naturally be around 10. Toddlers this age need above 5 hours of wake time between the end of nap and the start of bedtime. So you could try bumping the nap up earlier in the day, and compensating for that by waking him earlier. That should even out the schedule.

      As for the hair pulling – cutting his hair sounds like a good first step. Have you tried giving him something else that he can pull on or fiddle with? I had a friend whose son did the same hair-pulling thing, and they found success in giving him a little blanket to play with instead of pulling his hair. He would twist and pull on the blanket instead. Just a though – maybe that would work?

      Hope these tips help!! Best of luck to you 🙂

  6. Natasha says:

    Hi Emily,
    Thanks for this article and all the work you and the team do.
    I’m just about to have my second baby (in Sydney, Australia) and truly appreciate all the info and advice.

    I love the baby sleep site so much that I felt moved to make a few comments from my perspective as an Occupational therapist.

    1. In the paragraph about sensory processing disorders (SPDs) I thought it would be more helpful to say something like toddlers with SPDs often seek out strong sensations like head banging, rocking, hair pulling, squashing, deep pressure as a way of meeting their sensory needs and calming their nervous system/brain.
    Seek professional advice from a health care provider who specialises in SPDs.
    There are natural ways to help soothe these toddlers such as deep pressure massage…
    Also the comment in opening paragraphs about these strange behaviours being as a result of the lack of physical affection from parents followed closely by the mention of Those disabilities may be quite upsetting to some parents.
    There is a history of blaming the mum for being cold and Not affectionate and thereby causing autism which scientists have proven to be untrue.

    I hope you don’t mind me writing these points to you.
    I’m hesitant in pressing send but hope you take it well and know that I have the best intentions

    Best wishes and blessings
    Natasha

    • Emily DeJeu says:

      @ Natasha – thanks so much for your kind and thoughtful comment!! I updated the section about sensory processing disorder to reflect your recommendations. Thank you again!

  7. Ana H. says:

    my 15mo old takes her forearm and puts it against her lips… it’s definitely her soothing technique but it’s a bit odd.. almost bubbling into her arm to sooth herself when she’s angry or scared… mostly angry
    but the reason i wonder if it’s normal is only because i have a 7yr old who has a very very mild form of aspergers so naturally i’m super paranoid about my younger children having it… my husband thinks i’m overly paranoid and ignoring all her other milestones, and truth is, i am constantly paranoid.
    i know you’re not a doctor and i will bring it up but can you please just give me your opinion… please.
    thanks.

    • Emily DeJeu says:

      @ Ana H. – Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about this because it doesn’t sound like she’s hurting herself…but given your family’s history, it would be 100% understandable for you to have a doctor check it out. Honestly, my policy for myself is that if I feel worried at all, I give myself permission to take my kiddo to see a doc 🙂

      Hope this helps! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  8. Rachel says:

    my five year old son has been head banging to get himself to sleep since he was about 6 months old. Should he not have grown out of this by now? Also, my 2 year old daughter thrashes her head from side to side to get herself to sleep. She wakes up every morning with tangled hair which has lots of split ends. As far as I know, no one in the family has ever done this, so not sure why they would both have this self-soothing behaviour. Do you think I should get them seen about this?

    • Emily DeJeu says:

      @ Rachel- good question! Do you feel that either child is hurting themselves with this behavior? Does it seem like the banging/thrashing is injuring them? (i.e. by leaving bruises, causing headaches, etc.)

      If so, then yes, I’d get them seen by a healthcare provider. If not…it’s your call. My rule for myself is that if I feel uncomfortable, then I take the kiddo to see a doc.

      Hope this helps! Thanks for commenting, Rachel. 🙂

  9. Rose says:

    My 4 year old daughter likes to shake her lower body side by side (quite fast) when watching videos on her ipad, she used to do it when she was smaller like 1 to 2 yrs old then it stopped and just recently back again. I see no harm but a bit strange.

  10. Jessica says:

    My 2 year old is alwAys rubbing my leg with her head like a cat would do. This is constant throughout the day. Whether she is tired or not. She has done this for as long as I can remember. Now she has started to lift up her shirt and rub her belly against my leg also. If I have long pants on she with lift my pant leg until it is out of the way. She has to be skin to skin.

    • Emily DeJeu says:

      @ Jessica – sounds fairly normal to me, honestly. Nothing to be concerned about (although I can see how it might get a little old for you, after awhile!) All in all, I’d say that there’s nothing wrong with trying to wean her away from it (maybe offer her something else to nuzzle), but this is no cause for concern on your end 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

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