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Thursday, January 17, 2008
Rock On, Dude - Updated
In late November/early December, Sera started something new. I didn't note this as one of her firsts because I thought it was awful. The first time I saw it, I ran into her room and picked her up. This, of course, woke her up. It was hours before I got her back to sleep. I did a lot of online research and spoke to some people. I learned it was fairly common.

Sera is a head banger. Now, I gave this post a silly title and found a silly graphic because I'm finally convinced that what she's doing is somewhat normal and not some awful attachment disorder sign. I still hate it.

Sera bangs the side of her face into her mattress in a steady rhythmic beat. It usually lasts about 30-60 seconds at a time, but it's the longest 60 seconds I've ever experienced. She still goes to bed easily and happily, and she wakes up happy, but in between...

It seems to be her way of soothing herself back to sleep. She'll sometimes slam her legs into the mattress instead, but it's usually her face. If I'm holding her when she's sleepy, she says, "rock me, mama." She definitely likes to feel rhythmic movement when she's falling asleep.

The head banging is scary because it's so hard. She lifts her entire head up and slams down. The miracle is that she isn't all bruised and bloody.

It stopped for weeks. We saw it initially and then it stopped. We shared a room on our trip for a week and it never happened. It started again about two weeks ago. I became concerned because it was happening every night. On Monday night, I kept track. She was banging her head about every two hours. Every time she did, the noise would wake me. We were both suffering from interrupted sleep.

Tuesday morning, I called our pediatrician and took her in. I wanted to rule out ear infections, sinus issues, anything that could be causing her discomfort. We did. The doctor suggested we try giving her some Tylenol or Motrin just before bed. She said if there were some discomfort happening, this would help alleviate it. She also gave me a prescription for an antihistamine to try next as it is often used on toddlers who do this.

Last night, she only banged her head once, and this morning she woke up much happier and more rested.

Why am I feeling relieved? Because she's not doing this while she's awake. She's not doing this out of anger. She's not doing this for attention. It does not appear to be attachment related. It may be a learned self soothing behavior, but it appears to fall into the normal toddler behavior spectrum.

We'll keep to our routine and hope this ends soon.

UPDATE: We made it all the way to 4:30 AM with a banging incident on Thursday night.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Colleen said...

Wow. I hope that things continue to get better for all of you. Hannah just gets up in the middle of the night and screams........good stuff.

She does smack herself in the head when she doesn't get her way eating her food tho.... totally different I know.

Keep your blog updated on this if you can - I would be interested to hear what is happening. I hope that Sera along with you and Jim are going to get more sleep soon.

Blogger Kathleen Marie said...

My brother was a rocker and I mean a major rocker. I had to also rock a lot of my kids to sleep.

My brother would get up in the night when he was old enough and sit in the rocker in the living room and I mean it would lift off the floor and bang down. We got used to it and found out it was because he had super dry skin and was itching really bad. The itching would wake him up and if he rocked hard and long enough it would help him sleep. I remember going into the family room and he would be sleep-rocking.

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