Why Does My Baby Scratch His Head?

So, your little one can’t get their hands away from their head for some reason. They’re constantly scratching, and you just can’t understand why.

If your baby is constantly scratching due to itchiness, you’ll need to do something about it. Many moms – myself included – have experienced their little one scratching their heads way too often, but it’s possible to get out of this.

Keep reading, as this article will give you a detailed answer to the question, “Why does my baby scratch his head?”

Is It Normal For My Baby To Scratch Their Head?

It can be worrisome, but it’s normal for your little one to scratch their head. You wouldn’t resist if you felt an itch, right? Babies are no different.

At this young age, your child is experiencing many skin issues like shedding as it adjusts to the elements outside the womb.

How Do I Stop My Baby’s Head From Itching?

Technically, your baby‘s head will likely occasionally be itching since it is a natural occurrence. However, there are a few ways to help relieve your baby of the itchiness, especially if it is related to a dirty scalp.

You can start by washing your baby’s hair twice a week. Do this with gentle baby shampoo, and be very careful. A humidifier may also help since it prevents dry skin during the winter.

It is common for newborns to experience dandruff, so if this is what is causing the itching, you won’t need to worry too much. Just stick to the hair-washing schedule, and you and your baby should be fine.

Reasons Your Baby Is Scratching Their Head

The first step in helping your little one to stop scratching their head so often would be to pinpoint why they do it in the first place. There are various reasons why your baby may be scratching their head, so you need to be extra observant to pinpoint why.


If your little one is allergic to a certain food or clothing material, a reaction will likely come out in their head, which will cause them to scratch.


It is common for your baby to experience the onset of eczema before they clock one year. It usually occurs as a dry, scaly rash on babies’ heads, scalps, feet, trunks, or cheeks.


Your baby’s skin is very delicate and is susceptible to moisture loss leading to dryness. Dryness can be uncomfortable and itchy for your little one.

Too frequent bathing

I know you want your baby to be squeaky clean at all times, but bathing them too often may be doing more harm than good. This frequent bathing can strip your baby’s skin of its natural oil, leading to dryness and itchiness.

Harsh chemicals in the bathing shampoo

I already said that shampoos could help soothe your baby’s scalp and relieve itchiness, but they can also do the opposite if a harsh one is used. Ensure you’re not using a shampoo that affects your baby’s skin if it is sensitive.

Cradle crap

Cradle crap is a rash that typically forms on the scalp or in the face. It appears greasy, scaly patches and tends to faze out between 6 months to one year of age.

The thing with this rash is that it is not usually itchy, so it may not be a culprit, but its always worth checking.

Will Scratching Affect My Baby’s Hair?

Scratching is likely not going to affect your baby’s hair growth. At least not unless your baby starts pulling instead of scratching.

Also, if your little one has brittle hair, you may likely see bald patches on their scalp from all the constant scratching. You can try out some products to help your little one’s hair grow to alleviate these effects.

How To Stop Baby From Scratching Their Head

You may not be able to eradicate the scratching, but there are ways to drastically reduce it. These remedies depend on the part of the head your little one is scratching and when they are doing it.

Nighttime Scratching

If your baby is scratching their head at night, it’s time to invest in some soft baby mittens.

You should try to pinpoint the actual cause of your baby scratching their head, as the continual scratching could indicate a condition called cradle crap. The condition adds a yellow or flaky layer to your baby’s scalp.

You can use a baby brush set with mild shampoo to remove the flaky skin after washing it gently. You may also oil the scalp before shampooing.

Baby Rubbing Their Head

Some babies rub their heads as a way to self-soothe. If your baby is scratching their head right before sleeping, then it is likely that they are tired.

If this is the case, all you may need to do is put your little one to sleep or take a nap so they can get the rest they need.

Baby Scratching Face

Try to identify why your little one is scratching their face before remedying the situation.

If they have sharp nails, you’ll want to trim them so they don’t keep inflicting scratch marks on their faces. You can also use mittens to cover their hands or swaddle them (but do not swaddle your baby if they can roll over).

You may also try some over-the-counter moisturizers or anti-itch creams to help relieve them from itchy skin. When it still doesn’t improve, it’s time to call your baby’s pediatrician. (1)

Baby Scratches Head When Upset

Your baby can express their distress in ways other than crying. They may scratch their heads to show unhappiness, perhaps unknowingly.

If this happens, try to guide your baby’s hands away from their heads and remove them from stimulation. Also, try to get your baby to go to sleep on time and do not let them skip naps. Look for their usual sleeping cues and put them to bed.

Toddler Scratching Back Of Their Head

The same thing applies if it is your toddler that is continuously scratching their head. Toddlers’ skin is still much more delicate than adults’, so they are susceptible to constant itchiness on their skin.

You’ll want to monitor them and possibly pay a cost to the doctor so you can rule out dry skin, eczema, or any more serious condition.

Tips To Relieve Your Baby Of Nighttime Scratching

  • Bath your baby with delicate skin-friendly products.
  • Use a soft towel to oat dry your little one’s skin.
  • Use a fragrance-free moisturizer on your bays skin as soon as they are out of the bath to lock in moisture.
  • Wear your baby’s comfortable cotton pajamas.
  • Keep your baby’s room at a cool, comfortable temperature, so they don’t get hot at night.
  • Use an emery board to file your little one’s nails down so they don’t inflict marks on themselves if they scratch at night.
  • You could as well use a humidifier if the weather is dry.

When To See A Doctor

Here are some signs you may need to see the doctor for your baby’s constant scratching of their head.

  • You see no improvement even with over-the-counter medications and moisturizers.
  • Your baby’s skin gets irritated, developing a rash, bleeding, oozing, or even sores or blisters.
  • Your baby gets a fever alongside the scratching
  • You find flat red spots on your baby’s skin.
  • Your baby is unable to stop scratching, even when uncomfortable.
  • Your little one scratches multiple areas all over their body.
  • If anyone in the household is diagnosed with contagious skin infections.


Nothing hurts more than seeing those scratch marks across your little one’s adorable face. Luckily, there are numerous ways to help your baby stop scratching, but if you are still concerned, do not hesitate to call the doctor.

Has your baby ever scratched their head continuously? How did you help them stop? Let me know in the comments section below.



  1. Catherine Crider, (Sep 29, 2020). Healthline. Baby Scratching Face: Why Does It Happen and Can You Prevent It? https://www.healthline.com/health/baby/baby-scratching-face#takeaway

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