Baby Scratching Back of Head: What Does It Mean and What Should I Do When My Baby’s Head Itches?

By Lynn •  Updated: 05/03/23 •  9 min read
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Does your baby have itchy skin? It can be  a hard thing to watch. Still, it is important that you nail down what is going on with your little one in order to figure out how you can best help them. Join us as we delve into the various reasons for your baby scratching back of head, and what, if anything, you can do about it. 

Why does my baby keep scratching his head?

Why do babies scratch? Do babies get itchy?

Yes, they do. In fact, babies can get itchy for much the same reasons we do. Whether it be dry skin, allergies or mild skin irritation, ear infection, babies get itchy and may attempt to scratch the spot in their own little way.

Because of this, it is up to us to determine where the itch is coming from and how best to handle it. 

Of course, if the child scratching its head with its baby nails isn’t severe then no further action is required. But if you notice your baby scratching back of head and neck or baby scratching back of head and ears, you may need to take notice. 

Other common places for baby to scratch can be around the mouth, nose, eyes or other places of the body.

Related Read: When Do Babies Stop Flailing Arms and Legs?

baby scratching back of head

Why Do Babies Scratch Themselves

Babies scratch themselves for a variety of reasons. Just like adults, these reasons can be due to underlying health issues or they can just be a part of your everyday human itch. 

Some common reasons babies itch include the following: 


Have you noticed your baby scratching him or herself at certain times of the day, daily? If so, it may be due to allergies

A good way to pin down whether or not this could be the cause is to keep a journal. Write down exactly when your baby starts itching, including the last meal he or she had, the last thing they drank, what they were doing when the itching started and what they were wearing. Over time, it is possible that you’ll pick up on cues that may lead you to the reason that your baby is itching at these specific times of the day. 

Once you’ve determined the culprit, remove the food, material or object that you suspect may be causing the itch and see if that helps. 

As always, consult a healthcare professional for further assistance and advice.

Dry Skin

Do you notice that your baby’s skin is red, scaly, dark, thick, particularly dry or peeling? If so, this could be the culprit of why you find your baby itching head or other parts of his or her body. 

If you suspect your baby has particularly dry skin that leads to uncomfortable itching, we’d recommend you purchase a thick cream with a pudding consistency and begin applying that to your baby’s skin daily. Be sure that the cream is fragrance free and gentle for baby skin. Ideally, this cream would be thick enough to hold a spoon upright. 

Also, be sure to eliminate any and all scented products from your baby’s skin and hygiene routine until you are able to nail down the source of dry skin and eczema. 

If this doesn’t help, contact your local healthcare provider for further guidance. 


Did you know that baby rubbing head or eyes could be a sign of tiredness?

If you notice that your baby does this right around naptime or bedtime, it could be that your little one is simply ready for sleep. Watch for other sleepy cues and be sure to put your little one to bed on time to eliminate itchy skin woes. 

Dandruff or Other Scalp Issues

Sometimes, baby scratching back of head bleeding or other issues can come as a result of dandruff, dry scalp or other itchy scalp conditions. Nip it in the bud by applying a baby safe oil to your baby’s scalp and brushing the area with a soft-bristled brush. Moreover, watch the type of shampoos and hair products you use, as the wrong types may irritate your baby’s skin and scalp and cause more itching. 

Note that although common, “cradle cap” isn’t always a source of itching and is not usually uncomfortable for babies.

Heat Rash

If you notice baby scratching head a lot in particularly hot weather it may be that your baby is scratching due to heat rash. Dress your baby appropriately for the weather and, whenever possible, do not let your baby begin to sweat profusely or overheat. 

Chicken Pox

As you might imagine, chicken pox can lead to lots of baby scratching. If the itching is accompanied by tiny red bumps or a rash of any kind, be sure to take your little one to see a doctor, immediately.


Sometimes, itching on the scalp, ears and neck are an indicator of head lice.

To know for sure, grab a fine toothed comb and a flashlight to look at the root of your child’s hair. If they have lice, you’ll see very small brown insects clinging to individual strands. See a pediatrician on what to do next if you suspect your child has head lice. 


Believe it or not, baby scratching back of neck teething is a real thing. It could also manifest as baby scratching back of head teething. Either way, teething can be a culprit of uncomfortable itchiness for some babies and toddlers. It can also be accompanied by a rash around the mouth. 

If you are seriously worried about your baby’s frequent itching, we recommend you schedule an appointment with your local pediatrician and follow their tailored advice based on the needs of your child. 

baby scratching back of head

Why do babies scratch their head?

If baby scratching back of head or baby keeps scratching head, try not to fret. Babies scratch their heads for many of the reasons mentioned above. Speak to your local healthcare provider for information specific to your child about what could be causing the frequent itching.

Is it normal for babies to scratch the back of their head?

“My baby keeps scratching her head, what should I do?” If this is your question, don’t fret. 

Baby itchy scalp and baby scratching head at night are all common occurrences. Be sure to rule out allergies as a cause of baby head scratching, and be sure to keep a journal of when it is happening. Believe it or not, some infant scratching can also be due to the baby being upset. Soothe your baby and ensure that he or she isn’t scratching themselves out of frustration.

How do I stop my baby’s head from itching?

Scratch Mittens for Eczema

One of the ways you can keep your baby from scratching his or her head is to put on scratch mittens.

Scratch mittens are specifically designed for infants and newborns and are designed to prevent them from scratching their head and face. 

RATIVE Newborn Baby Cotton Gloves No Scratch Mittens For 0-6 Months Boys Girls (Newborn 0-6 Months,9-pairs/white)

Nighttime Scratching

Baby Scratching Back of Head at Night

If your baby wakes up with scratches you may be thinking, “Help! My baby keeps scratching his head and I don’t know what to do about it!.”

We hear you. 

To avoid baby scratching head or baby itchy head at night, we’d recommend getting to the bottom of what is causing his or her discomfort. Could it be that his or her hygiene products from bath time are bothering their skin? Is the room comfortable or too hot? Could it be that the blanket, or pajamas, you’ve put them in is irritating their delicate skin? Finding the root cause of baby scratching back of head or any part of their body is crucial for solving nighttime itchiness. 

Baby Scratches Head at Night

Remember, a baby scratches head when upset, too. Make sure that when your baby scratches he or she isn’t upset. Also, make sure that if your baby scratches head often that you provide relief through the use of nighttime newborn mittens or apply a cream or oil to itchy areas of the skin and hair to alleviate discomfort. 

Baby Itching Head at Night

Oftentimes, baby scratching head when tired is common and you’ll need to put baby to bed when you notice signs of itchiness or persistent eye rubbing. If you find that baby keeps scratching head at night, it is possible that your baby is simply tired and ready to go to sleep. Of course, this isn’t the only or most common reason for infant scratching head, but for some babies, this is how they communicate their need for sleep. 

Toddler Keeps Scratching Back of Head

Toddler Scratching Head at Night

If it isn’t your baby scratching head and pulling hair, you might find your toddler scratching. This isn’t uncommon, and oftentimes, it is for the reasons mentioned above.

If your toddler is able to speak, asking your toddler about why toddler scratching himself may be a good idea. If he or she isn’t very verbal, take the precautions mentioned earlier in this post to nail down the root cause for itchy skin in your toddler.

Toddler Scratching Back of Head

If your toddler is itchy but seems to particularly aim for scratching the back of his or her head, then dry scalp or head lice may be to blame. Consider applying oil to the scalp and using the methods mentioned above for checking for head lice to rule out these causes. 

baby scratching back of head

Baby Scratching Back of Head: The Causes Are Many

To wrap it up, it is safe to say that there are many reasons that a baby scratches back of head. Not only this, but babies and toddlers are prone to scratching many parts of their body, persistently, and for varying reasons.

If you find yourself thinking “My baby keeps scratching his head way more than what seems normal!” or “My baby scratches his head only at certain times of the day!” then it may be time to record the events surrounding the itching and present your findings to your local pediatrician. 


Lynn is a freelance writer, a wife, and a mother of two beautiful kids. Lynn started Infant Empire with the aim of making parenting easier for fellow mums and dads. She believes the parenting tips provided here will be of great help to all parents.