Posted in Baby sleep, Blog, Featured, Rebecca, Self soothing

Cute (but not so great) self-soothing habits

Since my son has had hair, he’s been twirling it. It first started out as touching. I thought it was so cute. He’s never had a lovey or a blankie. He does use a pacifier though. I figured he liked to touch his hair because it was soft and it seemed pretty harmless.

His hair got longer and longer and thicker. I noticed he started twirling it and this was just the cutest thing I’d ever seen. He’d mostly do it in the morning, before naptime and before bedtime….or anytime he was getting tired. He would twirl and twirl and the hair would just stand straight up where he’d been playing with it.

see the nest he's created?

Everywhere we went, people would comment how cute it was. He seemed to have found his own self-soothing technique. I did like the fact that it wasn’t an attachment to a stuffed animal or blankie that I had to carry around everywhere we went. I was always afraid we’d have one of those and lose it at the zoo or park and not realize it until we came home for naptime. Yikes. Has that happened to anyone?

All of a sudden, we realized we had a problem on our hands. His twirling-of-the-hair habit had turned serious. He had developed his twirling to create knots. Eeeek. His hair is super thin and fine so once I was faced with getting a knot out, all I could think about was how I was destroying his lovely hair. I had to pull and rip it sometimes to get the knot out. Our last resort was cutting it out. Most often, Daddy could get it out.

Rocking the knot!

I thought maybe this was a phase but it continued for months. I finally realized I should cut his hair. It was not fun having to get 20-30 knots A DAY out of his hair. Maybe if we cut it short, he’d just go back to stroking it. (fingers crossed) We got it cut short and it worked like a charm. He just run his hand through it to feel it, no more knots! YAY. I was thankful I had a boy with this problem and not a girl, since I’d want to grow a girls hair out long.

Well, it’s long again now and he’s making more knots. I wonder how long this will seriously go on? When do they get past the self soothing stage? He’s 2 now. I suppose I’ll just keep cutting his hair. He can get really into it and pull on the knot. I’m worried he’ll create a bald spot.

The funniest thing is when he falls asleep with his finger hooked into a knot. His hand just sort of hangs there.

What other kinds of self soothing habits have you seen? A friend of mine recently told me her 3 yr old was really into touching skin. I was like that when I was little. Some of the common soothing techniques are having a lovey or a blankie. Do all kids have a self-soothing habit? I’m curious.



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  1. I did the same thing and drove my mom crazy with the knots. And…I totally still do it! But I’ve mastered it now so I know how to avoid knots, but that one took awhile to figure out 🙂

    Bodin doesn’t seem to have a particular self-soothing thing yet (other than the boob!) but he has grown really fond of a stuffed elephant on wheels and he wants to bring it everywhere and drive people crazy in stores getting in their way as he wheels by.

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