An occasional problem that parents come into my office with is that their child, while being in their crib, will rock against the side of the crib, or rock and bang their head against the wall.
This is awfully disconcerting to most of the families, and mostly, I can reassure them that this is just a normal habit that many normal children will have.
Unfortunately, it can also be a symptom or a condition of something else. The first condition I see it in is usually children that have had some sort of emotional deprivation in early infancy. The examples that I run in with is usually adoptees from China or overseas where they may have been in an orphanage for a long time and they have some sort of attachment disorder. Rocking or banging their heads against the crib, can be a symptom of that attachment disorder. When that happens, we usually refer them to a child development professional in that area to get some assistance.
The other condition that can be seen in is Autism. It's always a big concern on many parents minds. I do caution, what I always tell parents is, while they are waiting in my waiting room or at the school, they will read a magazine that says that head banging or rocking is a symptom of Autism. Of course, they go to a dark place immediately that their child has Autism.
We can do a lot of good as health care providers, by reassuring them that once we've taken a developmental history, that this is not part of the Autism spectrum.