Perinatal stroke is the second most common cause of neonatal seizures, and can result in long-term neurological impairment. Diagnosis is often delayed until after seizure onset, owing to the subtle nature of associated signs. We report the early electroencephalographic (EEG) findings in a female infant with a perinatal infarction, born at 41 weeks 2 days and weighing 3.42kg. Before the onset of seizures, the EEG from 3 hours after delivery demonstrated occasional focal sharp waves over the affected region. After electroclinical seizures, focal sharp waves became more frequent, complex, and of higher amplitude, particularly in 'quiet sleep'. In 'active sleep', sharp waves often disappeared. Diffusion-weighted imaging confirmed the infarct, demonstrating left frontal and parietal diffusion restriction. At 9 months, the infant has had no further seizures, and neurological examination is normal. To our knowledge, this report is the first to describe the EEG findings in perinatal stroke before seizures, and highlights the evolution of characteristic background EEG features.