Why Do Babies Hump Themselves to Sleep?

Babies hump for specific reasons, but why do babies hump themselves to sleep?

Before the behavior becomes a habit, parents need to understand why babies do this at certain times.

For first-time moms, it might be startling to see a baby hump.

At home, babies may exhibit the behavior mindlessly, which can be embarrassing when there are visitors.

It can also gain awkward glances from strangers when going out.  

Although it may not be observed in some babies, humping is completely normal.

Babies hump for two most common reasons at different ages – to seek attention and to soothe themselves.

The best way to point out why they hump is to observe the triggers and how they react when you remove these factors.

Why Do Babies Hump Themselves to Sleep?

Hunger, sleepiness, discomfort, and other triggers cause babies to hump.

Sometimes, babies also do this to grab the parents’ attention or those around them.

To spot why babies hump, parents may look at what makes them stop or check the time when they do this.

Whatever you do, make sure that you don’t panic. It is natural and will eventually go away as they get older.

Here are some things that may explain why babies hump themselves to sleep:

1. Discomfort may be a reason for humping

Seeing your baby thrusting their pelvic part on anything before sleep may be a sign that the baby is uncomfortable with the diaper.

It may be soiled, or you have placed it too tightly.

Check the nappy if it needs changing, pick more comfortable clothing, or adjust the diapers before putting the baby to bed. 

2. The baby needs to relax

A warm bath before bedtime or a soothing massage may help the baby relax and feel reassured.

The body’s serotonin production is increased by massaging. It makes the baby feel more connected and safe. The humping may stop once they are relaxed.

3. Humping calms the baby down

Before naptime, babies may indulge in humping to soothe themselves.

When the baby finds a way to relieve stress or pain, they might do the process repeatedly until it becomes habitual.

In some circumstances, parents may need to observe where the babies hump before naptime and remove the object to discourage the behavior. 

You can also replace the habit with physical contact. When the baby is distressed, he or she will calm down with a rhythmic pat on the back or a cuddle.

Reading bedtime stories even at a young age might also help, and it can also help develop their communicative skills while making it easier for the baby to fall asleep.

4. A repetitive act that grabs attention may stimulate repetition

Even at a young age, babies are very observant. They are aware of a reward system and can form reasoning behind simple tasks such as humping.

The baby may be humping to get their parents’ attention. They know that they will stay by their side if they keep on doing the action.  

You can observe them and jot down the possible reasons why they hump and when it stops.

To see if it is your attention that the baby is trying to get, try ignoring the baby for some time in a safe environment to see if the humping stops.

If the humping signifies a call for your attention, your response to the baby whenever it happens may be what is causing the action.

5. Acting like this may be a call for another unaddressed need.

Does the humping happen only during bedtime? If not, the baby is likely humping to address a need.

Slight discomfort in the abdominal area may be motivating the baby to do the action.

Check the abdomen or the genital area for any rashes or marks. 

Why do babies hump themselves to sleep? It is not always what adults think.

Humping is not directly related to any sexual problem or something they may carry as they get older.

The baby may lose this habit as they get exposed to other stimuli in the environment.

Learn more from a related post: Why Do Toddlers Dry Hump


Humping is not that big of a problem, so don’t let you and your baby lose sleep over it.

Give yourself and your baby time to adjust as you get to know and feel closer to each other.

Whatever you do, never try punishing your baby when they don’t easily stop the action no matter what you try.

The key is to get their attention with other things like spending time together or a cuddle, so your baby finds other means for comfort.

Spend quality time with your baby so they’d find it easier to rest. 

Why do babies hump themselves to sleep? They may be too restless, or they find it hard to sleep.

You can help them by keeping your baby active during their wakeful hours. Play with them, play music, or talk to your baby.

These activities will make it easier for them to fall asleep, and they are also helpful for their health and growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can a parent help their baby stop the humping habit before sleeping?

Check your baby from time to time. Humping can be a way to express agitation, cold, discomfort, pain, and many more.

Knowing your baby’s needs without panicking at their every quirk is crucial to learning how you can help them.

You have to find ways to reduce their stress and form better communication with them.

When you have found techniques that work in keeping the action at bay, you have to be consistent in doing them until your baby’s humping stops.

Does a parent need to consult a doctor if the habit continues?

There is no need to panic, feel anxious, or call a doctor when you hear anyone say something about your baby’s behavior.

Babies do not have strong reasoning skills and are dependent on their instincts. They are still young.

You can help intervene to stop the action before it becomes a habit without bringing your baby to a health professional.

What are the essential things to follow to make the baby’s humping easier to stop?

The key is mindfulness and patience. You can do this by spending more time with your baby.

If they have siblings, ask them to keep watch and play with the baby when you’ve got too much in your hands.

It’s not alarming behavior. The baby might only be in need of attention and affection.

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