When babies hump for the first time (and do it continuously), it could turn out disturbing and embarrassing to you as a parent. Do not panic; it could be a normal baby response, and there are ways to handle that.
First, you should know that even though babies are genetically different from one another, some behavioral responses are common to most of them.
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These behaviors are usually self-comfort, responding to certain stimuli, or coping with changes in their immediate environment. Some major examples of these behaviors include babies sucking on their fingers, humping, sucking their lips, and so on.
This piece focuses solely on one of the above – that is why does my baby hump when she is tired. It explores what it means to hump, its normalcy, and its commonality.
Finally, it answers the most important questions concerning humping with respect to your baby’s health and general well-being. You should read on!
As you may have probably noticed, your baby humps more when tired. The reason is quite simple; babies hump to soothe themselves. Think of it as a means of comforting themselves or petting themselves – most times to sleep.
Though it is not the same as a massage, you could think of it in that sense. Babies hump their beds and cots because it helps them relax and enjoy it.
What does it mean for a baby to hump
Is it possible that you don’t even know what humping is? Or you don’t get how a baby – barely a year old – could hump at any surface. Maybe your kid has not shown any sign of this yet (of course, not all babies hump), or maybe you are an expectant mother looking upon baby behaviors.
In whatever case, babies hump in the same way as an adult. For a baby to hump, it means that the baby constantly rubs its pelvic region against a surface. Simply put, humping is when your baby rubs the region around their waist and hips against a surface while lying on it. The surface is usually soft and comfortable.
Why do babies hump
Now that you understand what it means for a baby to hump, let us consider the many reasons why a baby may pick up this habit. We will go from the most common to the least common in that order.
1. A baby hump when they are tired
is the most common reason a baby humps any surface. When a baby is left to sleep, and the baby needs to soothe him or herself, humping most times proves to be the easiest way for them. Humping gives the baby the same feeling that patting or rubbing gives them, so why not?
2. A baby hump when they are bored
Even as an adult, you would most likely engage in something that soothes you when you are bored. The same goes for babies. Some babies do not hump as a result of tiredness. Or better still, it is not all the time that babies hump just because they are tired. Sometimes they hump when they are bored. Some babies find it engaging and fun to hump their beds, cots, or the couch when they have nothing around to play with.
3. A baby may hump as an attention seeking behavior
If you observe your baby enough, you may discover that they hump when they need to get your attention. You would be surprised to what extent your baby would go to get you to carry them. It is important to note that your baby is less likely to get addicted for this reason.
4. A baby hump when they are hungry
A baby may need to comfort themselves in a lot more situations than you can imagine. A very common example of such a situations is hunger. This is especially common in babies that still suck at their moms’ breasts or a feeding bottle. When a baby is hungry, they may subconsciously hump at whatever surface as a means of temporary relief.
5. A baby hump as a result of a disorder
It has been discovered that babies with mental health-related disorders engage more in repetitive behaviors as coping mechanisms. For instance, an autistic child would most likely engage in and stick to doing something that gives him comfort instead of interacting with siblings or even parents. If humping persists in a toddler who is three years and above, it is pertinent that these angles are considered while attempting to correct the behavior.
6. A baby hump when they are upset
Humping may be a coping mechanism in babies when they are upset. Try to observe if your baby is angry anytime you see them humping.
7. A baby hump when they are not comfortable
Other sources of discomfort in babies may include pelvic rashes, skin itching, pain, an upset stomach, and so on. It could be that any of these is the cause of the humping you observed in your baby. Regardless, you can only know when you pay proper attention.
8. A baby hump because someone else did
It is possible that your baby is humping because she saw you or someone near them doing it. Since it is quite common to see adults hump for sexual pleasure, the baby may have witnessed someone do it over and over again. Believe it, babies copy the things they see more often than you can imagine.
NOTE: The causes above are arranged from the most addictive to the least addictive cause. It is, therefore, important that you are observant enough to identify what you are faced with for the sake of faster correction.
Why do babies hump themselves to sleep
If humping soothes the baby, what does that help with sleep anyway? Maybe that’s the question going through your mind. Well, don’t be surprised that most babies that hump at surfaces do it to put themselves to sleep.
So here is the answer to that question; when babies (and even adults) engage in a soothing act repeatedly, it calms them down and relieves them of the excess energy in their bodies.
Essentially, when babies hump themselves to sleep, they do it because it helps their body relax and sets the mood necessary for sleep.
As proof of this, the office of child development at the University of Pittsburgh stated that repetitive behaviors like humping help children calm down and reduce tension. Furthermore, babies hump more when they are not rocked to sleep by their parents.
3 year old humps to fall asleep
Humping has been found to peak among toddlers when they are ages 2 to 3 years. Most times, the behavior would have started earlier than that.
However, the baby would be seen doing it more and more within that age range. After that, the toddler should less frequently do things like finger nibbling and humping.
If your toddler still humps at ay surface to fall asleep at age three, you may need to take quick and strategic actions to correct that behavior.
Naturally, a baby grows out of humping and other related behaviors. However, by the time your child is three years of age (and maybe above), and you observe that the frequency of these behaviors continues, it could be a result of a (mental) health issue.
Is it normal for a child to hump things
In most of the cases mentioned above, children hump at surfaces. What if your toddler humps at a thing instead? Let’s say a teddy bear, a blanket, or a cloth. The truth is that the thing in context doesn’t matter since the child gets the soothing they want. A child – that humps – can do it to anything that allows them the same calmness a comfortable surface would.
In most cases, it is normal for your child to hump a thing. In some other cases, it is not. This depends solely on the initial root cause.
That is if the reason (for humping that thing) is a non-addictive urge to find comfort, then humping a thing is pretty normal. If the root cause borders on infections, discomfort, or mental health issues, humping a thing is abnormal.
In summary, the normalcy of humping is not dependent on whether it is on a surface or it is a thing; the original cause of the humping determines it.
Why does my one year old hump
So that you know, humping may start in babies as young as 11 months. It is especially common to find male one year olds and lesser-aged male babies humping at surfaces. The reason is quite simple; they discover the soothing effect of humping when they start to get the usual nighttime erections.
Remember, males wake up with an erection daily, and most times, need to urinate in the morning. It is the same for male toddlers, too, when asleep. Most male toddlers discover humping inadvertently by moving on a surface with their erections. This is why you may find male babies – especially one year olds – humping.
PS: Most of them pick up the behavior around this time.
Aside from that, one year old humps for the set of reasons any other baby would hump, and those reasons have been stated above.
Have you read this yet?
How to correct humping in babies
There are certain things you could do to correct your baby when you find out repetitive behaviors like this;
You could try an alternative means of soothing them to sleep. For instance, if the baby is still within 10 months to a year, you could rock the baby to sleep or sing the baby a lullaby.
You should look out for sickness, infections, and any possible source of discomfort to the baby. You could correct a child that hump as a result of an itching pelvis by treating it.
In non-pathological cases, you could employ distraction whenever you notice this behaviour. Repeated distractions, especially for bored babies, have been confirmed to work as a means of correcting humping.
Finally, your baby could use a lot of positive attention to correct this behavior. You must remember that consistency is key if you want to make headway with correcting this habit in your child. You can do it!
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