Why Does My Baby Hump When She Is Tired?

Babies sometimes lie on the ground or bed with their faces facing downwards and their backs facing upwards.

In this position, they sometimes move their pelvic girdle back and forth which often can seem like a motion that adults do when in sexual intercourse.

This pelvic thrusting of little babies is informally termed “humping”. It is an activity that babies do from a very early age. And, new parents are concerned about whether this is a normal thing for a baby to do.

That’s why, why does my baby hump when she is tired? is a common question in internet forums.

Simply put, this behavior of pelvic thrusting against the bed, floor or any other objects is perfectly normal. And, as a parent, you need to have further knowledge about this.

So, we have arranged this article post for you. Let’s get started!

Is it normal for my girl to hump stuff?

When a baby is humping while she is tired or asleep, it means that the baby is naturally trying to soothe herself. 

Believe it or not, this is a completely natural process. As human beings, our body has its own mechanism of refreshing or soothing us.

It may look odd or inappropriate to us, it’s really nothing related to sexual or intercourse behavior.

For example, babies love it when you rub their back or rock them in your lap. These are comforting activities that soothe our babies. 

Now, you need to understand that these “comforting”  activities are recognized by our children from a very early age (about 8 to 10 months). And, they react to it by showing calmness in return.

That’s why, whenever your baby is crying or scared, you can easily rock her in your lap to calm her down.

“Penis-pulling, touching, and humping are also pretty natural for toddlers,” Said Dr. Alan Greene

Mind you, when your baby is humping on his / her own, it means that nature is in play here. Your baby’s body is naturally running a cycle of self-soothing activities. 

So, don’t be panicked and relate the activity to sexual behavior.  Rather, you have to understand that it’s a completely harmless and normal process for a baby to calm himself/herself down by humping.

Why Does My Baby Hump When She Is Tired? 

Babies can do different types of behaviors for different reasons. However, pediatricians have indeed been able to pinpoint a few major reasons why your baby might be humping:

1. Self-soothing By Humping

Whenever your baby is tired, she needs some sort of soothing treatment to calm herself down and go to sleep. For example, you could rub her back slowly to make her calm and fall to sleep. 

Now, the reason why your baby is humping is that she needs to soothe herself when no one else is doing it for her. 

And, no matter how odd it might seem, doing pelvic thrusts to rub/massage the genital area is an amazing way of soothing the body. 

That’s why the activity of humping is nothing abnormal, rather sometimes it’s a perfectly necessary activity.

is it normal for my baby to hump?
is it normal for my baby to hump?

2. Humping For Attention Seeking

Although the above-mentioned explanation is enough to explain why babies do the humping, there are other external factors as well that can cause “humping “. 

For instance, you need to understand that babies are attention seekers. That means that babies love to get attention from their adults (parents and guardians).

That’s why, if anyone around the baby shows any particular extra expression after seeing the baby humping, it might subconsciously make the baby think that this activity is somewhat adored/given more attention by her adults. 

Due to this reason, the baby might be humping to get the attention of the adults. 

3. Learning From Other Kids

When your baby is with another child, it might have the tendency to copy the activity that the other child does. Thus, there’s a good chance that your baby has learned to do the humping from another child. 

For instance, maybe your child learned to do humping as a fun activity from another child and got positive pleasure out of it. And, that’s why she is humping all the time. 

4. Possible Skin Rashes In The Pelvic Area

Rashes or allergies can sometimes occur in the genital/pelvic areas. And, it can trigger the babies to do humping to get relief from the rashes. A quick tip is to use antibacterial wipes will give instant relief to your baby.

To avoid such condition, you can apply Aquaphor that contains petroleum jelly. It is treated very well for the baby with dry skin as it comes with more moisture lock ability.

In case you notice that your baby is humping a lot that seems like something highly unusual, you should promptly examine the genital and pelvic areas of your baby. 

If your baby indeed has rashes in that area, you may use a non-prescribed safe petroleum-based jelly called Bacitracin

baby humping when tired

How can I stop my girl from humping?

Well, in this section, we are going to tell you how you can stop your girl from humping. 

For you, we have listed down a few proven techniques that you can use to dissuade your baby from humping. 

So, consider trying them out one by one and find which works best for you. Then, you can stick to that technique until your baby completely forgets doing this activity. Here we go,,,

1. Distract Your Girls When She Is Humping

If you want to get your baby out of the habit of humping, what you can do is that you can distract your baby to do something else when you see her doing it.

For instance, you can call your baby by her name. Or, you may turn ON the TV cartoon in front of her. 

Also, you can immediately take her into your lap and gently rinse your fingers over her belly and back to give her a soothing sensation. 

These activities will distract your baby and make her forget the activity of humping. 

2. Find What Things Make Her Hump & Take Away Those Items

Babies tend to do the humping with various objects such as stuffed toys, pillows, etc. That’s why whenever babies get in touch with these objects, they might get the stimulus to do the humping. 

So, if you take away these objects, your baby will not get any external stimulus to start the humping activity. Consequently, she will slowly but surely forget to do humping. 

3. Participate In Self-Soothing

If your baby needs to self-soothe herself, you, as a parent, need to participate in that. That way, your baby will not need to do any humping activity to soothe herself. 

So, don’t forget to grab your baby from time to time and gently rinse your hand on her back or belly to give her a soothing stimulus.

Also, you can take her in your lap and do some playful activities like bouncing her in the air or gently shaking her in your lap. 

Doing these activities will surely have some positive impact on your baby, and she will not need to self-soothe herself by humping. 

4. Ignore The Behavior

In case your baby is doing the “humping”  to subconsciously attract your attention, she will automatically stop doing it when she realizes that this activity is not indeed getting your attention at all. 

That’s why, if you want your baby to stop humping, the best thing you can do is that you can ignore her when she does this behavior. 

When your baby notices that you are not giving her any extra attention for doing this activity, she might get discouraged and not do it anymore. 

Now, you have to remember that your baby might do the humping and, at the same time, even make some noises to get your attention. But, you shouldn’t look at your baby while humping, no matter what.

5. Give Her Plenty Of Positive Attention

As we have mentioned earlier, babies can do the humping to get the attention of their adults. Now, this fact indicates that your baby needs plenty of positive attention from you.

Therefore, don’t forget to spend some time with your baby in playful interactions. For example, you can sing a song for your baby from time to time or take her sightseeing into the park. 

These positive activities will encourage her to do various activities and dissuade her to spend time on self-soothing herself. 

6. Notice When She Is Doing The Humping

Babies tend to do humping at some particular times in a day. For instance, some babies do the humping before their nap time. On the other hand, some babies can do the humping when she’s suddenly awake as well.

Now, as a parent, what you need to do is notice exactly when your baby does the humping activity. Whenever you see your baby doing the humping, you’ll have to take her in your lap and soothe her skin with some gentle touches.

This will help her get soothed and deter her from doing the humping for self-soothing technique at night

Consistency Is The Key

Remember that consistency is the key to doing anything in the realm of child-rearing. That’s why you need to follow the above-mentioned techniques for a long time. And, you must not lose patience in the meantime. 

Will My Baby Stop Humping? 

Will My Baby Stop Humping
baby humping picture

Yes, you can be certain that your baby will stop humping on his/her own when no one inspires him/her for doing it.

As babies grow up, they will learn to use their hands to scratch/rub their genital areas whenever they feel itchy in that particular region. And, they won’t need to do humping to get self-relief. Also, baby rub their feet together as an self soothing activities.

As a result, slowly but surely, they will start to lessen the humping activity.

To be more specific, the general age when your baby might start humping is 8 to 10 months. And, you’ll see that your baby has stopped humping as soon as he/she can walk on his/her own.

That means humping is actually a predominant activity in toddlers. So, babies will generally stop humping when they start walking.

Did My Baby Learn To Do Humping From Someone Else?

Although this is a very uncommon phenomenon, babies can copy the pelvic thrusting activity by seeing other adults doing it.

For example, when you are having sexual intercourse with your partner and the baby accidentally woke up and saw you, it might have noticed the pelvic thrusting activity from you.

In these cases, your baby can, later on, imitate this activity (obviously without knowing what it means). Now, even if this indeed happens, there’s no need for you to feel bad or embarrassed about the situation.

It’s because a parent’s life is already so stressful as it is. Every adult needs to take some time out of their daily routine to have healthy physical intercourse with their partner.

And, during the time of doing the necessary physical intercourse activity, it’s sometimes impossible to prevent babies from waking and accidentally seeing you doing the pelvic thrusting activity.

Therefore, this is not a bad thing at all. However, it’s better for you, as a parent, to be utmost careful while doing the physical intercourse so that your child does not see it.

When Does Your Baby Usually Hump? 

Although humping is an activity that babies usually do randomly, pediatric experts have found out some common time slots when babies majorly do these activities. 

Humping Time In The 24-hour Cycle:

In a day, your baby will most likely do the humping when she’s tired and needs to get asleep. Before going to sleep, she may do the humping for 3 to 5 minutes and self-soothe herself. As a result, it gets easier for her to fall asleep.

On the other hand, your baby might also do the humping when she’s just awake from her sleep. She might subconsciously do the humping in order to slowly get herself up from sleep.

Other than the above-mentioned circumstances, your baby might also do humping anytime in the day when she needs to scratch or self-soothe herself.

Humping Age

Babies usually do the humping as soon as they start crawling as a toddler. More specifically, you may see babies starting to hump from as early as 6 months of age. This habit can stay with the baby for as long as up to 5 to 6 years of age. 

My 2-Year-Old Daughter Humps Everything: What To Do?

Seeing your baby doing the humping with everything they can get their hands on can be a bit uncomfortable for you. But, you need to understand that a 2-year-old cannot tell the difference between a toy and a pillow. 

What’s more, as we have already indicated above, the humping activity is completely normal, and it’s very commonly seen in babies. 

Now, if you want your 2-year-old daughter to stop humping, you can use the tricks that we have mentioned to discourage her from doing this activity.

More importantly, you, as a parent, should know that there’s nothing wrong with this activity. And, there’s nothing wrong with you trying to stop it either. 

That’s why you need to ensure you’re not panicked to see your baby doing the humping.

Instead, stay calm and let your baby run its course in doing the humping activity. And, in the meantime, you can keep using the tips we have mentioned above to discourage your baby from humping. 

That way, you can rest assured that your baby will stop doing the humping very soon. 


1. Is Humping Dangerous For My Baby?

Although the activity of “humping” is not dangerous, doing this activity in front of adults outside the family can be dangerous. For example, any adult seeing your baby might actually mistakenly encourage your baby to do the humping even more.

As a result, your baby might get the habit of humping without any necessary reasons. This can both be physically exhausting for your baby and can be damaging for the baby’s skin in the genital areas. 

2. Why do some babies need to hump things to fall asleep?

Babies need to be in the most comfortable position to fall asleep. And, the humping position is the exact position that babies had been in when they were in the mother’s womb. That’s why some babies need to hump things to fall asleep fast. 

The other reason why some babies need to hump before falling asleep is that humping provides some sort of physical exhaustion stimulus to the baby. As a result, they get fast asleep. 

3. How are you supposed to react when your toddler daughter is “humping” things?

To be honest, you should not react when your toddler is humping things. It’s because giving a particular reaction whenever your toddler is humping will encourage him/her. Or, he/she might think that this activity is getting him positive attention from adults.

Therefore, the best way to go about this situation is to completely ignore the child when he is humping things. However, to discourage your toddler from doing it, you can also use the tips we have mentioned in the above subsections. 

4. Why do babies rub their face when they’re tired?

The reason some babies rub their face on the pillow or the bed when they’re tired is that they want to have a self-soothing sensation before going to sleep. Babies can do this activity both consciously and subconsciously.

On top of that, babies love when someone gently touches their head or forehead. And, rubbing their face on the pillow is an exact imitation of that activity. That’s why babies sometimes rub their faces to get that same kind of compassionate sensation on their own. 

Final Words

That’s all there’s to it, people.

To sum it all up, why is your baby humping? Well, it’s because it is a natural process and some babies tend to do this. Other than this, there is generally no other reason to get concerned about it.

Furthermore, now that you know all the explanations behind this phenomenon, you as a parent have nothing to worry about. Best of luck to you and your child!!

Sarah, a health writer and editor since 2014, is an adoring wife and dedicated mother to 2 daughters and 1 son. As the creator of Babies Plannet, she combines her extensive expertise with her maternal dedication to provide essential care and safety advice for infants, nurturing their well-being and happiness. Her writing explores topics like fitness, pregnancy, and women's healthy lifestyles.

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