My 10 Month Old Constantly Hums While She Is Sleeping

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  • September 18, 2014
baby sleep problem

baby sleep problem

Hi, Kim West, The Sleep Lady and today, I’m going help Britt with her unique baby sleep problem. She wrote in the following:  

“Can you please explain why my now 10-month old will make a noise like a constant hum or whine while she’s sleeping. Physically, there’s nothing wrong with her because we keep taking her to the doctors. I’ve tried giving her Motrin for any pains or discomfort she may be having with teething but she still makes this sound.

“She also does it when she’s falling asleep. We’ve had to move her twin sister in to our room because she keeps waking her up. Any idea what this may be and how we can help her stay sound asleep. Thanks so much. Britt, Sleepless in Springfield.”

Britt, I’m really glad that you asked about your baby sleep problem! This is actually a very unique question. I have gotten it before but I’ve never answered it in a vlog.

The humming could be the way your baby self-soothes.

Particularly if you did a lot of humming, singing, “shh shh”ing, or bouncing that created a light vibrational experience for her and that’s what she associates with self-soothing and putting herself to sleep. In cases like that, I have seen children hum themselves to sleep. It’s like they are re-creating that earlier experience that reminds them of how they used to go to sleep when they were younger.

Honestly, I think that’s actually pretty cool if your child is doing that — and good for her! It’s just like when children rock themselves to sleep or sing themselves to sleep. The only thing that makes me think that maybe that’s not what she’s doing — or it’s a combination — is that you said she does it the whole time that she’s sleeping and not just at bedtime.

This is an important question:

Is she making this noise just when she is initially going to sleep?

Or is it happening throughout the night?  So, let’s assume it’s happening pretty consistently throughout the night.  If it’s occurring for 80-90% of the night, then I recommend you take her to see an ENT (Ear Nose and Throat doctor) or a pediatric pulmonologist.

You may want to check out whether she has a floppy trachea or larynx, which reportedly most babies will outgrow, but you still want to rule it out. Sometimes when a baby has this it will create loud breathing when they are lying down.

Rule Out Reflux

Your doctor(s) may also want to rule out reflux. That can inflame her throat and apparently cause this floppy trachea. I recommend you log how often it’s happening. Maybe even set an alarm for a few nights and listen to whether you hear her making this noise throughout the night. Make note of what position she is sleeping on: side, back, tummy, etc. Also note whether you hear it during the day and what position she is in. Bring these logs and notes to your doctor or the specialist.

Regarding her waking her twin sister, you may want to consider buying a white noise machine and putting it near the twin sister’s bed to help screen the sound of her sister’s humming.

Video filmed by In Focus Studios

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

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