Last updated on April 4th, 2024

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Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

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Baby Constantly Hums While Sleeping? — Not All That Uncommon…

A mom named Britt wrote in about her baby who constantly hums while sleeping. It might sound uncommon, but believe it or not, it isn’t! I’ll help this mom get to the bottom of why her baby is humming. She wrote:

“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 doctor. 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.”

hums while sleeping

Perhaps She Hums While Sleeping to Self-Soothe

Particularly if you did a lot of humming, singing, “shusshing”, or bouncing that created a light vibrational experience for her, she may be doing this to self-soothe. 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. That’s an important distinction.

Self-soothing is a huge part of sleep training.
Read: Drowsy But Awake — The Cornerstone of Successful Sleep Training

She Hums While Sleeping All Night Long?

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.

hums while sleeping
If one twin keeps the other twin awake, try a white noise machine in their shared room.

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.

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Author: Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

My name is Kim West, and I’m the mother of two beautiful girls, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 21 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. My sleep journey began when I started experimenting with gently shaping my daughter’s sleep by not following the conventional wisdom at the time. After having success (and then more success with my second daughter!), I began helping family and friends and my step-by-step method spread like wildfire, exactly like an excellent night of sleep for a tired parent should!