The instinct of the babies is to explore the world around as he or she grows. Babies will touch, see, smell, and hear to learn about the surroundings. Those little hands will first hold a certain object and then move straight to the mouth. This process is called “Mouthing.” If you are baby is doing the same, then you should know that it is completely normal. So, let’s have a look at why babies do this and what are the possible risks associated with this habit and what preventive actions you can take against it.
Why Do Babies Put Things In The Mouth?
As a parent, you will surely be worried about the mouthing of your baby. However, this process is completely normal as the baby will do that in the initial years to learn to touch, seeing, hearing, tasting, and holding objects. This is a way of exploration for the babies. The lips and tongue of the baby are the most sensitive part of the body, and they are the parts on which the little one has relatively more control. They have little control over holding and stroking the objects. Therefore, whenever your baby wants to explore something, she tends to put it in her mouth. This will give them an idea about the taste, shape, and texture of that object.
Toddlers put their fists inside their mouth in the beginning. Some even put their feet inside their mouths when they are around seven months old. As time passes by, the hands become capable of holding an object and, thus, start the exploration of outer objects. You will also see many babies suck thumbs as it is one of the ways of conveying boredom, hunger, and other responses. However, most mothers disavow this habit as thumb such for a longer period will have certain unwanted consequences.
Until What Age Do Babies Continue Mouthing?
Babies are more likely to continue mouthing during the initial two years of their life. After that age, they have more control over their hands and fingers and will start to use it more than the mouth. However, some babies tend to continue mouthing for a little longer. Yet, you don’t need to worry unnecessarily as your little one will eventually outgrow this phase. More often, by the age of three, most kids will stop the habit of putting objects into their mouths. In case your child continues mouthing and sucking his thumb even after his or her fourth birthday, it should be taken to the attention of the doctor.
What Are The Dangers Of Putting Things In The Mouth?
Even though your little one will outgrow this phase soon enough when he or she is in this phase, they may come across certain dangers:
a) Babies Could Choke:
One of the biggest threats of mouthing of your baby is choking. You have to ensure that a small object doesn’t reach the hands of your baby. However, this task will not be as easy as it seems. You have to get down on the floor in search of objects as per the eye level of your baby. Take a toilet paper tube and pass the object through it. If the objects get passed the tube, then it will be considered unsafe. Also, look out for the objects with rough edges. Moreover, the toys of the baby could break, and various glass objects can pose a threat to the baby’s health while they will be explored. Keep them at bay from the baby’s reach as they could cause bruises, scratches, and also accidents.
b) Babies Could Be Poisoned:
Mouthing is one of those processes which are very hard to stop. Your baby will not stop only by putting objects in the mouth which he or she gathered by the hands; he or she will also try to lick objects from the floor. Now, how can you prevent your baby from becoming the prey of viruses and germs? Well, the best thing you can do is maintain the cleanliness of your home. You have to keep the floor of your house clean and also the surfaces of the toys your baby use. In this way, you will able to ensure that your baby is safe from the germs.
c) Babies Could Get Infected During Group Play:
Playing with a group has many positive results. However, it is also a way your baby could get affected by diseases. When your baby licks the toys of a sick child, then he will get caught by the diseases. Therefore, you have to ensure that you clean the toys of your baby properly and use disinfectants and then allow the baby to play in the group. This group play will be the first phase of making your baby socialized, and so, you should not prevent it.
3 Tips To Stop Babies From Putting Everything In Mouth
1. Move The Things You Do Not Want In Your Child’s Mouth Out Of The Way:
Mouthing is a great learning curve for your baby. However, you may not want him or her to taste everything or put everything in the mouth. One of the ideal ways of ensuring your baby is not mouthing objects which you don’t want in his or her mouth is to keep the object far away from the baby’s reach. Objects which possess choking or toxic threats should be kept away from your child. If you think that only cleaning the bedroom will be enough, then you are wrong because your baby can reach other places by crawling on the floor as well. If you have other kids at home, then you should tell them as well as not to keep dangerous objects on the floor.
2. Give Something Safe For Them To Chew On:
You can give your baby something else to chew, which will be safe. There are objects like teether available on the market, which is safe for the babies to suck. Investing in them to ensure safety will be the right way to go.
There has to be someone supervising the baby in this mouthing phase until the baby learns, which is good and which is bad. If you allow the explorer in your baby to spread the wings in a full-fledged way, then there are chances of accidents happening. Therefore, ensure that your baby is under the supervision of someone when he is putting a certain object in the mouth.
The process of mouthing will last for a while, and it can be a safe and secure explorative journey with the collaboration of you and your baby. Not panic too much about the germs, take necessary measures, and let your baby explore the world in which he or she will spend the whole life.