Written by Editorial Team
Can’t find daddy’s wallet? Before panicking, see if the little one is licking and feeling the leathery surface. Where is mama’s favorite hair clip? Most likely, it is lying somewhere near the baby smeared with saliva. Starting at six months, most parents complain about how their baby seems to be putting things in the mouth.
Mouthing is a natural part of a baby’s growth and may aid in the development of a stronger immune system. Let us try to understand why babies do this and how to stop this potentially dangerous habit.
In This Article
Your babies’ fingers are not very useful yet. But their hands are. This means that babies can reach out for things, they can grab them, and then can even bring them closer – but they cannot really use their fingers to explore the objects yet.
Their mouths and tongues, on the other hand, are adept to use freely. So, in order to satisfy their curiosity and explore the object in hand, they use tongues instead of fingers.
Moreover, their tongues are super sensitive with numerous nerve endings – so, putting something inside the mouth is the easiest way babies can “feel” the texture of anything. It is simply a behavioral pattern that all babies go through, and it allows them to explore and know the stuff lying around.
Baby mouthing is a natural aspect of a baby’s growth and may aid in the development of a stronger immune system. Baby mouthing promotes learning and fulfils your baby’s natural curiosity. In general, it is safe and should not be discouraged. Of course, you can’t simply let your infant put anything in their mouth.
The following are some of the dangers associated with babies putting everything in their mouths
This is one of the biggest dangers of babies taking everything to their mouths. If the object the baby is putting in the mouth is small enough to fit into the baby’s mouth, then there is a good chance he/she might swallow it accidentally. This increases the risk of choking greatly as your baby’s airway is still so tiny.
Read more about infant choking here – Infant Choking – Hazards, Symptoms, Prevention And First Aid
Not all items in your house are baby-safe. In fact, most items are not safe for babies. Imagine a baby sucking on a leaking battery! Or a medicine tube! Or washing soap! Or lipstick!!!
Click here to read about potential poisonous things in your house.
Now sucking on a rattle or a ball will definitely not make your baby ill. However, during group plays, when your baby sucks on something another baby (who is unwell) has sucked, then the chances of infections spreading are very high,
As we said earlier, babies do this mainly because their dexterity is still low. They cannot freely move their fingers to feel, prod and stroke something. As they grow older, they become smarter at using their fingers. As they become experts in prodding and feeling with wither fingers, they become less likely to take something to their mouths.
Generally, kids achieve this by the time they are two years old. Usually, by the time they are three, most kids would definitely stop putting things in their mouths. As of now, you need to ensure that your baby’s play area is safe from objects that could pose a potential danger and be watchful. So, meanwhile, what can you do?
Even if your baby benefits from mouthing, you are concerned about his well-being and wish to prevent any harm. Following are the top three tips to stop babies from putting everything in their mouths:
Well, one way you can ensure they do not put everything in their mouth is to ensure they do not have access to anything! Keep items that are toxic and choking hazards well out of the way of your child. Clearing just the bedroom is not enough. Remember your baby can crawl. It is a good idea for you to get down to the ground (at your baby’s level) and look around the house to see what things the babies can reach. You should also tell everyone else in the house, especially other kids, to ensure they do not put dangerous items on the floor.
Another way to ensure they do not put everything in their mouth is to give them something harmless to put in their mouth. There are many toys like teethers that are available in the market that are safe for your baby to suck on. Invest in a few of them (as the baby might get tired of the same toy) in different colors, shapes, and textures. And put it all around the baby.
Till an age when babies are smart enough to understand the dangers of licking and swallowing random things, remember that they are accidents about to happen. Remember, they are explorative and creative. Even if you think you have moved everything dangerous out of the way, they might still find something to nibble on! So, always ensure that there is someone who is looking after the child.
Babies learn and grow by exploring their world via their mouths. To add to that, it helps their bodies become stronger and more competent. However, there are several circumstances when a newborn mouthing the wrong things might be harmful or cause disease. You should always assume that your baby will try to grab at everything that is within reach. Be aware of where they are and what they may be able to get hold of. Use a loving but firm “No” to teach your infant what is and is not safe to put in his or her mouth.
Children who have autism spectrum disorder often engage in the practice known as “mouthing,” which includes placing a non-edible item into their mouths with the goal of eliciting a sense of oral stimulation.
Babies explore the world by placing objects in their mouths, even their own feet when they discover them. In addition to fostering bodily awareness, toe sucking is relaxing and gratifying for your child.
Babies’ natural tendency to explore their environment by placing items in their mouths, known as mouthing, is seen in the majority of infants.
With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.
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