Why babies put things in their mouth ?
This process of putting everything in their mouths is called mouthing and it is a sign that the baby is growing normally, and is exhibiting the normal signs of curiosity and interest in her surroundings that babies at their age do.
Why do babies put everything in their mouth?
It takes time before babies develop all their senses fully. Touch and taste are the first senses to develop. Babies use these senses to explore their surroundings. They do so by clutching at everything within their reach and subsequently putting it in their mouths. By doing so, they can understand the shape and texture of the object. This shows that the baby is showing an interest in their surroundings, which is a positive sign for the normal development of the child. Babies take more information through their mouth than any other sense by 6months.
It's also a good sign of their cognitive development as grasping and bringing things to their mouth requires vision and motor skills coordination.
When does it start ?
Babies typically start mouthing by 3-4 months, once they’re able to bring their hands to their mouths and suck on their fingers. You can try putting them in side lying position so their hands are together in front of their face.
Slowly as they hand-eye coordination advances, your baby will start to reach, grasp and mouth intentionally.
How it benefits your baby?
- It makes it easier to introduce solid food in the future - When your baby is mouthing teethers and toys, they are getting exposed to a wide variety of textures, tastes, and temperatures. That means it’s going to be easier for them to accept textured food in the future.
- It helps to strengthen your baby’s jaw, cheek, and tongue muscles - When they’re mouthing toys, their cheeks, jaw, and tongue are moving in lots of fun different ways to explore that toy. This is important because it makes them stronger so that when your little one starts to eat food, they can more easily manipulate that food in their mouth.
- Helps in speech development - Mouthing may influence consonant production by bringing about vocal tract closure (i.e. by interrupting the airflow as babies use their voices), and by affecting changes in the way kids articulate sounds in association with the position, shape and movements of the objects being mouthed. Mouthing may encourage young kids to explore different consonants by giving them multimodal feedback (e.g. sounds, touches) as they vocalise while mouthing.
How to support mouthing ?
- Provide lots of safe toys with various textures soft, hard, smooth to mouth and gnaw on.
- Make it cold. Place a toy/cloth in the freezer so they can experience different temperature.
- If your baby can’t bring an object to her mouth on her own, you can gently hold it there for her to mouth and gnaw.
- We recommend parents supervision when baby is mouthing and keep mouthing objects clean.