Why is my baby putting almost everyting in his mouth?
You might have observed your baby mouthing every possible thing he has within his reach, you may have asked yourself why they put everything from papers to the strap of their shoes in their mouths! It’s a natural impulse, but why? And when will it stop? Oral sensory seeking behaviour, or mouthing items, is a normal behaviour in babies and infants. They use sucking to help to calm themselves and self soothe. This self-soothing can also be called self-regualtion It explains why dummies or pacifiers work so well to help calm down an upset baby. Sucking is also an important survival reflex, which is essential for feeding. There has been many research studies done showing the importance of mouthing at an infant stage. Let’s try to understand the science behind this.
There are more nerve endings in a baby's mouth per square millimetre than any other part of their body. If they want to learn about or explore a new object, putting it into their mouth is an effective way to learn about it.The nerve cells that transmit signals to the brain are myelinated in the mouth from birth. This means those cells are coated in a sheath that allows them to get information faster. Many other cells we have are not myelinated until adolescence. This means that for babies, exploration with the mouth is an extremely efficient way of learning.
When will my baby stop putting everything in their mouth?
Babies typically stop putting everything in their mouths when they start having more control over their hands. There is a significant decrease in toy mouthing after 18 months, but the same study noted that there is variety among children. Some toddlers are more mouth-oriented than others. It is not unusual for a 3-year old to want to see how things feel in their mouth.
How can I stop my baby from putting everything in their mouth?
You don’t need to prevent your baby from putting toys and other objects in their mouth; you just need to make sure they only have access to safe items. Any toy that is small enough to fit through a 1-1/4-inch circle or is smaller than 2-1/4 inches long is unsafe for children under 4 years old. Parents should always be mindful of age recommendations on toy packages
If you believe your baby is teething because of aggressive mouthing you can offer comfort with a frozen teething toy, a chilled washcloth they can bite on, or even a fresh food feeder filled with cool or frozen fruits or berries.