Once a baby is born, the development process is breathtaking, and every parent will look forward to guiding the baby and being there always. A baby starts by exploring the environment to learn from it. As the immune system develops during the first months, the baby will use all the senses, sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. With the tiny hands, the baby will start grasping things and moving them to the mouth. This exploration process is called mouthing. If you have noticed that your baby is putting everything in his/her mouth, worry not as it is normal. below is why babies put stuff in their mouths and what to do about it.
Why do babies put every object in their mouths?
It is usual for a parent to prevent the baby from putting toys and everything else in their mouth. However, the mouthing process is normal, and it is a stage that every baby has to pass through. During this stage, the baby is exploring by using their hands and mouth to learn the different textures, shapes, smells, sounds, tastes, etc.
Typically, babies start putting things in their mouths from seven months of age. Some start as early as four months. They will begin by putting their fists and some even their feet. After some time, they will start grabbing some things, such as toys, and put them into their mouth. The exploration process continues from grabbing, to shoving, patting, and swatting, etc.
The process of putting things into their mouths helps babies develop and strengthen their oral muscles. It also helps in jaw, tongue, and cheek coordination. Babies will learn to suck their thumb at this mouthing stage, which is their way of communication and responding. However, as a parent, you need to discourage prolonged thumb sucking as it has many adverse effects.
Some risks of babies putting things in their mouths
While mouthing is a critical stage, there is a need to keep away objects when the bay starts to crawl and walk. This is because putting objects in their mouth poses some risks – you can avoid this as a parent. Among the many risks include choking. Choking is very dangerous for babies, and it can cause pain and lots of discomfort. To prevent this, ensure there are no small objects around the baby or within their reach. Another common risk is infection. Since stopping mouthing is babies is almost impossible, you need to ensure that you disinfect baby toys as well as the surface where they interact and play. This way, you will be sure even if they suck their thumbs and put toys into their mouths, the risks of infection are low.
How to prevent babies from putting everything into their mouth?
Keep small objects away.
Before you leave the baby on their playmat to play, ensure there are no mouth-sized objects around. Only let the baby play with some disinfected toys, which will cause no harm even if they put in their mouth. However, remember the disinfection of toys is by use of boiled water and not chemicals.
Replace harmful objects with safe objects
While putting things in their mouth can pose a danger, it is essential to note that mouthing comes naturally, and it is vital. Therefore, when you observe the baby is trying to put unsafe objects in their mouth, replace that with safe objects, such as clean toys.
With older kids, you can try “no” instruction. Teach them what no means. This way, they can stop mouthing unsafe things when they are told not to. However, be gentle with your instructions not to scare the baby.
It is normal for a baby to put objects in his/her mouth when teething. Instead of letting them use anything they get, you can introduce a teether. It is easy to clean and disinfect a teether. A Teether is also gentle and comfortable on the baby besides being safe.
You can never stop the mouthing process, but you can make it fun. Ensure the baby environment is clean and provide clean objects for the mouthing process. It is a critical process, and you should not be too hard on your baby. Visit residencyinmotherhood.com for more tips and discussions.