Does your baby put everything he lifts into his mouth? Want to know how to stop him? Read on….
It’s a well-known fact that babies just LOVE to pop everything they lift into their mouths. From toys to stones, pieces of paper to crayons….in they go!
But have you ever wondered why?
Well, the fact is that your baby’s mouth has more nerve endings per square millimetre than any other part of his body. So, for that reason, when he encounters something new – be it a toy, a bit of muck or your new scarf, his eye will immediately be drawn to this new object and, hey presto, into his mouth it goes to be investigated!
Young babies just love to investigate the world around them and by using their mouths they learn all about different shapes and textures. They learn about what tastes good and not so good…about what feels good and not so good….all with one wee taste or chew.
Another reason why they like to put new objects into their mouths is because, until they’re about seven months old, babies can’t really use their hands or fingers to explore objects by poking or prodding them and so will prefer to suck or ‘gum’ objects.
Obviously your concerns about your baby doing this are many and varied…
Naturally your major concern if your baby does do this is that he will choke, so, for that reason, you should always ensure that your baby never has anything around him that’s small enough to be fully fitted into his mouth. One way of checking whether an item is safe enough is by seeing if it will fit into the inside of a toilet roll holder. If it fits easily through then it’s too small for your baby to put it safely into his mouth.
You need to be particularly careful if you have older children as well as older kids’ toys often contain small parts. If they’re all playing together, you need to watch that your baby doesn’t pick up a sibling’s toy and pop it into his mouth as it could cause him to choke.
Germs are another concern parents have. One minute your baby is pushing a ball across the floor and the next he’s sucking on it, giving him lots of fun and you palpitations. Don’t panic! Your baby isn’t likely to become ill through sucking on his toys. He’s more likely to become ill through bacteria and viruses from other kids.
One thing you do need to do is to make sure that you keep anything potentially poisonous out of your baby’s reach. Obviously it goes without saying that you keep all detergents or cleaning fluids well out of reach or locked away. (Laundry detergent capsules are a particular danger for young kids as they look like sweeties to a child.)
Plants are another potential danger, since some plants have poisonous berries or leaves, so check that the ones you have in your home are safe.
So, if your baby is prone to popping items into his mouth, what can you do to ensure that he’s safe?
Well, apart from the above tips about ensuring your baby’s safety, there really isn’t much you can do, to be honest. Some babies will continue putting things into their mouths well into their second year, although, by about nine months, you’ll probably find that your baby will have started to use his hands more to find out exactly what his toys can do – as opposed to what they taste like!