My child puts everything in her mouth. What can I do?

During infancy, a child’s mouth is her main source of pleasure and satisfaction. She enjoys sucking at the breast or bottle, drinking warm milk, and sucking on her fingers or thumb. Starting at about six months, she also gets oral enjoyment and relief from teething by sucking and biting on objects around her.

Babies don’t just put things in their mouths for pleasure or comfort, though – they also use their mouths for exploration. They learn about objects by tasting them, feeling their texture, and experimenting with them. Until a child is about two years old, many things that she plays with will eventually go into her mouth. She’ll pick up things from the floor, chew on her stroller safety strap, and even try to put her parents’ keys in her mouth.

Because she can’t tell what are safe or unsafe, parents have to be very watchful. If your child is at this oral stage, you must pick up pieces of fuzz, crumbs, and small toys so she will not accidentally choke on them. You also have to be sure that the objects she puts in her mouth are clean.

This developmental phase may seem long and tiresome to you, but if you start pulling safe objects out of your child’s mouth, or telling her that “only food should go in your mouth”, you will be depriving her of pleasure and a chance to explore. Try instead to realize and accept the fact that she has to put objects in her mouth because that’s a major way she learns about her environment.

Picture Credit : Google