Why does my baby put everything in her mouth?
Until she is about seven months old your baby can’t really use her hands and fingers to explore objects. She can grip objects with her hands but she doesn’t have the ability to stroke, poke or prod with her fingers yet.
However, your baby can control her lips and tongue so she can mouth and gum objects as she pleases. In fact her mouth has more nerve endings per square millimetre than any other part of her body.
If she really wants to find out what something feels like, she puts it in her mouth. If you don’t want something to go into your baby’s mouth, don’t leave it where she can get hold of it!
Young babies move their fists, and consequently the toy they are holding, to their mouth and start exploring from there. Be careful about what objects your baby has within reach and be sure that she cannot push something down her throat, or into her eye, accidentally. If an object is small enough to fit into your baby’s mouth don’t let her have it as it could cause her to choke.
Your baby is likely to go on putting things into her mouth well into her second year. However by nine months to 10 months she will start to use her hands more. By 12 months she will become increasingly interested in what her toys can do.
By the time she’s two your child will use her fingers to explore most of the time.
Once she is mobile you need to be careful about the toys she plays with, especially if she has older brothers or sisters. Toys for older children often contain small parts which could cause your baby to choke if swallowed.
By the age of three, most children have stopped putting objects into their mouths.
There are a couple of things you might wish did make their way to your baby’s mouth more easily, her food and drink!
Babies like to add to what they know about the food they eat, and the liquids they drink, by examining them with their hands. Your baby might like to pick up peas, let her fingers puddle in her juice or enjoy the feeling of squishing pasta between her fingers. Mealtimes can be messy for some time.
Babies often mouth toys more when a new tooth is just breaking through the gum. This gnawing at objects is also often accompanied by drooling, and your baby may be a bit out of sorts. Cutting a new tooth can be painful. Try giving your baby a teething ring that has been chilled in the fridge for some relief.