Why do babies put everything in their mouth? Babies’ sucking their fingers or hands is something that is just second nature to babies. You can try very hard to get them to drop this little habit, but you can’t win, Mama! So what’s the next best thing Mamas can do? Let’s find out below!
Table of Contents
Skip ahead to any section you find the most interesting!
Are you wondering why your little one is so fascinated by her cute little fingers, your mobile phone you rarely clean, a random paper, or the remote control that’s never been disinfected? The answer is simple: it’s all part of their learning and development.
Did you know that this little milestone actually has a name? It’s called baby mouthing. Sure, your baby will most likely put the most random stuff inside their mouth, but baby mouthing actually helps them get stronger and stay healthy. Interesting, right? Let’s learn more about why babies put everything in their mouths and what you can do about it.
Reasons Why Do Babies Put Everything In Their Mouths
1. They could be teething
We don’t remember how teething actually feels, but our Mamas and Grandmamas have most likely warned us that it can be uncomfortable for babies. If you notice your little one gnawing and biting on anything—especially tough objects—they’re most likely teething and finding relief from their painful gums.
Don’t know if your baby is teething? Watch out for these signs of teething in babies!
2. They could be hungry
In younger babies, sucking on hands can be a hunger cue as well. If it’s been a while since your baby’s last bottle, it may be time for another feed. This is especially true if accompanied by other hunger cues like fussiness, crying, or flailing their limbs.
3. They’re exploring the world
For babies, putting stuff in their mouth is their way of exploring the world. According to Healthline, this is because they can’t “get the feel of things with their hands and fingertips” like older children would. As such, they rely on their lips and mouths to discover the world around them.
If you think about it, it makes sense since a baby’s mouth “has more nerve endings per square millimetre than any other part of the body,” writes child development expert Dorothy Einon.
4. They’re soothing themselves
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlight that at 2 months, babies can usually calm themselves down, and this may be through putting their hands to their mouths. Baby mouthing can actually be quite soothing and relaxing for babies.
Is it Safe for Babies To Put Everything in Their Mouths?
Is it normal for babies to put everything in their mouths? Yes. But is it safe? Not always. As Mamas, it’s our responsibility to keep their baby mouthing adventures on the safe side. With babies, we must be vigilant and watchful of what they put in their mouths. Here are a few things we should always look out for:
1. Choking hazards
Choking hazards like little toys or even small parts of bigger toys. Foods can be choking hazards as well. Watch out for grapes, popcorn, nuts, gum, marshmallows, cheese, and fruit chunks.
2. Poisonous chemicals, objects & liquids
From battery and soap to kitty litter and alcohol, these can be extremely dangerous to babies. Once your little one starts crawling and getting more mobile, keep household detergents and other hazardous chemicals away from their reach. Lock them in a cabinet if you must, Mama because you never know just what your little one can get their hands on. Their hands may be tiny, but they sure are stealthy!
3. Suffocation hazards
Plastic bags or scarves hanging around your home may seem harmless, but they can also be dangerous to your little one. Keep them away from their reach as babies can get stuck or tangled in them.
What Else Can You Do To Keep Your Baby Safe?
When babies put everything in their mouth, it’s just them being babies. However, they also run the risk of getting sick from invisible germs lurking in everyday objects. What can we do about it? Keep their hands clean and germ-free with an alcohol-free hand sanitiser and regularly disinfect their play area with a baby-safe disinfectant.
Just keep these tips in mind, Mama, and remember that they will grow out of it one day. Soon enough, all your worries will be a bygone memory. But for now, watch them like a hawk, teach them good hand hygiene, and ensure your home is as safe as it can be.
Mama's Choice Team
A team of passionate writers, young mamas, and creative superheroes who help mamas face motherhood one educational article at a time!