My toddler puts everything in her mouth! How can I stop this?

How can I stop my toddler from putting everything her mouth? Anything she finds goes right to her mouth! Artwork, stuff on the floor, flowers and plants, paper, plastic... Even if it's clean she will find something to go in her mouth. Please help!

Submitted by nikitabynoe

At a certain stage of development, most children are likely to put everything into their mouths! This pattern would appear to be something that is wired into their brains. Luckily, this tendency will pass in a few weeks or months as the little one's nervous system matures and moves on to another behavioral pattern. Naturally, the parent doesn't feel enthusiastic about this behavior--so that the fact that you (of course!) don't applaud and look pleased every time your daughter does this, will help phase out this behavior. You don't need to show disapproval--but you can say kindly, "Oh no no, we don't eat plants" as you rescue the plant from being mouthed; giving this information can't hurt. A child in this situation is really too little to make use of instructions in a reliable way, however, so trying to explain a "rule" is not really going to help. Making this an issue or a power-struggle wouldn't work either. She will just have to outgrow this on her own.

 

It might would be a good idea for your daughter use something harmless that she can keep handy while she is in the midst of this phase. Is there some snack food or favorite toy or beloved rag that she might like to carry around, so that she has something to put in her mouth when she likes? And, of course, it is important to clear the area where she plays so that you minimize the chances of her putting something into her mouth that might hurt her. Safe spaces and watchful supervision are all you can do for the moment. This will pass.

Answered by EBerger
Community Answers (9)

Also, children might have the need for sensory input, in this case oral stimulation. You can replace random objects with safe chewable toys, or crackers, or you can massage their gums inside and out with your thumb and index fingers, gently. Make sure not to go in with long or Sharp nails. You can put gloves on. And then wet them with water before starting the massage. start with the upper gums then proceed to the button, and then do each cheek. Same order for the outside of the mouth.
Submitted by tssipa

Children learn through exploration, and the explore with their senses: touching with hands, smelling with their nose, tasting with their mouth. It is our responsibility to guide and shape them on their adventure. Talk and reason with you toddlers. Give them explanations about why we don't put random objects in our mouth. Try to keep you explanations short and simple, at the level they can understand. Stella Babakhanova, mother of 3 &2y/olds.
Submitted by tssipa

i have to agree with all who posted earlier if it's a phase then my 22 mos old is still in the zone..?? He just chewed a part of his book and ran to show me and help him take it out of his mouth.. earlier today he tried to swallow a sall pebble?? I am so concerned hope this goes away soon..
Submitted by golsangam

I don't know if I would call it a phase that lasts only weeks or months. My child is 15 months old and ever since he was able to as a baby he has always put everything in his mouth! I have to be careful when he is around paper or cardboard since most often he just rips it and tries to eat it, same with crayons and markers...
Submitted by ceres77

It feel the same way my son is 17mo and everything goes in his mouth.I tried the method given to have something there but,I happen to know due to him being so curious he still tends to explore his surroundings.Sometimes I am so surprised that I might say Ahhh! a little loud and startle him. And I know that can't be good please help us figure this out
Submitted by ZZmac3000

I do not agree with the expert. My son is 27 months and still puts most everything in his mouth; it has not passed. No matter where we are or what it is he will experiment by putting it in his mouth; he may spit it out, but it will go in. Any suggestions from someone with experience?
Submitted by mreiter713

Toddlers use their mouth to explore and your toddler is just exploring their world. Babies and Toddlers have lots of little nerves on their tongue and in their mouth and they can feel every bit of what they put in their mouth. Although you wouldn't want to let them put things that could be dangerous into their mouths, if it is a toy or something that can't hurt them, allow them to explore. Everything is washable!
Submitted by mkschmader

Toddler is experimenting. What the eyes saw and the hands felt needs to be tasted. 5 senses being put to work in innocence. There is no right/wrong or good/bad. Parents must keep floor clean, nothing reachable and tugged at or picked on, give safe big items to be held or placed in mouth or hard rusk biscuits to place in mouth (messy though, but prepare place). Maybe this "mouthing" is also prelude to "teething".
Submitted by kthiru