It will take a wee while longer for the strength and coordination to actually grasp a toy but when they do, that’ll be in the mouth as well. People will start asking if your baby is already teething when they see this in action but usually it’s not until around the 6 month mark that first teeth erupt.
Why does everything go in the mouth?
Babies love to explore. In fact, it’s their job! To make sense of the world around them, your baby will use all their senses to start to piece together their environment. Putting things in their mouth is a matter of exploration.
First it’s fingers and hands (some babies will do this very early on); next it might be trying to put your hands in their mouth; then it’ll be gnawing on fists and sucking on clothes, the baby carrier, harness when buckled into a swing or stroller; and then they’ll start grasping objects and putting toys in their mouth.
Down the track, your baby will start solids and all this practice will help them get food from plate to mouth.
Keeping a “mouthing” baby safe
If you’ve ever taken a baby to the beach, you’ll know the importance of watching them like a hawk. Sand, leaves and shells are no match for your baby who is insistent on putting EVERYTHING in the mouth.
At home it might be little bits of fluff off the ground (but we’ve heard some wild stories about the kinds of things babies will find on the floor…) If you have older children, Lego and other small bits from toys can pose a hazard.
Before you put your baby down to play, do a quick scan of the area to make sure it’s free from things the baby might put in their mouth.
Better yet, place your baby down on a play mat (of course, this only works until they can move around themselves!)
Make a rule for older children to keep ‘big kid toys’ in their room or a special baby-proof area of the house.
Use WaterWipes to quickly wipe down toys and other hard surfaces within your baby’s reach.
Lastly, here a few of our favourite ways to entertain a small baby who LOVES to put everything in their mouth:
Chill teething toys in the fridge and let your baby feel the cold toy on their gums.
Give your baby a packet of WaterWipes to play with. WaterWipes are made with 99.9% water and a drop of fruit extract – and nothing else! Your baby will probably love to grab hold of one and see how it feels in their mouth.
Give your baby a variety of toys to let them mouth-feel different textures.