Once your baby reaches about 4-5 months of age, you’re going to start noticing that they want to put just about everything in their mouth. Your hair, their fingers, the remote control — just about anything within arm’s reach is going in! As slobbery and inconvenient as it can be at times, it is extremely important for your baby’s oral development to mouth on things, especially if they are a pacifier user. Keep reading for 4 reasons you need oral development toys for baby in place of the pacifier, and your iPhone!
1. Oral Development Toys Help With Speech
Your 4-5 month old baby is still ways away from intentionally speaking their first words, however, prepping them with great oral development now through oral development toys will help them later down the line. Studies have shown that prolonged sucking (outside of breastfeeding) can negatively impact speech. In fact, children who used a pacifier or sucked their fingers for 3 years or more were three times more likely to develop a speech disorder. (Article here)
When Should I Introduce Oral Development Toys?
It is never too early to introduce your baby to oral development toys! Introducing oral development toys as early as the baby's first month will help them soothe and practice jaw movement. Check out Dr. Gieslle Tadros from our recent IGTV live. She recommends her patients to hold the teether for their baby to suckle on during tummy time. As babies stretch their core muscles, they will also get the best jaw exercise. And, as the baby gets older, give two teethers for each hand to help babies with bilateral movement and brain development.
Improper Tongue Posture from Pacifiers
Pacifiers encourage improper tongue resting posture. By trying to keep the pacifier in their mouth, the tongue is pushed to the back of the mouth and their jaw is in an unnatural bite position for long periods of time. This is why it is important to do your best to wean them from their pacifier after 6 months of age.
Improper tongue resting posture not only affects speech, but it can affect the child’s sleep by causing snoring, which can lead to sleep apnea. It can also alter their face structure and cause dental issues down the line. Instead of using a pacifier, oral development toys will give them the same self-soothing benefits while promoting great oral development.
2. They Help With Jaw Strength
By using many different oral development toys with many different textures, your baby will constantly be moving their tongue and chewing in different ways. Like any exercise of any muscle group, this helps build good jaw strength for your little one. Good jaw strength reduces airflow issues, which helps reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and developing snoring or sleep apnea down the line.
3. They Assist With Transitioning to Foods
As good jaw strength builds, your little one will have an easier time transitioning to foods down in a few months. They will have better control over their tongue, jaw, and swallow reflexes. In addition, experiencing different textures and shapes through oral development toys will help them be more comfortable experiencing different textures while trying new foods.
Oral development toys also assist with transitioning to foods by getting them used to gagging. Yes - as strange as that sounds, mouthing with teether toys can cause some gagging. Don’t be alarmed, this is a reflux that your baby needs to learn and work through themselves. By doing that early on with oral development toys, they will have a much easier experience when it comes to eating (and gagging on) solid foods.
4. They Are Great Self-Soothers
In addition to all of the physical benefits of oral development toys, your little one will also be able to self-soothe with something other than a pacifier — or you. Having the ability to self-soothe will help your baby sleep better (which means you sleep better!), maintain a schedule, and be in a better mood during their wake windows. In addition, they will be able to handle tantrums and bad moods better once they become toddlers.
If your baby still wakes through the night frequently or has trouble napping at 4-5 months of age, introducing an oral development toy can help comfort them when they wake up in the night. Learning the skill of self-soothing back to sleep now as a baby will set them up for years of great sleep habits.
Innobaby Oral Development Toys
The Innobaby award-winning teethers are perfect for encouraging proper oral development in your baby. Our teethers were designed with babies in mind. They are:
- Easy for little hands to pick up, hold, grip, and move around
- Durable and safe to use
- Petal-shaped to reach those back molars while stimulating the lips and tongue
While designed with babies in mind, they have been manufactured with moms in mind. They’re made with double-injection molding, which means no glues! Since they aren’t heavy or bulky, they are easy for your little one to use all by themselves. Not to mention, they are top-rack dishwasher safe and freezer safe to give your baby that extra bit of soothing comfort on their sore gums.
Innobaby’s star teethers aren’t just great for teething pain, they’re considered “training teethers”. They stimulate the muscles of the lips, tongue, and cheeks to improve oral motor skills, which aids in nursing, eating solid foods, drinking from cups, and speech development. The light and easy to grip handle also improves hand-eye coordination. Giving two to baby will allow for bilateral movement and stimulation of both sides of the brain, as well
Teethin SMART EZ Grip Fruit Teether - $8.99
There are a lot of imitations of Innobaby’s Fruit Teethers out there, but none are the original! Innobaby holds its teethers to the very highest standards (Conforms to Toy Safety Standard ASTM F963 and EN71) and uses the highest quality TPE available, because Innobaby wants the best for your baby, just like you!