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Baby Mouthing: The Importance Of Letting Your Baby Explore
By now, you have noticed that just about everything your baby gets their hands on goes straight to their mouth. You’re finding yourself furiously vacuuming, mopping, and baby-proofing more and more every day! While it might seem like an annoying, slobbery phase to get through for us parents, it’s actually extremely important for your baby’s development. Keep reading to learn more about baby mouthing, why it is so important, and how you can help your baby do it safely—plus the one teether you need to give them tons of textures!
What is Baby Mouthing and Why Do They Do It?
Baby mouthing starts at around 3-5 months of age, increases once they start to crawl, and begins to subside around two years of age. Baby mouthing is as simple as it sounds: the act of your baby putting everything they can grab straight into their mouth. There are several reasons this happens, including:
- Exploration. Your baby doesn’t have the ability to squish, grab, or stroke anything quite yet. However, the one thing they CAN do is put things in their mouth, which is exactly how they explore the world until their motor skills and coordination improve.
- Snacking. Your little one is constantly growing, which means they are constantly hungry! They might decide something looks delicious and want to try it, even if it isn’t food. This can be stressful for most parents, even though babies have sensitive gag reflexes. If your baby is doing some extra baby-mouthing, try giving them a snack.
- Teething. When their gums are sore and they are in pain, babies find teething relief by chewing on things. If your baby is being extra drooly, fussy, and mouthing more than usual, it may mean that something new is coming into their mouth in the coming days.
Safe Baby Mouthing
While it can be annoying to have your baby constantly drool and chew on your remote, cell phone, or other objects, it is important to make sure they are getting the exploration of baby mouthing. It isn’t just something they enjoy doing that helps with their teething pain—it actually helps their development in many ways.
- Moves their gag reflex back. Babies’ gag reflexes are located in a more forward spot than adults. As babies grow, start solids, use teethers, and perform baby-mouthing exercises, this gag reflex begins to move back. The sooner they are able to perform baby-mouthing safely, the easier they will be able to transition to solids.
- Strengthens tongue muscles. Just like working out any other muscle of the body, baby-mouthing strengthens the tongue muscles. This allows them to eat different textures easier when they begin solids.
- Soothing and calming. Baby-mouthing can be a soothing and calming experience for babies, leading them to be overall less fussy and better able to sleep and enjoy playtime with you!
Some ways you can allow for safe baby-mouthing include:
- Encouragement. If your baby is choosing to chew on a teether instead of a shoe, give them encouragement! They will be more likely to reach for the teether again next time and leave other “yucky” items alone.
- Keep a safe, clean spot. For your baby’s safety and for your peace of mind, set up a safe, clean spot for your baby to explore. This can be a playpen or even just up in the high chair. Completely baby-proof it, keep it clean, and only give your baby items that are safe and okay for them to mouth.
- Learn CPR. Nobody is perfect, and accidents can happen. Learn what to do if your baby accidentally swallows something they shouldn’t have and how to help your baby if you see they are choking.
- Give them an oral development toy. By giving your baby a simple, smooth teether with minimal textures, you may only be increasing their curiosity! By giving your baby an oral development toy with tons of textures and ways to chew, they will not only be improving their development, but they will also be happy and busy, as well.
If you’re looking for a great teether that provides your baby with tons of textures for safe baby-mouthing exploration, look no further than the Innobaby EZ Grip Star Teether & Oral Sensory Developmental Toy!
Innobaby’s star teethers aren’t just great for teething pain; they’re considered “training teethers,” which means they’re great for a bunch of different reasons. 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 your baby will allow for bilateral movement and stimulation of both sides of the brain, as well.
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! Other teethers may be too small or break apart easily, but you can trust ours!
For more great parenting hacks, safe teethers, and other amazing family products, visit us at innobaby.com!