37 answers

18 Month Old Boy Puts Everything in His Mouth!

Hello,

I am worried about my 18 month old son. He puts EVERYTHING in his mouth. When we're outside he eats dirt, puts rocks in his mouth, licks the ground, trees, eats grass, chalk--whatever he picks up goes in his mouth! It's very stressful for many reasons. I spoke to his pediatrician about it who ordered blood tests for anemia and lead toxicity (still waiting on those results) and she said she thinks he is just an "oral kid." I breastfed until he was 10 months old and then he suddenly weaned himself and that was that. I've read about pica and he seems to be too young for that to be a concern, but I'm exhausted and seriously stressed out about this. None of the other parents (all have girls) have experienced this. Has anyone else had this problem? And, is it even a problem or am I overreacting? Thanks, C.

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Thanks everyone! It's helpful to know that I'm not alone in this. It's interesting to read the variety of responses here and what's great about a message board like this is being able to select the best pieces of everyone's ideas. So, thanks again. I'm much less worried, but will continue with my research, because that's what I do! Thanks again, I really appreciate all of your feedback.

Featured Answers

You can put some hot chilly juice on every finger (not too much) and leave him eat. After few times of eating that hot staff...you will see improvements....100% guaranteed!!!!
Good luck!

My little girl is 2.5 yrs old now and still likes to put things into her mouth. She was breastfed until I lost my milk at 5 months. The only thing that kept dirt, sand and rocks out of her mouth was she liked her pacifier and to suck/chew on the satin ribbon on her blanket. We got rid of the pacifier about a year ago because it was affecting her teeth. She still puts toys and her hands in her mouth all the time, but it is getting better and she doesn't put her blanket in her mouth any more. She is still very tactile and likes the touch of her blanket on her fingers and chin. Maybe you could find a toy or teething blanket that he would prefer to put in his mouth than dirt or rocks.

Sounds pretty typical to me. Every child I've been around has gone through the phase of putting everything into their mouths. Some do it to lesser and greater degrees perhaps, but they all do it. The good news for most of us though is that it's a pretty short lived phase. My son is 2.5 and he knows now that he's not supposed to put anything other than his food or drink in his mouth. Even so there are times when he can't resist and I find him "tasting" something he's found.

The only thing I really worried about were potential choking hazzards, but otherwise it didn't really concern me. Hopefully you're on the end of this stage and can move on to other things (like climbing everything in sight!) soon.

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There's a good possibility that he may be sensation seeking with his mouth. We are all wired differently and it's hard for nature to get it right sometimes. Some kids are born with hyper (acute) or hypo (low) sensativity in their hearing, seeing, feeling or, as in possibly your son's case, their mouth. When a child is hyposensitive in their mouth, it is much like having a local anesthesia in their mouth constantly so what you will find is that there is a tendency for them to put all kinds of inappropriate things in their mouth on a near constant basis in order to get that feedback that he needs with their mouth. They also can overstuff their mouth with food for much the same reason. This is not something that they grow out of with out some work to help him increase the awareness and parameters of his mouth. If this is the case, I would suggest reading The Out-Of-Sync Child. This was the situation that I had with my now 5-year old son. It started when he was about 18-months old and, with a lot of work and strategizing, his sensation-seeking with his mouth is nearly non-existent. If you feel like this is what's happening with your son and would like some tips on what you can do now to help him, feel free to e-mail and I'll be happy to pass them on to you.

2 moms found this helpful

anemia maybe. but babies learn a lot from putting things in their mouths. i wouldnt worry to much just try to disscourage him from eating anything that can be harmful (like rocks, etc). well i hope this is helpful!

I got to this request to slow,but after reading your request,My first thought was IMAGINE THE SAVINGS ON YOUR GROCERY BILL!! LOL Kiddin C..

My almost 2 1/2 year old still puts everything in her mouth. I haven't taken her pacifier away yet because its the only time I'm sure she's not sticking something in her mouth. The only thing you can do is make sure you keep anything and everything out of your sons reach and constant supervision. Dirt may not hurt, but bird poop carries a lot of diseases. As long as you clean your floors once in a while, he'll be okay, but really watch him outside, especially around picnic tables. Birds will eat food left and then do their business there. Wild flowers are also dangerous so watch out for those too. I keep hoping for the day she will outgrow this.

C.,
I just want to encourage you. This is something you will just have to learn to not let bother you so much. I have an 8 year old son. He still puts everything in his mouth. If he doesn't have something in his hand to put in his mouth he will suck on his shirt. I asked his doctor about it and got the same response as you, he's just an oral kid. Sometimes it gets to me, but for the most part I try not to let it. Now that he is older I give him gum or sunflower seeds or something like that to have in his mouth so hands and other things don't find their way to his mouth. Maybe you could find something he can put in his mouth when you see him putting dirt, ect. in his mouth. Good Luck

Sounds pretty typical to me. Every child I've been around has gone through the phase of putting everything into their mouths. Some do it to lesser and greater degrees perhaps, but they all do it. The good news for most of us though is that it's a pretty short lived phase. My son is 2.5 and he knows now that he's not supposed to put anything other than his food or drink in his mouth. Even so there are times when he can't resist and I find him "tasting" something he's found.

The only thing I really worried about were potential choking hazzards, but otherwise it didn't really concern me. Hopefully you're on the end of this stage and can move on to other things (like climbing everything in sight!) soon.

I haven't read the other responses, but I suggest seeing an occupational therapist. He might ha a oral-sensory seeker, which means he needs to put things in his mouth to stimulate his tactile system. There are ways to treat this in occupational therapy. Good luck

Welcome to motherhood. As a mother of three, I can tell you that babies put everything in their mouths from about 6 months to around 2 years old. (I've never had problems with dirt, though.) I would just make sure that everything is clean, and that you do a "choking hazard check" before you let him play. Hopefully, all of the tests will come back normal and it's just part of being a baby. Good luck! :)

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