When Do Babies/toddlers Stop Putting Everything in Their Mouths?

Updated on February 15, 2010
M.F. asks from Austin, TX
16 answers

My twins are 12 months and on the verge of walking. I want to be able to take them to parks, etc. to play outside, but they still put everything in their mouths. Is there any age range when this typically stops? Is there an age when I should start trying to discourage it? Thanks!

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S.R.

answers from Houston on

Hi M., I'm kind of like you looking for answers, my grandson is 16 months and he has been walking for some time now (he was born with club feet which he had to wear a brace to help correct, so he still walks a bit wabbly) and he still puts everything in his mouth. Even the soft spongy toys he bites off pieces since he's got sharp teeth (3 on top, 4 on bottom) which concerns me if he swallows. I'm sweeping and vacuming everyday and I still don't know how or where he finds the things he puts in his mouth. A few times I caught him putting the whole cap from a jar of stage 3 baby food (which I did not realize his month was able to hold the entire thing) But we do still take him to the park and outside, we just have to watch him closely that he's not eating what he should not be. I wish you luck as you have 2..

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J.G.

answers from Cleveland on

I don't know if all kids stop putting things in their mouth. My 2 yr old doesn't do it that much anymore, but my 4 yr old still does. Some kids stop habits before others do. I think it's more about the kid then an age thing... but I think you will have a little while longer if they are only 12 mo. My 2 yr old just stopped doing it a little while ago.

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J.O.

answers from Austin on

...my 48 year old husband still chews on pens... :-(

J.T.

answers from College Station on

Never!
Seriously. I have to tell my 12yo to stop putting things in his mouth.

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R.B.

answers from College Station on

Though they probably won't stop putting stuff in their mouth in general for awhile yet, that doesn't mean you can't still take them to the park or outside to play. Generally they'll be too busy playing on the equipment to put a lot of stuff in their mouths, though it's easy enough to discourage them from putting dirt or rocks from the playground in their mouths. My younger two were going to the park even before they were walking, and there was no harm done from an occasional stick or rock in their mouths!

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K.P.

answers from Austin on

Never! I have a 17 year old that does the same thing.

L.B.

answers from Corpus Christi on

Now is a good time to start telling your child no it is dirty....and take it away.
Mine stopped putting things in their mouths when they were almost two. This is a way of feeling the things that they put in their mouths. However when you think of it I also have a 28 year old son and he still puts everything that does not move in this mouth he is still growing. hahaha

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S..

answers from Orlando on

Toys with small parts say they are not intended for children under the age of 3 because the basic thought is that they stop putting things in their mouths by age 4.... But I think it just depends on the kid. My youngest was never oral at all and hardly ever put things in his mouth, and my 4.5 year old neice still puts everything she gets her hands on into her mouth

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A.G.

answers from Las Vegas on

I would start to discourage it around 2years old. They will stop on their own though. you p[robaly know this, but they do this more when they are teething.

Toddlers/babies learn with their mouths. It is a normal/healthy part of their development. You want them to "learn" as much as possible.... Bellieve it or not, I saw a guy who was telling his 4 mo old "NO!!!" whenever his baby put anything(toys, fingers, hands) in his mouth. Poor baby....just wants to learn....

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L.M.

answers from Houston on

You should try to discourage it from the beginning. But, it is something that takes sometimes forever to get through. My son didn't put things in his mouth at that age, but started at about 5 years old, well above the age to understand not to. We scolded and scolded him and nothing worked. We finally started making him swish his mouth with a tiny bit of mouth wash every time he did it. He hated the "spicy" taste, so it stopped pretty quickly. But, I warn, he's almost 8 now and we still sometimes catch him doing it. He's recently started chewing gum (sugar free of course) on a regular basis, and when I catch him playing with his gum with is hands, I make him immediately spit it out and he gets no more the rest of the day.

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S.R.

answers from Houston on

Hi M., I'm kind of like you looking for answers, my grandson is 16 months and he has been walking for some time now (he was born with club feet which he had to wear a brace to help correct, so he still walks a bit wabbly) and he still puts everything in his mouth. Even the soft spongy toys he bites off pieces since he's got sharp teeth (3 on top, 4 on bottom) which concerns me if he swallows. I'm sweeping and vacuming everyday and I still don't know how or where he finds the things he puts in his mouth. A few times I caught him putting the whole cap from a jar of stage 3 baby food (which I did not realize his month was able to hold the entire thing) But we do still take him to the park and outside, we just have to watch him closely that he's not eating what he should not be. I wish you luck as you have 2..

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T.P.

answers from Houston on

I have 12 month twins that put everything in their mouth. If it is something unsafe or gross, like the nose bulb I just used to clean their noses, I give them something else to play with that is safer for them to gum and remove the offending object. I tell them not to play with "this" because it is dirty and instead to play with "that". They fuss for a little bit but they get over it.

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S.D.

answers from Austin on

My daughter (28 months) mostly stopped putting everything in her mouth as she got close to 2. But then again, I just cleaned blue crayon out of her mouth the other day . . .

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S.G.

answers from Albuquerque on

As others said, this is an essential part of development. Discourage anything that is unsafe, but also provide other opportunities for them to explore objects orally. If you look at something, you generally know how it would feel, how heavy it is, how warm or cold. A child cannot do this until about ages 5-7. They need this background of exploring with their hands, mouths, etc. Parks are also a wonderful way for them to learn how to move their bodies, about gravity, physics, and so much more. I'd opt for an occasional cold (or opportunity to build a healthy immune system) over limiting development.

Updated

As others said, this is an essential part of development. Discourage anything that is unsafe, but also provide other opportunities for them to explore objects orally. If you look at something, you generally know how it would feel, how heavy it is, how warm or cold. A child cannot do this until about ages 5-7. They need this background of exploring with their hands, mouths, etc. Parks are also a wonderful way for them to learn how to move their bodies, about gravity, physics, and so much more. I'd opt for an occasional cold (or opportunity to build a healthy immune system) over limiting development.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.G.

answers from Cleveland on

I don't know if all kids stop putting things in their mouth. My 2 yr old doesn't do it that much anymore, but my 4 yr old still does. Some kids stop habits before others do. I think it's more about the kid then an age thing... but I think you will have a little while longer if they are only 12 mo. My 2 yr old just stopped doing it a little while ago.

B.C.

answers from Dallas on

Mine stopped at about 22 months.

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A.B.

answers from San Antonio on

Discourage it for anything inappropriate that could be dirty or a choking hazard, but for toys, as another person said, as long as they are clean baby toys, it's a good way to learn. My daughter stopped putting things in her mouth around 18 months, but my son at 21 months is still doing it, so it will vary with the child.

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