16 answers

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

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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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..

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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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.

Mine stopped at about 22 months.

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.

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.

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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.

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 . . .

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.

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..

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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