Babies don’t just put things in their mouths for pleasure or comfort; they also use their mouths for exploration. They learn about objects by tasting them, feeling their texture, and experimenting with them. Until a child is about one and a half to two years old, many things that she plays with will eventually go into her mouth. She’ll pick up things from the floor, chew on her stroller safety strap, and try to put her parents’ keys in her mouth.
Because she can’t tell what’s safe or unsafe, you have to be very watchful. If your child is at this oral stage, you must pick up pieces of fuzz, crumbs, and small toys so she will not accidentally choke on them. You also have to be sure that the objects she puts in her mouth are clean and safe.
This developmental phase may seem long and tiresome to you, but if you start pulling safe objects out of your child’s mouth or telling her, “Only food goes in your mouth,” she’ll get frustrated, and you’ll be depriving her of pleasure and a chance to explore. Try instead to realize and accept the fact that she has to put objects in her mouth because that’s a major way she learns about her environment.