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Chew on This!

Unappetizing as it may sound, shoving everything into your mouth is a great way to learn about the environment -- and no one knows this better than your babe. By 3 months, she can clutch easy-to-hold items, and their primary destination is often right in her kisser.

One reason: Gnawing feels good on her gums, where new teeth may soon be emerging. Here's how to help her get some good stuff to chew on:

Make a sweep. Check the floor for anything that's small enough to be a choking hazard. If it fits through a toilet paper roll, it's a danger: tiny building blocks, doll shoes, coins, paper clips, bottle and pen caps, bits of food, tacks, rubber bands.

Go by the book. Board books, especially, are perfect for the early months -- either those with thick cardboard pages and hard, chewy corners or soft cloth or plastic-coated ones.

Roll with rattles. Jingling, clanking, plastic, smooth, or textured, a rattle will entertain for hours. Keep bumpy, rubbery teething rings on hand, too, by her play mat and in your diaper bag.

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