Into the Mouths of Babes
From toes to toys, does everything your baby encounters seem to find its way into in his mouth?
Around 4 months, he'll discover that the best way to learn about a new object is by mouthing it. He won't yet have the fine motor skills to use his hands for exploring, explains Karyn Blane, an early-childhood psychologist in East Providence, RI, but he will be coordinated enough to get the doggy's chew toy -- or worse! -- into his mouth.
Yuck? You bet. Because babies can't discriminate, they'll try to eat anything, so watch out for small objects that he might choke on (anything that can fit inside a toilet paper roll) or harmful ones, like peeling paint.
Germs are everywhere, though, and you can't keep everything pristine. Watch what your baby reaches for, and run anything that looks gross (or that's been chewed on by another kid) under hot water.
If you notice a real increase in mouthing at around 6 months, your baby might be approaching another developmental stage: teething.