Many new changes can be seen in the behavior of infants as they grow. One among these is baby chewing on tongue.
Many parents find it cute, but on the other hand, a few become concerned.
Mostly, tongue chewing is a typical gesture of development found in infants.
There can be various factors to it, like newly discovering their tongue or chewing it for fun. In most cases, these habits are outgrown within a week.
But if you think that chewing on the tongue is becoming a long-term habit for your infant, then you must reach for help.
We’ll go over all the information you require regarding why babies chew on their tongues. When to be concerned, and how to gently correct this practice.
To know more about baby chewing on the tongue, keep reading this article till the end.
Baby Chewing On Tongue
There can be various reasons why your baby chewing on tongue. However, most of the causes are natural and are cured on their own.
1. Newly Discovering The Tongue
As your baby grows, they will begin to explore different regions of their body.
This is when he will learn about other pieces and play with them until they feel comfortable.
So, if your 4 to 5-month-old baby is chewing or playing with his tongue, you should be pleased because they are slowly learning about their body mechanisms.
2. Due To Sucking Reflex
Every infant is born with some natural reflex actions.
The sucking motion is one of that kind which helps them to suck the milk from their mother’s breast right after birth.
You will notice if you bring something near their lips, they will try to suck it.
So, when they get introduced to the tongue, they keep sucking it as a natural reflex.
This is nothing to worry about. As they will get ready to eat solids, this reflex will slowly disappear.
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3. Teething Stage
Teething refers to the process through which your baby’s little milk teeth begin to break through the gums. This time can be painful for them. So, to get rid of this pain, they will tend to bite something soft.
It can e anything, including their gum or any soft object you will place on their mouth.
Unfortunately, this is also the time when they will try to bite you.
Similarly, the tongue is also approachable to them.
Therefore, they will chew it for comfort. If you notice chewing in your child, you must look for other symptoms just to be sure, like gum inflammation or biting habits.
4. Attaining Solid Eating Age
Until a certain age, babies have another natural reflex in them named a tongue-thrust reflex.
This is a tendency in babies to take their tongue out to remove any solids from their mouth.
This reflex is essential in babies to prevent choking. However, this reflex slows down as the child develops.
So, when your child can eat solids after 6-7 months, they tend to each everything they get in hand.
The tongue is very much approachable to them, and they keep chewing it.
What Can You Do About It?
Even though chewing the tongue is just a play, if you think this is developing as a bad habit in your child, you can take a few steps to prevent it in the early stage.
- Your baby might start chewing their tongue when they feel hungry. Thus, look for the signs of hunger and feed them immediately.
- If you notice the emergence of teeth, then you can give them teething toys to distract them from the tongue.
- If your infant has started developing teeth and is at least six months old, start giving them soft solid foods. They will use their tongue to move their food and chewing and understand its significance better.
- If the tongue is the latest discovery by your child, you can try to distract them. Play with them and make them forget about tongue chewing.
When Shall You Seek Professional Help?
Generally, tongue chewing is harmless. But there can be instances when you can notice that your baby is harming himself. In these situations, you should immediately seek help from your doctor.
- If you notice that your child is facing difficulties breathing while chewing on the tongue, it can be because of an oversized tongue or poor muscle tone. In this instance, you should immediately talk to your doctor and ask for permanent solutions.
- If chewing the tongue is painful for your child, they will never repeat it. However, if they have accidentally bitten their tongue while eating, you should use some ointment for relief. Do not use anything without a doctor’s prescription.
- Incorrect position of the tongue can also lead your baby to chew on the tongue. Obverse the placement and talk to the doctor about it.
- If you observe that your baby is chewing their tongue longer than other infants or for more than 2-3 weeks, then you should talk to his pediatrics about it.
Tongue chewing is a developmental activity that most babies outgrow in a matter of weeks.
As mentioned, many factors can be responsible for a baby chewing on the tongue; as long as it is a play, you don’t have to worry.
Just sit and observe the action, duration, and the tongue from time to time. If you see any abnormality, then make sure to take professional help.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Normal For 3 Months Old To Stick Out Tongue?
Yes, it is normal for babies to stick out the tongue. This reflex action works in them to prevent their windpipe from choking solid objects.
How Do You Check A Baby Tongue Thrust?
This is very simple. You can offer your baby anything to eat. However, make sure it is clean, and you can have control over it.
For example, you may take a spoon and put it near your child. If they respond towards it or rejects it, then they still have the tongue-thrust reflex.
How Can You Tell If A Baby Has Autism?
There are several symptoms of autism.
If you notice your child is not directly looking at you or if they are not responding to your actions or smile, then you should go to a doctor and make the diagnosis.
These are not the sole symptoms of autism. Therefore, diagnosis is essential.
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Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She’s an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.