Babies are curious and fascinating creatures. They often do things that seem strange or random to us, but have some meaning or purpose for them. One of these things is chewing with nothing in their mouth. What is the reason behind this behaviour?
There are a few possible explanations for why a baby chews with nothing in their mouth. It could be a natural instinct that they are born with. It could be a way of calming themselves down when they are stressed or upset. Or it could be a form of exploration and learning about the world.
However, this behaviour can also have some drawbacks. When a baby chews with nothing in their mouth, they may swallow air. This can lead to excessive burping and stomach pain for your little one. To prevent this, make sure you burp your baby more often if you notice them chewing without food.
As parents, we want to understand our babies and their actions. This behaviour is not something to worry about, but it is important to know the reasons behind it and how to deal with it.
Why Do Babies Chew With Nothing in Their Mouth?
One of the most common and natural behaviours that babies exhibit is chewing with nothing in their mouth. But what does this mean? And is it something to be concerned about?
The answer is simple: It’s a normal part of their development! Babies use their mouths as a way of exploring and learning about their environment. They can sense a lot of things through their mouths, such as shape, size, texture, and taste.
According to infant expert and researcher Kristen M. Moyer, M.D., the mouth is the most sensitive part of the body for a newborn. She says, “The sensory nerves in their mouths and lips, on the other hand, allow a newborn to truly grasp the nature of an object.”
But are there any other reasons why babies chew with nothing in their mouth? And should you be worried about it?
In our recent article, we covered the topic of Why Do Hospitals Call Cps After Baby’s Born (in Process)
7 Reasons why your Baby is Chewing with Nothing in Mouth
Teething is one of the most common reasons why babies chew on things. When a baby’s teeth are coming in, their gums can be sore and inflamed. Chewing on something hard can help to relieve the pain and pressure.
Babies use their mouths to explore the world around them. By putting things in their mouths, they can learn about different textures, shapes, and sizes. Chewing on objects can also help babies to develop their jaw muscles and coordination.
Sucking and chewing can be calming and comforting for babies. It can help them to relax and fall asleep. Babies may also chew on things when they are feeling anxious or stressed.
A hungry baby may chew on their hands or other objects as a way to signal that they want to eat. Chewing can also help to stimulate the production of saliva, which can make it easier for babies to swallow.
A bored baby may chew on things to pass the time. If your baby is chewing on things out of boredom, try offering them a variety of toys and activities to keep them entertained.
6. Oral fixation
Some babies have a strong oral fixation, which means they find comfort in sucking or chewing on things. This is usually a normal part of development and will go away on its own as the baby gets older. However, if your baby’s oral fixation is severe or interfering with their daily life, talk to your paediatrician.
7. Medical condition
In rare cases, excessive chewing on objects may be a sign of a medical condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). If you are concerned about your baby’s chewing habits, talk to your paediatrician.
During the first three months, babies may chew with nothing in their mouths for various reasons
- 1. Instinctive Reflex: Babies have a natural inclination to attach their mouths to nearby objects, also known as the rooting reflex.
- 2. Silent Reflux: Newborns may experience silent reflux, where stomach contents come up into the oesophagus without vomiting.
- 3. Signalling Hunger: Chewing or opening their mouths can be a sign that the baby is hungry and needs feeding adjustments.
From four to six months, Following reasons include
- 4. Teething Discomfort: Growing teeth can cause discomfort, leading babies to self-soothe by chewing on objects.
- 5. Exploring Surroundings: Babies use their mouths to explore their environment, including their newly grown teeth.
- 6. Introduce Teething Toys: Refrigerated teething toys can provide relief for sore gums and satisfy the baby’s chewing instinct.
- 7. Self-Discovery: Babies are naturally curious and use chewing to learn about their bodies and how they work.
You may also be interested in our this article Why Does My Baby Grab My Face When Falling Asleep?
When Chewing Becomes an Issue
While chewing is a normal and healthy part of baby development, there are some warning signs to watch for that could indicate a problem:
- Constant chewing past the teething phase
- Chewing their tongue to the point of bleeding or injury
- Trouble breathing while chewing
- Signs of hypothyroidism, such as a protruding tongue, cold skin, constipation, poor feeding, and low activity
- Abnormal tongue shape or movement of the mouth
If you notice any of these signs, be sure to consult with your baby’s pediatrician.
Common Questions about Baby Chewing with Nothing in Mouth
If you have noticed your baby chewing with nothing in their mouth, you may have some questions about this behavior. Is it normal? Is it a sign of something else? What does it mean?
Don’t worry, we have got you covered. Our team and I have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions by new parents about this topic.
Q: What does it Mean When my Baby Moves his Mouth While Sleeping?
A: When your baby is sleeping, you may see them moving their mouth or smacking their lips. This could mean that they are in a deep sleep and having a dream about eating. Or it could mean that they are trying to comfort themselves and relax.
Q: Is it Normal for a Newborn Baby to Chew with Nothing in Their Mouth?
A: Yes, it is normal for a newborn baby to chew with nothing in their mouth. This could be a way of telling you that they are hungry or thirsty and need some food or drink. Or it could be a way of exploring and learning about their environment through their mouth. Or it could be a way of soothing themselves and coping with stress or boredom.
Q: Why does my Baby Pretend to Chew on Something?
A: Sometimes, your baby may act like they are chewing on something when there is nothing in their mouth. This could be a sign of something else.
For example, it could be a sign of teething, when their teeth are starting to grow and cause pain and discomfort. Or it could be a sign of development, when they are preparing for the transition to solid foods and improving their jaw muscles and coordination.
There is no need to be alarmed or scared when you see your baby chewing with nothing in their mouth. It is usually a harmless and natural behavior that has to do with their development.
However, as parents, we should be aware and attentive to this behavior and its possible meanings. We should also be careful that our baby does not swallow too much air when they chew, as this can cause gas and stomach pain. We should burp our baby more often if we notice them chewing without food.