As a parent, have you ever wondered why your little one has a habit of putting your hair in their mouth? It can be a strange and concerning behavior, but fear not, as it’s actually quite common among babies and young children.
In this blog post, we’ll delve into the reasons behind this behavior and share some tips on how to handle it.
Oral Sensory Stimulation
One of the most common reasons why children put their parents’ hair in their mouth is for oral sensory stimulation. Young children are still exploring the world around them and are often drawn to objects with interesting textures and tastes. Hair can provide a unique sensory experience for children, as it is soft and may have a slightly different taste or texture than other objects.
Comfort and Security
Another reason why children may put their parents’ hair in their mouth is for comfort and security. Young children often use comfort objects, such as blankets or stuffed animals, to help them feel safe and secure. For some children, hair may serve a similar purpose, providing a sense of comfort and familiarity when they are feeling anxious or upset.
Teething is another common reason why children may put objects, including hair, in their mouth. The pressure of biting and chewing can help soothe the discomfort associated with teething. If your child is putting your hair in their mouth and they are also showing other signs of teething, such as drooling or gnawing on other objects, teething may be a contributing factor.
In some cases, children may put their parents’ hair in their mouth as a form of attention-seeking behavior. If your child knows that this behavior elicits a reaction from you, such as scolding or trying to remove the hair from their mouth, they may continue to do it in order to get your attention.
What Can Parents Do to Address This Behavior?
If your child is putting your hair in their mouth and you’re concerned about this behavior, there are several things you can do to address it:
- Offer Alternative Sensory Objects: If your child is seeking oral sensory stimulation, provide them with alternative objects to explore, such as teething toys or chewable necklaces. This can help redirect their behavior away from your hair.
- Set Boundaries: If your child is putting your hair in their mouth as a form of attention-seeking behavior, it’s important to set clear boundaries. Let your child know that this behavior is not acceptable and redirect their attention to other activities.
- Provide Comfort and Security: If your child is using your hair as a comfort object, provide them with other sources of comfort and security, such as a favorite blanket or stuffed animal.
- Address Teething Discomfort: If your child is teething, provide them with appropriate teething toys and pain relief measures, such as teething gel or infant acetaminophen.
- Be Patient: Remember that this behavior is a normal part of childhood development and may take time to address. Be patient and consistent in your approach to addressing this behavior.
How can I tell if my child is teething?
Teething is a normal part of a child’s development and usually begins between 4-7 months of age. Here are some signs and symptoms that your child may be teething:
- Increased Drooling: Teething can stimulate the production of saliva, leading to increased drooling.
- Chewing and Biting: Your child may want to chew and bite on objects to relieve the discomfort associated with teething. They may also rub their gums with their fingers or fists.
- Irritability and Fussiness: Teething can be uncomfortable and may cause your child to be more irritable and fussy than usual.
- Disrupted Sleep: Teething discomfort can also disrupt your child’s sleep, causing wake-ups and restlessness.
- Loss of Appetite: Your child may have a decreased appetite due to the discomfort associated with teething.
- Swollen or Sensitive Gums: Your child’s gums may appear swollen or red and may be sensitive to touch.
- Ear Pulling: Teething discomfort can sometimes radiate to the ears, causing your child to pull on their ears.
It’s important to note that not all children will experience all of these symptoms and some may experience them to a greater or lesser extent than others.
If you suspect that your child is teething, you can offer them teething toys or chilled, soft foods to help soothe their gums.
You can also speak with your child’s pediatrician about appropriate pain relief measures, such as infant acetaminophen or teething gels.
If your child is experiencing severe discomfort or other symptoms, such as a fever or diarrhea, it’s important to consult with their pediatrician to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
Also Read: Why Does My Child Pass Out When Crying?
Children may put their parents’ hair in their mouth for a variety of reasons, including oral sensory stimulation, comfort and security, teething, and attention-seeking behavior. By understanding the reasons behind this behavior and taking steps to address it, parents can help their child explore the world around them in a safe and healthy way.