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3 yo putting things in mouth and eating weird stuff

722 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  nuggetsmom
For the last few months my almost 3 yo has been putting things in her mouth that she shouldn't. She never was very much into putting things in her mouth at all but suddenly coins, marbles, rocks, bottle caps, garbage at the play ground, everything goes in her mouth. I am perplexed and cannot figure out the natural consequense for this (though the logical one is that she is no longer allowed to play with said items or go outside)
She has also been eating chalk, crayons, soap, sand at the beach or play ground, play-doh, shampoo and various weird things like that. I don't think it is from a nutritional deficiency, because I give her a multivitamin and iron supplement. I am a little offended that she eats these things readily but won't eat my food that I cook, but hey!
This started before I had DD2 so I am not sure that that is the problem either althought DD1 is testing limits a little more but that is another story.

So what do I do? IT is driving me crazy because she is into pl;aying with all these toys that have the tiny parts but now she suddenly puts them in her mouth so I feel like I have to take them away from her. So she doesn't heave her favorite toys to play with anymore and then she is bored.
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My almost 3 year old is doing the same thing with objects, rocks, sticks, all kinds of stuff. She was always very oral, but I thought that the putting things in mouth stage had finally passed. Not so - it's reared up again in the last month or two.

The other night she got a rock stuck in her mouth! It even cut her when it came out b/c the fit was so tight. Then the next night - she did the same thing - different rock! It didn't get stuck, but it was in her mouth.

It's so frustrating. You know they understand a ton by this age and their memories are phenomenal. But apparently not for stuff that doesn't go in their mouths!

I've found I've had to increase my supervision of her, back to the level of more like a 2 year old rather than a 3 year old. And just the old repetitive, "not for you mouth." Some things I take away. Some things I keep in a box and she has to agree not to put them in her mouth while she plays with them or they go away again until the next day. This has actually worked pretty well for us.
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A few months back, my DS (nearly three at the time), did the very same thing. He was a very oral kid from babyhood through about 17 months and to have this little fun phase reappear was surprising and alarming to say the least--felt like I was having to run interfence constantly again to keep him safe.

So, I just did as I did back then, kept a close eye on him, reminded him about what he could and could not eat. Luckily this time around, the phase went by much more quickly--a few weeks, maybe? A month tops. Not sure what fueled it, but I'm glad it's over... again.

Hang in there.
Maybe it's the weaning? I'm in the process of trying to cut out one of our early morning nursing sessions, trying to get it down to just once in the morning instead of early morning and wake-up. Nuggetsmom, are you weaning?
This sounds like Pica. Don't want to alarm you (pica is pretty common in young children, and almost always temporary) but you might want to get her checked by a doc.

You might find some helpful info here:

Hope that helps!
Yeah the actually eating non-food substances does sound like pica maybe but on the other hand my kids are 6 & 8 yrs and they BOTH still put absolutely everything in their mouths! AAAHHHHH! drives me crazy but what can you do. Sound like a parrot- get that out of your mouth, give it to me, thats yucky, etc.
learn the heimlich really well LOL
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Mmm. We are not weaning. She weaned almost a year ago. I think part of it may be that the new baby was imminent, but it sounds like other kids went back to this phase too. I must say she is worse about it now than she was earlier though.
Maybe the eating of chalk and other weird stuff is Pica and I will contact the doctor about it. It doesn't sound like there is anything they can actually do about it and she does take a multivitamin, but it is worth a shot. It would be nice to see soap without bites out of it in the bathroom. LOL

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