They never cease to surprise you. Your baby is a an almost unbelievable source of odd behaviors that seem to make little sense at first. Then you do a bit of research or consult another mommy or daddy and wham, suddenly it all fits! Today’s subject of weirdness is ‘is it safe if my baby is chewing on the crib“. Also, why the heck are they doing that, anyways?! We’ve done the research so that we can give you a little background on this behavior and we intend to share it with you in this article so that you can have your own eureka moment and a good idea of what you can do to nip it in the bud. Let’s discuss your baby and why they are apparently eating their wooden crib.
So why is my baby chewing on the crib?
The ‘why’ of an issue is always a good place to start. First, let’s consider your baby’s age. Is your baby between the 5 and 10 month range? If so, teething is in play and it HURTS. Baby’s front teeth are ripping their way up from the upper and lower gums and if your baby isn’t cranky yet then it is certainly coming soon. So why the chewing? Partially it provides your baby with a little focus and relief. You will notice that this is not merely focused on the crib, however. Pillows and toys… basically anything nearby is a good target and the crib is being utilized because it is close and consistently there. So how do you stop your baby from chewing on the crib rail? Don’t worry, we’ve got some advice on that, but first let’s discuss why crib chewing is really bad for your baby (and the first question that springs to your mind when you see this behavior.)
Can my baby get sick from chewing on the
Yes. Wooden cribs are definitely not good to snack on. When your baby is chewing on the crib there is more to consider then the potential splinters (although OUCH!). For instance, the following factors should be considered:
- Wood stains – Those traditional wooden cribs are beautiful, durable, and often have wood stains applied in order to preserve them. Unfortunately, these are toxic and definitely not good for your baby.
- Respiratory issues – A bit of erosion to the wood from time or gnawing can get inhaled and this can produce respiratory issues with your child (especially dangerous if your child has symptoms of asthma!).
- Paint is not a vitamin – Also, you have no way of knowing if the paint used to make that crib look pretty is toxic or non-toxic. With a bit of determined gnawing that paint may chip and your baby could eat it. Not a good scenario.
- Swallowing wood chips – Your baby’s digestive system is developing but this is a human child, not a beaver, so we can’t have your baby eating wood chips.
Solution recommendations for your crib-biting baby
Thankfully, there are a number of ways that you can deter your crib-biting baby so that you have one less worry. We’ve collected some tips that you can use to deter, deflect, or completely prevent this from occurring. Some examples of what you might try are as follows:
- Silicon guards or rail covers – Your baby can’t chew on those rails if they are covered. You can purchase silicon guards which also act as ‘bumpers’ for when your baby is crawling around their crib or alternately, you can sew (or have a friend who sews help you) with some fabric rail-guards. There are a number of free, downloadable patterns on the internet. Simply Google ‘Baby rail guard pattern’ and you’ll soon find a plethora to choose from to help keep your little one safe.
- Gum soothing – You can massage your baby’s gums or if your pediatrician approves you might be able to use diluted mint oil or other herbal remedies to give your baby a little relief. Those gums are red and inflamed and this is the root cause as to why your baby is suddenly gnawing on that crib so a little relief can work wonders.
” It can feel like it is taking forever for your baby’s teething phase.”
- Teething toys – While we recommend guards or rail covers as your top priority, adding an array of teething toys for your little woodchuck can help to distract them from the crib to instead chew on something that is much more baby-safe. So be sure to start building your collection of teething toys. After all, this is a long process.
Wait, how long does teething take?
Teething can take quite a bit of time. Generally your child is going to begin around 5 or 6 months old and from there they should have their primary set of 20 ready and in place at about 3 years old. Of course since this is painful (for both of you once you get your first bite!), it can feel like it is taking forever for your baby’s teething phase to be over and done with. Be patient and the two of you will certainly get through it. We should note at this time that some babies may get their first tooth a bit more quickly and in rare cases your baby might be born with them already. Most commonly, however, you are looking at that first tooth arrival at around 6 months of age.
Some final words
In this article we have discussed why crib-chewing must be discouraged as well as gone into some tips and tricks to help you accomplish this in a number of ways. We hope that you will utilize these to your advantage and discourage this unseemly, woodchuck-y behavior in your little one to good effect. With a little patience and cleverness on your part then your little one will work past this phase and before you know it you’ll be greeted daily with the cutest, toothiest smile ever. So hang in there, you’ve got this!