Can anyone explain the darwinian force behind babies putting everything in their mouths? I suspect perhaps in part it's to build immunity and expose them to all kinds of germs, but there's got to be other reasons.

asked 14 Nov '09, 21:58

ejane123's gravatar image

accept rate: 11%

Probably something like the same Darwinian force that pushes you to ask the question :) Sorry, not baiting you, but I think that there are still SOME things that escape simplistic selfish gene analysis.

(08 Jan '10, 12:46) Benjol

I found this wikipedia article referencing the sensitivity of human in the lips, hands, and face. But it refers to a picture used to depict the human body in proportion to the sensitivity of those body parts.

So, I think everyone is right in their assumptions that babies put things in their mouths to explore and learn, but there is at least some information regarding it. I'm looking for more references, but I haven't had much luck.

Edit: Found another reference!

Child psychologist Penney Hames says this on babycentre.co.uk:

Your baby's mouth has more nerve endings per square millimetre than any other part of her body, so if she really wants to find out what something tastes or feels like, she puts it in her mouth. If you don't want something to go into your baby's mouth, don't leave it where she can get hold of it.

She continues to talk about development towards exploring with the fingers instead, which will be a little more sanitary.


answered 15 Nov '09, 04:25

Artemis's gravatar image

accept rate: 11%

edited 15 Nov '09, 04:33

Mouths are very sensitive to touch - I always assumed it was simply a way of learning about the world.


answered 14 Nov '09, 22:13

Meg%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

I think a baby starts out putting their hands in their mouth as a part of discovering their hands or their environment. Also a lot of babies want to put everything in their mouth when they are teething. This won't last forever though :)!


answered 14 Nov '09, 22:22

Melissa%201's gravatar image

Melissa 1
accept rate: 15%

Sorry I misread the darwinian force part . . .

(14 Nov '09, 22:23) Melissa 1
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Asked: 14 Nov '09, 21:58

Seen: 9,269 times

Last updated: 15 Nov '09, 04:33