A "mouth box" is basically a box of chewable toys or teething toys. Ever since Matthew was just a couple months old, his therapists have always emphasized the importance of mouthing toys. Am I giving him lots of opportunities for him to explore toys with his mouth? Is he bringing toys to his mouth by himself? Is he interested in mouthing toys?
Being a first-time mom and not having any prior experience with babies (not even baby-sitting), I have learned that:
- a baby's mouth has more highly developed sensory receptors than any other part of the body.
- exploring toys with the mouth is a crucial part of a baby's development as it enables a baby to learn about his/ her world.
- mouthing toys affects oral-motor skills for feeding and speech, and is especially beneficial for babies and toddlers who have hyposensitivity or hypersensitivity to various textures or low oral tone.
Lamaze Patty the Panda
This was one of the soft mouth toys that Matthew initially loved when he was a couple months old. It has different textures - soft, hard, crinkly, ridged. The crinkly ears and feet were his favorite. He doesn't chew on it anymore as he has moved on to more exciting toys so we've retired love-worn Patty the Panda.
Easy for a baby to grasp and easy to bring to the mouth to chew. This toy still gets some occasional use but not as loved as the chewy tube.
Red Chewy Tube
Not exactly a toy and it requires adult supervision to use. It is intended for developing jaw motion for biting and chewing skills, especially for individuals who have low oral tone. There are several kinds of chewy tubes, classified according to color. Yellow tubes are for babies or smaller jaws. Red tubes are the next level up, for toddlers. Green tubes have a knobby tube for extra sensory input. Blue tubes are the firmist and intended for adolescents or adults.
Parents Squishy Rubber Block
Not only are these great for stacking, they are also great for chewing and bpa-free. I often see Matthew crawling with a block in his mouth.
"Duo Spoon" made by Mealtime Notions
Another non-toy, mouth exploration tool to be used with adult supervision. Its bumps and ridges are intended to provide additional sensory input when feeding purees.
Mouth Toys Open the Sensory Doorway by speech-language pathologist, Suzanne Evans Morris, PhD offers more good information about mouth toys.