“My baby will not stop chewing on her blanket! I have tried everything. Please help!”
I have heard it a million times – “my child just won’t quit chewing on the blanket, what do I do?” There are many reasons why your child might be attracted to their blanket and as with all baby behavior, you should try to figure out what is going on before you jump to conclusions. But first let’s review some of the things you can try if your child is truly obsessed with their comforter:
Getting tough – this method works great for parents who don’t mind using aversive consequences. The idea comes from a very old school technique called “behavioral contrast” where you’re essentially putting fear into the heart of your baby. The way it works is simple – you use a very loud NO and then IMMEDIATELY present your child with something even louder and more startling – a sudden, unexpected blast of white noise from the TV or radio – anything that makes a loud unpleasant sound will do.
You can also shake a soda can full of pennies (or make some noise by dropping metal spoons in an empty coffee can) but be ready to pull this off fast because you only have one shot to make it work! Wait until your child looks away from their blanket or shows other signs they are no longer engaging in chewing behavior before making your move.
Rewarding replacement behavior – if you want to try and channel your child’s fixation into a more helpful behavior you can try something I like to call “rewarding replacement behavior.” The idea here is that your child likes their blanket so much because it has some features they find rewarding. It could be the feel, taste, smell or even sounds coming from it – regardless of what it is, you want to provide an alternative experience that is equally as appealing.
Perhaps your child likes to hold their blanket and suck on it – in this case you might try wrapping one of those baby washcloths around their pacifier (or even better yet give them frozen breast milk popsicles or teething biscuits dipped in strawberry jam). If your child appears focused on chewing at the corner of their comforter then perhaps you can switch out the blanket for a stuffed animal that they can bite down on – just be sure it’s big enough that your child cannot swallow or choke on small pieces of stuffing.
Getting the right tools – if you have a soft chewer then all of these methods might still fall short. The best thing to do in those case is to invest in some baby-friendly chew toys designed specifically with teething infants in mind. Check out our product guide below which includes some of the most popular options available today.
There are lots of people who claim they make great pet toys as well so give those a shot too! Just remember, no matter how many times you try and distract them from their comforter, eventually little ones will become big ones and you can bet that blanket will come with them when they head to college!