This is a topic that comes up often enough in my office that I felt it might be beneficial to share some of the products that I recommend for stimulating oral motor function. These are all great toys for you and your baby to play with together but this is certainly not an exhaustive list and there are always new and interesting products hitting the market. Here are just a few of my favourites:
(*Note: the Atom and the Skwish from Manhattan Toys can be particularly helpful for those with higher arched pallets.)
For children less than 3 months of age, you can hold the toy up to their mouths while they are on their back (or on their tummy for an even more advanced workout!) and allow them to explore with their mouths and tongues. For older babies, they can hold and manipulate the toys themselves, but I'm sure you can find lots of creative and fun ways to play together.
When shopping for a new oral motor toy, I think it's important to consider the materials used, how soft/firm it is and whether it is appropriate for the age of the child it is being purchased for? Consider the quality of the product and whether or not bits can be bitten or broken off, the shape and texture of the toy and how the baby might be able to use and manipulate it? Can they hold it themselves? What areas of the mouth will it stimulate? Can it reach to the molars, roof of mouth etc? Will it inspire the child to use his or her tongue to play, feel and explore the toy?
Please note that I am not affiliated with any of these products or their brands and do not benefit from the purchase of these items. The links provided above are to the manufacturers websites however, these products can be found at various retailers both online and in-stores.