Fabric Chewing = Deficiency?

Lounge By Melvira Updated 24 Oct 2010 , 11:51am by cabecakes

Melvira Posted 22 Oct 2010 , 8:34pm
post #1 of 23

My five year old has this bad habit of chewing on his shirt. Constantly! He will sit on the couch and just wad up a corner of his shirt and chew on it until it is soaked halfway down his chest.

Does anyone know if this can be related to a vitamin or mineral deficiency? He takes a daily vitamin and eats very well...he loves veggies, but I can't help but wonder. I haven't talked to his pediatrician yet, just thought I'd see if any of you have been through this. Since he's not EATING the fabric I can't imagine it's too unhealthy (well, for the shirts maybe!) and wouldn't be considered a pica. I know my sister used to chew on her life jacket when we went boating, but that was a texture thing. You know, that rubbery stuff they're made of?

Any thoughts?

22 replies
TexasSugar Posted 22 Oct 2010 , 8:54pm
post #2 of 23

Have you googled it? I bet somewhere on the net is some information about it. Either why, how to help change it or so on. icon_smile.gif

Does he only do it at certain times? Maybe it is comforting to him for some reason?

Texas_Rose Posted 22 Oct 2010 , 8:57pm
post #3 of 23

I think it's a stress thing. Personally, I'd give him a washcloth to chew at home (buy some fresh ones so you know it hasn't been on anyone's butt icon_razz.gif) and just discourage the habit outside of the house.

My kids both used to like to lick their blankets when they were going to sleep. They grew out of it when we moved...I think it was stress from our apartment having so many issues.

Herekittykitty Posted 22 Oct 2010 , 9:34pm
post #4 of 23

Probably just a comfort thing for him, like dragging around a blanket. I used to chew on my hair. Still catch myself "painting" my face with a lock when in deep concentration.

My sister "picks" the thick seam at the bottom of here jeans or the corner of a pillow, she determins whether a pillow case is any good by the "picker" ("picking" consists of rubbing the item between her fingers, but just he edge).

Yes, we are odd people.

Melvira Posted 22 Oct 2010 , 9:44pm
post #5 of 23

I don't think it's stress related, since he doesn't have a stressful life, but I could be totally wrong! I have recently had surgery, and though he appears to be perfectly fine, he may feel a little stress from me being not at 100% for a while.

When he was little he'd pick the threads out of blankets kind of like your sis HereKittyKitty. It made me crazy because he pretty much ruined an amazing handmade blanket that my sister cross stitched for him...and I don't mean one little cross stitch corner, I mean this blanket is AMAZING! I ended up putting it away before he totally ruined it. He also picked off the border in his room on two walls. Little turd. He's lucky he's cute! icon_lol.gif

Thanks for your input friends. At our next check up I'll be sure to ask our ped. If it gets out of control I won't wait of course. And I think I will try googling it. Don't know why I didn't. I always look *everything* up, ya know? I guess I value you guys more than Google! Hehe.

TexasSugar Posted 22 Oct 2010 , 9:54pm
post #6 of 23

Sometimes google is our friend. icon_smile.gif I always turn to CC as well, even for the non cake stuff. But then I also try to look other places because you never know what information you will turn up.

Texas_Rose Posted 22 Oct 2010 , 9:59pm
post #7 of 23

Kids, especially smart, sensitive ones, can get stressed out more easily than you'd think. You having surgery would be a cause of stress for him...I had surgery when my youngest was 3 and she was majorly stressed out...going around telling her daddy he was doing things wrong, and worrying that there wasn't going to be any food or clean clothes. She was washing her hands 50 times a day. I asked her doctor if she was a little nutty (runs in my family haha) and he said it was just a stress thing.

She started the handwashing thing again recently, after my older daughter was threatened by a classmate. We use the foamy soap and she's going through a bottle every three days.

Melvira Posted 22 Oct 2010 , 11:02pm
post #8 of 23

Oh man, that's tough Texas_Rose. My son is very sensitive and 'in touch' like your daughter. I'm sure that probably is part of it. I know the chewing started before I had surgery, but it's been much more prevalent since then. I'm feeling better now, so hopefully we'll see some improvement with it. If not, then we just have to help him through it. thumbs_up.gif

cakesbycathy Posted 22 Oct 2010 , 11:41pm
post #9 of 23

My seven and a half year old son does that also, He will also chew on the blanket on the sofa and the corners of throw pillows.
He doesn't realize he is doing it either.

I don't know if it's a stress thing or just one of those "things" people do out of nervousness or boredom or just a unconcious habit like twirling their hair or biting their nails, etc. It usually happens when he's watching tv.

I've decided it's not a battle worth fighting.

7yyrt Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 1:47am
post #10 of 23

I wouldn't worry too much myself, but I found this from a pediatrician.
Some kids just like to have stuff in their mouths; it's comforting, like a pacifier is to a baby. It's not usually harmful, unless they could choke on what they're chewing (say, if pieces of the blanket are coming off) or they're getting enough of the object into their mouths to put pressure on the teeth. This is more of an issue when permanent teeth begin to come in, around age 6, but you should let your dentist know about your kid's habit now so he can watch for trouble.

In the meantime, help your child break it over time by gently reminding him not to do it, distracting him from chewing, and simply trying to keep that blanket away from his mouth -- especially as those permanent teeth begin to come in.

Also remember: Wet blankets, and any other fabric he's putting in his mouth, are more likely to grow germs, so make sure you wash them frequently.

Claire McCarthy, M.D., director of pediatrics at the Martha Eliot Health Center, in Jamaica Plain, MA, and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School. She's also busy raising five children.

Melvira Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 2:19am
post #11 of 23

7yyrt, that was the article that I found when I did a search! I was glad to hear that I'm not alone. I figured this was a phase, but my hubby is pretty new to kids (I've babysat and had neices and nephews since I was 9, so I'm kind of used to stuff more than he is!) and gets a little nervous. He's always wondering if there is something *wrong*. icon_lol.gif

But thanks everyone for sharing your experiences with me, it's good to know we're all in this together. thumbs_up.gif

jen1977 Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 3:10am
post #12 of 23

Both of my boys went thru this stage....the older would chew holes in the end of his sleeves, and the younger would chew on the neck of his shirt, holes in them and soaking it in a huge area down the front. I'm convinced they both did it out of boredom and that they started doing it at school. They would do it at home if they were reading or watching tv. I got tired of buying new shirts and we started making them replace the shirts that they chewed the holes in, and it stopped pretty quickly after buying the first few.

Melvira Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 4:02am
post #13 of 23

Oh yes, I love the 'hosed down' look! You can't imagine how a kid could not be dehydrated when you see the shirt soaked like that! icon_confused.gif Talk about cotton mouth! icon_lol.gif

indydebi Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 8:36am
post #14 of 23
Originally Posted by Melvira

He's lucky he's cute! icon_lol.gif

That's what I tell my grandson. He just looks at me and very matter of factly says, "Yeah ..... I know." icon_biggrin.gif

leily Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 12:44pm
post #15 of 23

I can't help with the chewing, but this post really brought home how long i've been on CC, when you said "my 5 year old"...my first thought was "but i remember when she had her kids, have we really all been on CC that long?" We really are our own little family eh?

Melvira Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 1:43pm
post #16 of 23
Originally Posted by leily

I can't help with the chewing, but this post really brought home how long i've been on CC, when you said "my 5 year old"...my first thought was "but i remember when she had her kids, have we really all been on CC that long?" We really are our own little family eh?

I KNOW!!! I can remember getting on here and telling you guys I was pregnant! I told YOU before I told my hubby's family!! icon_surprised.gif Well, you guys are nicer to me. icon_lol.gif But I think that was my second. I think my first was a baby when I found this place.

You wanna talk funny though...my pregnancies were VERY planned...and it turned out that I was sharing a hotel room with another prominent member here down at the OSSAS show in 2007 the weekend it was time to 'test'. So yah, my cake family is pretty important to me! icon_wink.gif

costumeczar Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 4:15pm
post #17 of 23

My daughter used to stuff her mouth full of mulch and rocks and walk around with them in her cheeks like a squirrel. I don't think that was because of a vitamin deficiency, she's just weird heh heh heh! He's probably just doing it because it's become a habit, nothing to worry about.

Melvira Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 4:49pm
post #18 of 23

Ewww...that's gross!! Bless her little heart! icon_lol.gif

costumeczar Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 5:44pm
post #19 of 23
Originally Posted by Melvira

Ewww...that's gross!! Bless her little heart! icon_lol.gif

Heh heh...I was standing outside with another mom once while the kids were playing, and she came walking up looking like a chipmunk. I said "What's in your mouth? Spit it out" She opned her mouth and about 20 rocks came out, and I turned and continuede my conversation like nothing had happened. The other mom was cracking up, but for me that was a normal event.

Jessymessy Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 8:48pm
post #20 of 23

Maybe he thinks the laundry detergent or fabric softener tastes good. I can remember chewing and sucking on the collar of my shirts when I was little, but I grew out of it pretty quickly.

Melvira Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 9:32pm
post #21 of 23

Hahaha, we do use a Lavender fabric softener...smells pretty good! icon_lol.gif I don't know that it would taste very good though!

I'm super bummed because for some reason I can't get pictures attached, and I wanted to show you guys the happy boy with his new 'chewie' washcloth! I even asked him if he'd like his own washcloth to chew on and he was all excited! Then I made him promise he'd use that instead of his shirt! So, I guess any time he feels like chewing, we'll just pull out another clean cloth. I'm even letting him use my good microfiber ones! Hahaha, nothing is too good for MY boy! icon_lol.gif

cakesbycathy Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 11:34pm
post #22 of 23

Your son might be a little old for this but,
one of the gifts I give for every baby shower I go to or any new baby gift I send includes a "chewy blanket"
It's a small square blanket that's a little bigger than a washcloth and made out of the same material. each of the corners has a plastic square that the babies can chew on. All 3 of my kids loved them.

Target carries them I think.

cabecakes Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 11:51am
post #23 of 23

I wouldn't stress myself out over it. All my kids at one point or another have chewed on one thing or another. I would say that it is stress related. I would just do as the article mentioned and just give him a gentle reminder not to do it. If he is more prone to do it subconsciously (like when watching television), just kind of watch him during that time. After a while it will become irritating to him for you to ask him to stop. But I do kind of like the idea of making them buy their own shirts too, although he is a little small for that. Heehee. I can see where it wouldn't take a kid long to stop.

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