Oral Phase: A Crucial Period in Child Development

The oral phase is one of the critical stages in a child’s psychological development that often receives insufficient attention. During this phase, infants begin to explore their world through their mouths, engaging in activities such as sucking, biting, and swallowing.

However, this stage is not just about these physical activities. Let’s delve into more detailed information.

What Is the Oral Phase in Infants?

The oral phase is the initial stage in psychosexual development proposed by Sigmund Freud, a renowned psychoanalyst.

During this phase, the mouth becomes the primary source of pleasure for the infant and the primary means of interacting with their world. Infants will begin to suck, bite, and swallow to explore their environment.

The oral phase typically occurs from birth to around 18 months. During this period, you’ll notice how infants tend to put various objects into their mouths as a way of understanding and getting to know these objects.

Understanding this phase is crucial for parents. By doing so, you can respond appropriately to the needs of your baby. Conversely, neglecting this phase can have negative impacts on the child’s emotional or behavioral development in the future.

Characteristics of the Oral Phase in Infants

This phase has distinctive characteristics. As mentioned earlier, it involves the infant’s dependence on their mouth as the primary means of getting to know and interact with the world. Here are some characteristics and behaviors of infants during the oral phase:

1. Thumb Sucking

One of the most common signs is the habit of infants sucking their thumbs. Besides being a reflex, infants do this to feel calm and comfortable.

2. Biting Objects

Infants often bite their toys, pillows, and even their own hands. This activity is part of their exploration and familiarization with objects around them.

3. Putting Objects in the Mouth:

Infants during this phase are dominated by the desire to put various objects into their mouths. From toys to small items, everything becomes a familiar object through their mouths.

4. Enjoyment During Feeding:

As the oral phase unfolds, the role of food becomes more than just a source of nutrition for the child. The process of chewing and swallowing also provides satisfaction.

5. Response to Taste and Texture:

Infants quickly respond to various tastes and sounds experienced through their mouths, such as sweetness, saltiness, or the sound of chewing. Understanding these signs will help parents provide appropriate support during this phase.

The Importance of the Oral Phase in Emotional and Physical Development

Apart from its close connection to the physical interaction of the child with their world through their mouths, the oral phase also has profound implications for the child’s emotional and physical development. Here are some reasons why this phase is crucial in development:

  • Through breastfeeding, the infant builds their first bond with their mother.
  • When the baby feels full, warm, and comfortable after breastfeeding or being fed, they begin to develop trust in their environment and the people around them.
  • Through their mouths, infants explore the world, understanding the textures, tastes, and temperatures of various objects. This aids in sensory and motor development.
  • Even though they cannot speak yet, infants begin to communicate their needs and feelings through crying, mouth gestures, and facial expressions.
  • Habits like thumb-sucking or using other objects may develop during this phase.

A healthy oral phase ensures that the child gets the right nutrition for growth and development. Additionally, oral interaction with surrounding objects can strengthen the child’s immune system.

How to Support a Baby During the Oral Phase?

During the oral phase, infants will actively explore their surroundings by putting various objects, including toys, into their mouths. One way to support a child during this phase is to ensure the cleanliness of their environment and the toys they use.

Make sure the toys used by the child are clean, free from bacteria and germs. To anticipate this, parents can use a specialized toy cleaner that is safe, such as Buds Organics Anti-Bac Toy & Surface Cleaner.

Buds Organics Anti-Bac Toy & Surface Cleaner

The formula in this product can clean toys to keep them safe for the baby to use during the oral phase. Additionally, this product is made from certified organic ingredients by Ecocert, ensuring its safety for the baby’s toys.

This toy cleaner from Buds Organics also does not cause allergies on the baby’s skin, is free from synthetic surfactants, artificial fragrances, and other harmful chemicals, ensuring the safety and comfort of the baby during play.

More than anything, choosing the right cleaning product is one of the essential steps in ensuring the well-being of the child during the oral phase.