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What to Do When Your Baby Eats a Napkin: A Guide for Parents

Discovering that your baby has eaten a napkin can be alarming for any parent. This guide aims to provide clear steps to follow in such a situation and strategies to prevent it from happening in the future.

Understanding the Situation: Baby Ate Napkin

Why Would a Baby Eat a Napkin?

Babies, especially those between 6 to 12 months, explore their environment by putting objects in their mouths. This phase, known as mouthing, helps them understand the world around them. While this is a normal part of development, it can sometimes lead to a baby eating a non-food item like a napkin.

What to Do if Your Baby Eats a Napkin

First Steps

Firstly, don’t panic. If your baby ate a small piece of napkin and doesn’t seem distressed, it’s likely they’ll be able to pass it through their digestive system. Monitor their bowel movements for the next few days.

When to Seek Medical Help

If your baby appears to be choking, is coughing excessively, vomits, or shows signs of distress, seek immediate medical attention. Also, if the napkin doesn’t appear in your baby’s stool within a few days, contact your pediatrician.

Prevention and Baby Safety

Keeping Your Baby Safe

To prevent future incidents, maintain a clean, baby-proof environment. Keep small objects and non-food items out of your baby’s reach. Always supervise meal times and play sessions, especially when paper products are involved.

Understanding the Behavior: Babies and Eating Non-Food Items

Why Do Babies Eat Paper, Napkins, and Other Non-Food Items?

Babies are naturally curious and explore their world by putting things in their mouths. This behavior, seen in babies between 6 to 12 months, helps them understand different textures and shapes. However, this curiosity sometimes extends to non-food items like paper, napkins, and even plastic or cardboard.

Is It Normal for Babies to Eat Paper?

While not ideal, it’s not uncommon for babies to occasionally ingest small amounts of paper. However, this should not be encouraged due to potential choking hazards and the possibility of consuming harmful substances.

Managing the Situation: When Your Baby Eats a Napkin or Similar Items

What Should I Do If My Baby Eats Paper or a Napkin?

Firstly, remain calm. If your baby ate a small piece of paper or napkin and isn’t showing signs of distress, it’s likely they’ll be able to pass it without any issues. Monitor their bowel movements over the next few days.

What to Do If Your Baby Is Choking on Paper

If your baby appears to be choking, is coughing excessively, or shows other signs of distress such as vomiting or difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention.

Understanding Potential Risks

Could Eating Paper Indicate Pica?

Pica is a condition characterized by eating non-food items for over a month, often associated with nutritional deficiencies or developmental issues. If your baby consistently eats paper or other non-food items, consult with a healthcare professional.

What Happens If My Baby Eats Plastic?

Ingesting plastic poses a higher risk than eating paper as it can potentially cause harm to the digestive system and may not pass easily. If your baby has consumed plastic, seek medical attention immediately.

Is Wrapping Paper Toxic to Babies?

Some wrapping papers may contain harmful dyes or chemicals. While a tiny bit is unlikely to cause harm, it’s crucial to prevent babies from eating any kind of paper.

Sleep and Safety: How Can Help

As parents, ensuring our children’s safety extends into all aspects of their lives, including sleep. This is where can play a crucial role. Promoting Safe and Sound Sleep is a valuable resource committed to promoting healthy sleep habits for your little ones. Adequate sleep is crucial for a baby’s development and overall health.

Additionally, a well-rested baby is less likely to engage in potentially harmful behavior such as eating non-food items. offers practical advice and techniques to help your baby sleep better and, in turn, promote safer daytime behavior.


When a baby eats a napkin, it can be a nerve-wracking moment for parents. Stay calm, monitor your child, and reach out to healthcare professionals when in doubt. To prevent such incidents, maintain a baby-safe environment, and invest in your baby’s sleep health. Remember, good sleep habits, like those promoted by, are a cornerstone of a happy, healthy, and safe baby.

1 thought on “What to Do When Your Baby Eats a Napkin: A Guide for Parents”

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