Would you consider board books an appetizer?

Is there some sort of vitamin or mineral missing from my son’s diet that causes him to want to eat every. single. paper product in sight?  Is this some form of Pica I’m unaware of?  Should I be supplementing his diet with fiber….tree pulp??  Maybe I missed the tree pulp section on WholesomeBabyFood.com.  I get the wanting to put things in his mouth out of curiosity.  I get wanting to bite on things to relieve teething pain.  I do not get him biting off chunks of board books and corners of junk mail daily in an all out attempt to chew and digest it.  I feed the kid – well.  Mangoes, squash, edamame, yogurt…it’s not a boring or bland diet.  Perhaps that’s what he’s craving, though.  Maybe his mouth waters at the thought of taking a big juicy bite out of a tasty Sandra Boynton book.  Snugglepuppy is thisclose to becoming unreadable.

A trip to the local mega evil mart today led us down the toy aisle.  I saw him glance over at one of the elentybillion types of creepy Elmo, and a big smile spread across his face.  I picked it up and pressed his tummy.  “Hug Elmo!”  it said (at really quite an alarming volume).  Kendall reached out for it while making this sort of noise of joy that sounds like he’s coughing up a hairball (but I assure you there is no hairball to come, it’s just his happy noise, oddly enough), his eyes got bigger and bigger.  For a second, it was adorable to see him light up that way.  I was even thinking to myself, “Damn.  He loves the thing.  I could get it and call it a Valentine’s gift, I guess.  I wonder if there is a volume control.”  As his sausage fingers drew near, I anticipated he would try to pet Elmo or squeeze him, or even draw him close and give him a kiss.  No.  The kid reached straight for the paper tag on Elmo’s hand that said “Squeeze my belly!” and tried to rip it off and shove it in his mouth.  “Well,” I thought, “that settles that.  I’m not paying $18 for a paper tag attached to a borderline annoying licensed character.”  He cried as I put Elmo back on the shelf, but stopped when I gave him the box of Mum Mums to chew on.

Kendall is 9 months, 1 week and 4 days old

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  1. Yes, yes. I did not know my DS had a love for board books until I went to get him out of his car seat after a 5 minute drive and half of the cover was gone. Oops!

    • I have a 2 year old DS lil boy and he loves to eat paper I don’t know why I also don’t know if it’s good for him I try to put all paper around the house so that he don’t get to it. But some how he finds it or my other kids leave it on the ground . But I will give him son something to snack on and meals but he won’t eat just paper. And cookies that all

  2. We don’t read non-board books to C anymore. She has ripped, licked, and eaten too many paper pages. At least the board books are a little bit harder to destroy.

  3. I caught my 8 month old baby eating magazine paper and I’m just worried that it might harm him. Can any one tell me if i have anything to worry about?

  4. My son is 2 1/2 & has not yet outgrown the paper eating. Although I sometimes wonder is he just really enjoys my reaction to it more than the taste. He thinks it’s so funny. Sandra Boynton board books were a favorite at our house too.

    • Hi there.

      Please, if you could assist me?

      Your two and a half year old would be closer to age 6 by this time, and I would love to know if he still eats paper etc?

      If he has stopped, would you be in a position to say if there was some thing specific that led him to stop?

      I am so desperate to get a solution here.


      • Hey Niki,
        He’s about 4.5 now, and it’s something he grew out of by around 2. He never ate all that much, though. I think he mainly liked to teeth on board books. Hope you find some answers!

  5. My concern is that I can’t get through a page of reading to my DD without her trying to chew the corner off. As a result, we do not read together often. I tried giving her a cloth book while I read the paper/board book, but she wants nothing to do with the one in her hand. I am at my wit’s end with this. I see other children sitting through a book with mommy and wonder why mine cannot! Any suggestions/explanations? Thx.

  6. My 10 month old is similar… We used to read all the time but we hardly read anymore due to the fact that as soon as I pull out a book he grabs for it. I try to read, thinking he’d just like to hold the book and turn pages or point at the pictures but no, he wants to hold the book so that he can shove it into his mouth and devour it. If I try to pry his vise-grip hands off, it’s a one way ticket to tantrumsville. We can’t just sit nicely and read together. Ever. If I try to read it while keeping it out of his grasp, he cries because I’m teasing him by holding up his favourite “snack” and not letting him have it. Sigh.

  7. Well I definately feel better knowing we’re not alone but what’s the answer? None of these stories surprised me, I think I’ve experienced them all! In fact, I’ve had to rearrange my pantry because my two year old gets in there and eats the corners off of anything packaged in a cardboard box! I got tired of having to prepare food we had no intention of eating that day just so it wouldn’t go bad! One small step, we recently found out he loves that awful, cardboard tasting, ultra healthy, high fiber cereal, like Kashi!

  8. Has your kid grown out of this? Mine is 9 months old and ever since he could figure out how to get things in his mouth he’s been a paper eater. Yesterday he managed to get hold of a box of tissues and had yanked out 3 and shoved in his little mouth by the time I got to him!

  9. My friends 9 year old daughter eats paper non stop at her dads house, at first I thought it was maybe because of a painful divorce now after reading all these responses I am wondering if there is a chemical in the manufacturing of cardboard and paper that is addictive to the human body??? Because these products are not made for consumption they are not regulated for addictive chemicals? It’s just a thought. I have been studying Holistic and Natural Health and Medicine for 30 years and this would not surprise me in the least. Years ago there was an article about what they put in commercial ice cream in the 60’s and 70’s most of the flavorings came from the manufacturing of adhesives, just smell blue painters tape some time it smells just like a banana I arrest my case. Maybe I should start making healthy edible paper you know find a need and fill it?

  10. Well it sounds like my two year old son isn’t the only one who eats paper. I’ve tryed everything to get him to stop, but nothing works. If he even thinks theres paper around him all he does is scream and cry until he gets it. Everyone keeps telling me that he’ll grow out of it so the only thing I can do for now is wait and see.

  11. My 2 year old girl, loves any type of paper product, I’ve had to take all of her books away and only let her have them when I am right there, I believe it is the glue that is found in the pages its salty. She prefers paper to food and I am at a loss for what to do, I am very worried that this will continue and go past the “anything in my mouth” stage. Any ideas on how to get her to eat food without locking every little scrap of paper up?

  12. Hi.
    Same situation with my 2 and a half year old. I am desperate to get some guidance so as to confirm that this situation will stop. I have two older kids and they are getting into all sorts of trouble in school because their homework is literally being eaten. We buy double the amount of toilet paper because Z goes through a role straight down the middle rendering the paper roll useless for it intended purpouse. Books,news paper,magazines,toilet rolls,cardbord cereal boxes, heck, he eats it all.

    I am taking him for a full blood count to test his iron levels( many opinions view this as a source to the problem.

  13. Hello there! I know this is kinda off topic
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  15. Jaime Slocum on

    I read your blog ALL. THE. TIME. but I occasionally love to go back through the old posts to read what you wrote when your kids were the same age as mine is now and this post couldn’t be more perfect!!

    My daughter was just given a stuffed mermaid doll as a present and the very first thing she did was find the paper tag and try to eat it. Her absolute favorite toy is a magazine that she likes to rip the pages out of and chew on.

    I’m glad its a universal truth!

  16. So my daughter just loves paper and I wanted to see if this was something that 9 months do! Well…Google landed me here! Funny how I was bit by a rabid cat at 7 months pregnant! Been sort of writing a blog to keep things updated but haven’t found a free cheap way to do it. Anyway cool site and glad to know it’s kind of normal for her to like paper!

    • Ha! It’s so funny to me that people keep finding this old post when they google stuff like that. 3 kids in and I think it’s just a normal thing. They all like to chew on everything.

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  18. Elijah K Mann on

    My daughter does the same thing! I never knew that I would have to say it, but a few Saturdays ago I had to yell to her, “No! Don’t chew on our Bible!” We have to keep anything paper up, and try to keep her in our visual range so that she doesn’t do this. I hope that she grows out of it!

  19. Klaudia Szczepaniak on

    Same thing hapenning here. I am actually scared of the day she is able to reach higher shelves as we have tons of books on them and no other place to put them. Speaking of which I am actually going to doctor’s office myself Monday,so I will make sure to ask about it. Our daugter is just over a year old, she eats 3 full meals a day. She eats only organic, nutritient dense foods (so, no cereal O’s for breakfast kind of thing) plus she is breastfed several times a day and half of the night she doesn’t sleep a block of several hours. Hardly an iron deficiency as she eats meat every single day (be it fish,poultry, red meat) plus a variety of foods reach in ascorbic acid and low in phytates and eggs. This kid will kill for eggs.

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