My 2-year-old likes to chew on her hair: Help?

Has anyone experienced having a toddler (almost 2) that seems to compulsively want to chew on hair, paper, or pretty much anything she’s not supposed to? She has all of her teeth except for her 2 yr molars. I’ve noticed this behavior for a few months, but it seems to be getting a little worse. An example being; she will seek out hairs to put in her mouth. If she cannot find one (like on my shirt or her shirt) she will literally come at me to pull my hair out of my head, when I stop her, she becomes frustrated and will pull out her own hair. She doesn’t actually ingest the hair because I stop her when I see her doing it she just wraps it around her hands and pulls it through her front teeth (kinda like a flossing motion). She also likes to eat paper, books, clothing tags, bite her nails, etc. This has become less frequent as she has gotten older, but she still does it. I do notice it is at its worst when we are in the car or having some quiet time or before bed. This is my first child. Is this a phase? I plan on talking to her doctor at her next check-up. I’ve looked it up, but all I keep finding are things like pica, autism, and sensory issues. I don’t necessarily think it’s any of those things because the chewing thing is the only thing I’ve noticed that seems not normal. Any advice? I feel bad because until now, I’ve been getting onto her when I see her doing it. But now I wonder if there’s something wrong that causes her to do this.


My daughter chews on hair and anything. We have gotten bracelets and necklaces that are made for chewing. She is 6 and it’s a nervous habit. Maybe offer her something she is allowed to chew on

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Yes, probiotics helped. My son no longer does this. It was quite bad for a bit. My uncle did this as a child, too, he has Crohn’s disease.

My middle daughter put everything in her mouth not to eat but to chew, I’d love to give you lovely advice but she’s almost 9 years old and still chews on random things. I have never really worried about it, she’s healthy and normal and extremely smart so I just figure it’s a quirk? I used to chew my hair until I was fairly old like 10 maybe? I’m 35 and still like it twirl it in my fingers, I hate that habit because I feel like I look dumb but I’ve never been able to break it. Again, I think it’s a quirk/comfort thing. I twirl my hair when I’m stressed out or trying to focus on something.


Is it a sensory thing? Have you noticed her tending to need a certain blanket or pillow, issues with clothing, certain food textures? Or is it just this.

Chewing is a sensory issue. It doesn’t have to be tied to other sensory issues or full blown sensory processing disorder. Get her appropriate chewies or chewelry (they even make chewy scarves since she likes fabric) and redirect, redirect, redirect. Every time she puts her hair in her mouth, hand her a chewy and tell her that is what she can chew on. Don’t scold or shame her because she’s looking for stimulation or input that we don’t understand the need for.


My son is 10 and still does this all the time.

My now 4 year old did this. It was caused bye an iron defficiency

Can be iron… And also to sooth. My son chews his blanket when he feels uneasy, Literally the corners to shreds. And my daughter usto chew/eat her hair.

My daughter use to chew her hair also but her iron was always good not sure what or why she did it I’d always tell her that was yucky no no yuck and as she’s gotten older still chew on paper and such I think more habbit but now old enough have gum helps and I give her vitamins everyday

Look into PICA. My 5 year old eats everything.

That is a iron deficiency please get her to her pediatrician for blood tests and the doctor will treat her for it

One of my granddaughters used to chew her hair and my son and daughter-in-law would stop her.Then she started pulling out her eyebrows. She went a couple months with no eyebrows.I don’t know what they did except she was diagnosed ADHD and I haven’t noticed her doing either one since.

Get her out of the habit IMMEDIATELY! My cousin used to chew her hair and ended up in the hospital for almost a month after having to have emergency surgery to remove the hairball that was clogging her intestines and almost killed her.

Could have PICA. My 5 year old does- she’s on the spectrum, but some kids, and adults just have PICA. See your pediatrician for a referral to a child psychologist. My daughter walked in, sat for a minute, walked over to the rug and picked it up, and licked the floor. Woman looks at me, says: have you heard of PICA?


My 5 year old chewed on her hair for so long we talked to her pediatric and had her put on meds for anxiety that were safe for her. She would even pick sores on her whole body face and all. The meds helped so much and she stopped chewing her hair and picking wounds

talk with her pediatrician, she may have psychological disorder, or starting to show signs of autism…or other lack of coping skills.

sounds like on the autism spectrum…my grandson is thirteen and still will chew alot of things,unless we give him chewing gum then he doesnt …

It could be a sensory processing thing look up sensory processing disorder.

It’s nervous anxiety. Symptom