Why does my child eat paper?

Seeking advice on daughter who eats paper.

I have a 14-month-old baby girl who is obsessed with eating paper. We have to put her books up high on shelves so she won’t chew and tries to eat them. It’s not just books though it’s everything paper related mail, newspapers, toilet paper anything she can get her hands on. So my question is if anyone else is struggling with this or has any tips on how to overcome this obstacle?


Cravings for non food items sometimes signals health problems. Have her evaluated by a doctor.


Have her lead levels checked… Pica can be a result of the body trying to get nutrition from non food items. If this is new behavior she probably has a vitamin/mineral deficiency that needs to be looked into.
If this behavior has been going on for a while it could just be a behavior you will have to work to correct. Give her one of those necklaces they have for teething babies. At least this way you know what she is putting in her mouth is safe and she won’t choke on it. Good luck!!


Most likely either pica, or just sensory. Just continue reinforcing “we eat food”, stopping her when she is eating it, or even offer something appropriate to put in her mouth when you see it happening like a pacifier or teether for example

1 Like

My daughter did the same. The texture of it seemed to be what she liked. We took away her books for awhile and when we reintroduced she wasn’t interested in eating them anymore.


My 20 mo old twins do the same :joy:

1 Like

My daughter went through ghe same thing when she was a baby from before 1 to maybe 1&1/2…I took her to the dr & they kept telling me it was Pica…of course it wasn’t…I took her to the dr. & had her evaluated again & they drew blood & her blood level was at about a 2 & we were rushed to a childrens hospital & they could not understand how she was still with us! Please look into it & have a blood test! Our dsughters iron was insanely low. She was in the hospital for a few days & had blood transfusions & had to keep going back to the specialist for quite some time. Looking back at her pictures I can see she was quite pale but we never noticed it!

1 Like

She’s a tiny toddler, this is what they do. It’s your job to teach her not to.

1 Like

What happened to the days when you called the pediatrician if the child was doing something odd or if you had a question about your child? :roll_eyes:
PICA is the first thing that comes to mind. If your child is craving/eating anything other than something meant to be eaten, call the doctor.


I agree with above about PICA and I would have her Lead Levels checked just to be sure. For some kids it can be sensory and just making sure that your consistent in telling her we only eat our food we don’t eat our books.

1 Like

She’s A baby they put EVERYTHING In thier mouths. It’s not an ‘eating’ or ‘craving’ that’s how littles explore their world.
Get babe some board books and lots of teething toys and relax


Get levels checked. PICA is no joke and it is better to get things balanced as quick as possible before damage is done.

1 Like

Just keep telling her no, keep papers put out of her reach as much as you can, keep an eye on her, and maybe discuss with her pediatrician. I doubt she has pica or anything (worth looking into though), but eating paper can cause intestinal problems too. Its more than likely just a phase.

Called xylophagia (paper eating) or pica

1 Like

I’m sorry I been dealing with toddlers for well over 25 years and it’s NOT normal for them to eat paper constantly! Especially if they keep doing it and searching for it! So anyone saying it’s normal for them to explore constantly eating paper surely doesn’t deal with children daily! Call her dr and demand them to find answers! Pica is one thing but it could be something else, get her levels checked!


My almost 1 yo is obsessed with trying to eat paper too :joy::rofl:

Mixture of sensory and pica. My 4 yr old was tested for it a few months back because she always tries to eat paper

I work with kiddos who do this. It sounds similar to picca. I would definitely make observations, consult with your doctor and go from there. I worked with one who ate drywall.

1 Like

As well as levels like the above said. She could be lacking iron or something like that.


Pica or perhaps autism? I had Pica.

My daughter did this too! She grew out of it for the most part lol she’s almost two now

1 Like

My daughter literally ate every book we got her until she was like… 3? lol
She also sucked and chewed on baby wipes obsessively, but eventually she discovered rubbery squishy toys. Now she rips them apart and chews on them like gum. :nauseated_face:
I told her she’s primed for cancer at this point, but she’s unphased. It’s not PICA, btw.


My daughter chewed on all her books… Teething maybe or i would have her tested for anything

My son used to eat fuzz. He ate like half of one of his favorite baby blanket he named “happy”. I had some fuzzy slippers, he’d crawl up and eat those too. Had a fuzzy robe that was threadbare on the shoulder from him eating that, too. 🤷
He’s still weird, but he’s fine. He grew out of it by 3.
(I’m not a Dr tho. Should probably call them if you’re worried.)

1 Like

My 10 month old eats paper. And my nephew does also. I think it’s a sensory thing.

I have a son who was and still is obsessed with eating paper. One time he ate a whole page out of a catalog. I didn’t know he had it. He is 7 years old and I still catch him eating paper and cardboard. The only thing I found that has helped is always try to watch him with paper. (It’s hard I know) paper is everywhere. And I’ve spoken to him about how it’s not good to eat it. That it could block to his bowel and he could go to hospital. That has worked mostly but he still has the urge to eat paper. It’s hard for a 14 month old to understand that. But me personally I just persevered by keeping a close eye on him while young. And talking to him about it as he got older. He tells me it tastes good and he likes to eat it. Weird haha but it’s getting less and less. Sorry I couldn’t be much more help. :smiley:

1 Like

My son did the same thing. Even his books he’d knaw on the corners of them, I think he was about 2 1/2-3 when he stopped completely. He’s gonna be 8 in November and we laugh about it now when we read his old books :joy:

My son was relentless eating paper. Started as early as teething and nawed his wood crib like a beaver! He grew out out of it eventually. Don’t recall exactly how old . Elemenrty school sometime.I had never heard of Pica. He is 22 now and his daughter 2 eats books.

Funny… this PICA sounds alot like iron deficiency… you could have her tested for that.

1 Like

I used to eat (clean) toilet paper and driveway gravel. Mom said I couldn’t be left alone in the yard for a second because if they turned their head I would have a handful of gravel in my mouth. As for the toilet paper, I grabbed the end of the roll and ate on the run, pulling it as I went, from the bathroom through the bedroom (that the bathroom was in) kitchen and them living room. Amazingly it didn’t break. I did get sick, and finally stopped eating it but would still carry it around the house. Guess they made it stronger in the 60’s because it didn’t break. LOL

Get her checked for pica… her iron could be low.

Definitely sounds like some kind of vitamin deficiency / pica

I used to eat baby lotion. She’ll probably grow out of it, but it doesn’t hurt to check with her pediatrician about Pica.

There is a medical reason they do this guys, vitamin deficiency and other things related to needing more fiber in diets etc, talk it over with their doctor, surprised at how many haven’t thought to do this

I want to eat paper when my iron is low. I don’t as I’m a grown woman lol For kids it will be harder, as you are experiencing now and know. I’d get her bloodwork done just to check

My 3 yr old still does this crap… Chews on… EVERYTHING