The rumors are true... some of our children are well-endowed with super-dee-duper tongues that come in quite handy for long distance frosting frolicking. The tongue, being a muscle, is susceptible to hypotonia and thus may be a bit difficult for your baby to keep under control.
Don’t stress about it because there are lots of things you can do to teach your little one how to manage her tongue. In the early years you will need to do the work of training this muscle for her. The payoff is greater oral motor control which means an easier time eating and speaking, as well as keeping her mouth closed when in a resting state.
The best exercise you can do is called tongue-walking. Every time your baby’s tongue is hanging out you can walk it back in by using your finger (keep gloves or antibacterial hand sanitizer on hand) to gently tap tap tap from the end of it up the center of it until you have reached the middle portion of it. Your baby’s tongue will instinctively retract and tighten in response to your touch. Do this exercise a few times in a row several times a day and anytime you spot her tongue being lax.
Other exercises include various versions of “kissing”. Put your face up close to your baby’s face and make a rounded kiss shape with your lips. Then make the kissy sound. Your baby will try to imitate you thus pulling in her tongue and strengthening her lips and cheeks. You can also do this using the “m” sound positioning of your lips. Make the sound “ma ma ma” and then put your mouth in the closed “m” position right on your baby’s mouth and hum the “m” sound so she can feel the vibrations on her lips. This also encourages her to imitate you and helps her to feel what that closed mouth “m” sound is like.
When your baby is ready to move on from the nursing or bottle stage, you can offer a cup that has a straw. Mr Juice bear or the NUK straw cup (available online at beyondplay.com and in-store at Walmart, respectively) are great options. Teaching your baby to drink from a straw rather than a sippy cup will stimulate good lip closure and keep her tongue in. (Sippy cups allow her tongue to slide out under the spout enabling bad habits.)
As your child gets older you will be able to add gentle touch mouth cueing to get her to pull her tongue in and close her mouth. There may always be times when she is tired, excited, or concentrating hard that her tongue will try to make an escape but by working with her from a young age you will minimize this and help her to gain control over that rowdy tongue.