Posts Tagged ‘first words’

Did my Baby Just Talk?

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Did my Baby Just Talk? First words are one of those milestones that encompass so much. But when is it a first word? Does it only require the audible creation of sound— “ma” said twice in quick succession? Perhaps it needs to be said purposefully, toward an object or in response to a question? Does it need to be clear for anyone to understand or just a parent or caregiver who knows the child best? Is saying it one time enough to count as a “real” word?

Repetitive sounds, like mama and dada, might come out first because your child is most familiar with your encouragement of those words, but research also shows repetitive sounds are appear to be hard-wired into our brains. Ba, da, and ma so happen to be easier to say in speech development, so mama and dada are at an advantage over almost any other combination of letters in the English language.

So when can you expect those first words? Coos and babbles come first, quickly proceeded by repetition of random sounds (ba-ba-ba-ba) by eight months. Enter here the moment when almost every parent gets excited when the random repetition so happens to come in the form of “ma” or “da.” It was a video-worthy moment in our home!

But it’s somewhere between nine and fourteen months most babies utter their first purposeful word. Aside from the names of parents or other caregivers, words like no or bye-bye are also common as well as names of siblings or family pets.

Don’t underestimate how much your child can understand, though. They may only be speaking baby talk, but their minds understand more than their tongues let on. Whatever the word and whenever it happens aside, encourage your child’s development by reading books with and regularly talking to your child, and limiting television (which does not generally encourage active participation. Beyond initiating conversation with your babe, also allow your babe to start the conversation and reflect what you hear back. Play with sounds, tone, and volume of speech. Most of all, have fun!

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.