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You are eagerly awaiting your baby’s first words and are telling yourself that all these dirty diapers, sleepless nights and hours of crying (you and the baby) are going to be worth it when that first syllable pops out. But when is your little darling going to spout her first words and thrill you with her incessant talk?
Every baby gets there in her own time and her first word is only after she makes her way through all her baby-babble. This phase is pretty important as your baby is learning to enunciate and communicate. This mindless sound is actually leading somewhere productive and will get you to the ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’ place.
When Will Your Baby Start to Talk?
Till about six months your little one’s main source of direct communication with you will be crying. But during this time at about four-and-a-half months, she will also begin to develop an association between certain sounds and things. She will realise one sound refers to the dog and distinguish that something with this sound is linked to a particular lip movement. Her incoherent baby-babble will develop certain noises like ‘m’ and ‘b’. What is truly exciting is your baby could recognise her own name or realise you are greeting her at this point.
When Will Your Baby Start Talking Clearly and in Full Sentence?
Around six to seven months, your little bundle of joy will start to blurt sounds closer to words and it could sound like gibberish to you but in reality, it contains tone and inflexion! What does this mean? Your baby is conveying meaning and feeling in her babbling, that’s what! Remember, on a cellular level that little brain is firing at incredible rates and neurons are being created with every action you take around the baby.
So, you are probably wondering what age babies start talking. Like everything else, it is when they please and are ready! At around nine months in, this tiny human being is communicating via gestures and grunts.
“That thing over there? I want it.”
“This nasty oatmeal you are trying to feed me? I am going to push it away!”
The next months will bring a combination of sounds to be more expressive. This will go on until the twelfth month which is the common ‘baby first words age’ and she has possibly started spouting those cherished first words. Again, do not fret if she does not say her first word by now. It is perfectly natural for her to take her time. Common first words could be her terms for her parents, greetings and things she likes such as a cookie! She will take a while to form full sentences.
From there? It is a slippery slope. This is new and exciting and she has discovered that her parents seem to love it so why not explore it some more? One word will indicate the meaning of a full sentence. So, if they want a cookie they will just say the word ‘cookie’. She will gradually develop an understanding of syntax, grammar and manners through her toddler years. Expect an explosion of language post nineteen months and it will continue to come. After all, the tiny terror in every toddler needs to communicate and share their defiance somehow.
How Will Your Baby Learn to Talk?
A baby’s understanding of language begins by listening to her mother’s voice constantly. This progress continues through her life and if you are bilingual, that is, your home is bilingual, she will experience progress equally in both tongues.
You and your baby’s primary caregivers will be her first connection to communication. She will learn non-verbal communication from you and develop her skills in this area first. Expect her first words around six months and watch her bloom with full conversations being possible by three years old.
How Can You Help Your Baby to Talk?
Here are a few ways you could encourage your baby to talk.
1. Talk to Her
Resist the urge to baby talk and coo at her. This is not how to teach a baby to talk. You are her source of communication and her guide to a solid conversation. Speak clearly and simply. Point out things around and chat about things like she likes, even if it is her food. Do not worry, this does not have to be a constant chatter.
2. Read Stories to Her
This is another great way to share a range of emotion and experience with her. An added bonus is that she will be interested in the story and be easier to deal around bedtime.
3. Sing Songs
Mothers instinctively talk in higher pitches and coo at their babies and a mother’s instinct is always right. This tone encourages language comprehension and not only soothes your baby or entertains her. The vocabulary in these songs also opens up a whole world to your little angel as well.
4. Encourage Her to Repeat
Describe what you are doing and ask her to repeat it with no pressure. Make it seem fun and maybe even ask her to repeat certain words till she is ready to do full sentences. If you say ‘Lucy is eating her eggs’ then point at the bowl and say ‘eggs’ for her to understand this has a meaning. She will learn to associate experiences like certain tastes with words and may even demand eggs in the future.
5. No TV
Babies are learning from your live talk performance because it is rewarding. A TV offers no reward and is mostly just 2D noise to them that entertains. You are overjoyed by her talk and encourage her chatter unlike these characters, even the educational programmes do not do this.
Things to Avoid When Your Baby is Learning to Talk?
Keep these things in mind if you are hoping to encourage your baby to talk.
- Do not coo or simply make noises at her.
- Do not leave her sitting in front of the TV.
- Do not push her beyond her levels.
- Do not show displeasure or anxiety in reaction to her not talking.
- Do not panic if she does not hit her talking milestones.
What Can You Do if Your Child isn’t Talking?
Here are a few simple things you could do to help your baby talk if she hasn’t begun yet.
- Play games with her and encourage every single noise she makes. After all, every baby wants to impress her caregivers and get the doting affection of those around her
- As your child grows to be a toddler, a sibling or cousins could encourage her development in terms of social and cognitive development to a large degree. She will find her path in her own time as do all babies
- Have patience. You will see everything you taught her will fall into place and her babble will one day become talk
When Do You Need to Worry?
Consult a doctor if your baby shows the following signs.
- By about fourteen months, if your baby has not said her first word
- By her second year if there is no recognition of about fifty words, or she cannot speak ten words
You should not panic about this but be thorough. Before jumping to conclusions and thinking autism, consider hearing tests, speech evaluation and developmental screenings.
Take a deep breath and join your little one on her newest journey. You have the skills to do this as evolution and Mother Nature has equipped you for it on multiple levels. Follow the above pointers and more importantly, your gut instincts as well as your baby’s indicators. Essentially work with her to ensure she can chatter with you and take the next step in her development. Realise you are dealing with a tiny human being who will get there in her own time and will joyously share it with you when she does.
Also Read: Baby Crawling Milestone