When Do Babies Start Saying 'Mama' & 'Dada'?

When Do Babies Start Saying ‘Mama’ & ‘Dada’?

It is an absolute delight for parents to see their babies utter their first words! However, long before babies start talking, they acquaint themselves with various sounds or babbling and cooing. But the question of when babies start saying words like ‘Mama and ‘Papa’, may pop up in many parents’ minds. They eagerly wait for their little one to say these words, and it’s also a fun experience for both partners, with each one urging the baby to say ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ first. After all, it’s all in good spirit, and your baby is soon going to say much more than just these two words. Well, if you are wondering when do babies say mama or dada, and are interested in knowing more on this topic, we suggest reading the following post!

At What Age Babies Say ‘Mama’ and ‘Dada’?

We all know for the fact that all babies may reach different milestones at different times, and the same holds true in this case too. If you’re wondering when do babies say ‘mama’ and ‘dada’, the first thing to know is that it will happen in its own time. However, at around seven months of age, your munchkin may start making sounds like ‘mamamama’ or ‘dadadada’, but these are more of babbling sounds than actual words. At around nine months of age, your baby may start saying the actual words.

Why Are Babies’ First Words Always Mama Or Dada?

There are a couple of reasons why a baby’s first word is ‘mama’ or ‘dada.’ First off, babies often try to mimic sounds that they hear often. So, if you or your partner keep urging your baby to repeat these words by saying it to him often, he will latch on to the sound and try to mimic it, resulting in a sound that sounds similar to ‘mama’ or ‘dada’. 

Additionally, these two words are made up of repeating sounds or syllables – ‘ma’ + ‘ma’ and ‘da’ + ‘da’. This actually makes the task easy, and by saying these words in front of your little one, he will at some point say them back to you. 

What Will Your Baby Say First- ‘Mama’ or ‘Dada’?

You’re probably wondering, ‘do babies say mama or dada first?’ As a mom, you may want your baby to say ‘Mama’ first, but your partner may be secretly wishing for your baby’s first word to be ‘Dada’. Well, usually people often assume that a baby’s first word would be ‘dada’ because ‘da’ sound is easier to make than ‘ma’ sound. However, that may not be the case; rather, some babies may be more interested in saying ‘ma’ sound. So, the probability of your baby saying ‘dada’ or ‘mama’ may depend on which sound the baby latches on, that is if the baby latches on to ‘da’, then he may say ‘dada’ first and vice versa.

Also, the primary caregiver may have the edge over the other, which means if the mom spends more time with the baby, the baby may say ‘mama’ first, and this is why most babies usually say ‘mama’!

Do Babies Really Mean It When They Say ‘Mama’ and ‘Dada’?

Though your baby may start babbling words at around seven months of age, he may be uttering actual words by nine months or beyond. However, most parents may actually wonder whether or not their munchkin actually means what he uttered. Well, it is quite unlikely for babies to actually understand or connect with what they say before one year of age. So, be watchful as parents to see when your baby actually starts making sense with words!

Tips to Make Babies Say ‘Mama’ or ‘Dada’

Tips to Make Babies Say 'Mama' or 'Dada'

Despite your best efforts, your baby may sometimes take his own time to say these words, prompting you to wonder how to teach the baby to say mama or dada.  You cannot rush with your baby’s milestones. However, if you feel your baby’s language skills may not be developing according to the expected timeframe, here are some tips that can help your baby develop good language skills:

1. Work With the Senses

Repeating ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ again and again is one of the best ways of encouraging your baby to say these words. However, placing your baby’s hand over your mouth as you utter ‘ma’ may help in getting the feel of the word. Doing this exercise with your baby is a great way of stimulating your baby’s auditory, visual, and tactile skills.

2. Talk to Your Baby

Sometimes parents prefer babbling with their baby instead of talking with them thinking that it’s cute or they may be pretending to be conversing in baby language. Doing so once in a while can be adorable and cute, but doing so on a regular basis may not help with your baby’s language skills. Instead, talk to your baby about things around you, about your day, about what he is doing, etc. or simply sing or point and say the name of objects, and soon the baby will start saying momma or dada too!

3. The ‘Mama’ or ‘Dada’ Photo Album

Make a photo album with ‘Mama’ or ‘Dada’ pictures and every time you show the album to baby, you repeat the ‘Mama’ word. You can do that for every picture in the album and as you do so, point to the picture and to yourself. Doing so several times may help your baby to understand and associate the word with you. The same exercise can be repeated for ‘Dada’ too.

4. The Peek-a-Boo Game

Most parents play peek-a-boo games with their babies, and this fun game is also a great way of teaching ‘Mama’ or ‘Papa’ words to a baby. You can hide behind the door, curtain, or simply hide under the blanket, and every time you pop out from the place of hiding; you can say ‘Mama’. Do this a few times a day and within a few days, your baby may say ‘Mama’ when you pop out, instead of you saying so!

5. Pay Attention to What Your Baby Says

Your baby may be babbling, but he is trying to communicate with you in his own language. You should not ignore what your baby may be trying to communicate, and soon you may notice your munchkin making all the sense and saying the much-awaited words that may be the sweetest sounding words ever, that is ‘Mama’ and ‘Dada’.

6. Facing Your Child

Face your child when you say the words ‘mama’ or ‘dada.’ He should be able to see the movement of your mouth while doing so, and will -over time- try to mimic it.

7. Read to Your Child

Saying the words ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ is just the first step to developing language skills. Start off by reading simple books to your child that have these words in them. By hearing these words constantly through the book, he will try to repeat them. It’s important to read to your child everyday, so this is a good way to start.


1. When Should I Get Worried About My Baby Not Saying ‘Mama’ and ‘Dada’?

Every child is different, and will start speaking in their own time. However, if your baby isn’t saying these words or any others at all by 12-15 months, consult a paediatrician. He will be able to address any concerns and also check for any hearing or speech issues.

2. Is There A Difference Between How Boys And Girls Say “Mama”?

There’s no difference between how a boy and how a girl says the word ‘mama.’ This is dependent on the baby itself, as each baby will pronounce it differently, and doesn’t have any relation to gender.

3. Does Saying ‘Mama Indicate a Stronger Emotional Bond Between an Infant and Their Mother?

Initially, babies repeat the words ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ simply as a repetition, as they are too young to know the meaning behind them. Your baby may just be mimicking the sound of this word, as you say it more frequently around him. However, as a parent, hearing your child say ‘mama’ is a deeply emotional moment that will bond you for life! 

As parents, we wait eagerly for our babies to do everything at a fast-pace, but that is not the case. Every baby is special and different in a special way. You may need to exercise patience and sometimes hard work to help your child achieve these milestones and, in this case, talking to your child, reading, playing music and above all being patient will be really helpful!

Also Read:

Baby Speaking Milestone
Baby Talking Milestone
When Do Babies Recognise Their Father, Mother and Other People

Previous article «
Next article »
Gauri Ratnam completed her Masters in English Literature from the University of Pune. She began her journey as a German translator soon after completing her graduation, but later moved on to pursue her passion for writing. Having written for both digital and print media in a varied range of industries, she has the ability to write relatable and well-researched content, benefical for anyone seeking advice or direction.