When should babies start talking?
“Wow, our little angel just said her first word!”
“Wow, our little angel just said her first sentence!”
Welcome to the delightful process known as parenthood.
A baby is a brand new human with an agenda they don’t yet understand and a fairly busy schedule of peeing, pooing and crying. Yet as they go from baby to toddler, they’ll start the process of communication in fairly predictable stages.
While this is only a guide, it gives you some idea what to expect as your baby embarks on the communication journey.
The babbling phase
Your baby will progress from the coos and goos of the first few months to the babbling phase; this starts around 4 months. Your child is now gibbering and jabbering continuously. This is fine; your child isn’t harnessing their inner insanity.
Kids just suddenly start to talk and talk a lot. And no, you won’t have the faintest idea what your child is saying, but don’t worry – they don’t know either.
They’re babbling and that’s great because babbling means they’re getting to know the sound of their own voice, the first step to using that voice confidently.
Try to engage in ‘conversation’ with your baby as much as possible during the babbling phase. Try to interpret the babble – “You want milk?” “Is your nappy wet?” “You want a cuddle?” – so they start to see the power of communication in a formative way.
The first words phase
At about 6 or 7 months, words will start to rise above the babble – baba, mama, papa, bibi – so listen for them closely. While they may be hard to pick or even be recognisable as words yet, by the time your child is about a year old, these words will be clear and discernible as proper words.
Your baby has now started to talk.
Of course, babies aren’t robots; they’re not pre-programmed to step through the stages like digital clockwork. In fact, they’ll do it organically in their own sweet time.
Your baby is basically listening to an FM radio – the conversation around them - and from birth it’s not even tuned into a station; it’s just static. Gradually they start turning the dial on that radio until they get a station. And then gradually over time, they fine tune until that station becomes clear and words begin to form.
Remember, it’s not a competition
If your cousin’s baby says their first word before your baby, so be it. If your friend’s baby can say “automobile” and your baby can’t even say “car” so be it. Their baby is no better than your baby and the worst thing you can do is compare their development to others.
Your child is unique, so enjoy the process and celebrate every little milestone.