Look Who’s Talking: When Do Babies Talk and When Should You Worry


Who wouldn’t want to get an ‘I love you’ or a ‘Goodnight’ from these little active creatures? Who wouldn’t want to hear ‘Mommy’ or ‘Daddy’ in their cute little voices? All parents are excited to hear their babies talk and might be easily worried when their babies are not talking when they expect them to.

Speech and language are critical developmental milestones for babies. Hearing your baby coo is like listening to a wonderful music. Hearing them babble their first word is just so exhilarating. You would definitely ask for more. But how would you know if your baby’s speech and language development are normal and on track?

Here is a stage-by-stage guide to track your baby’s speech and language development:

0 to 3 months:

  • Makes “cooing” sounds
  • Communicates different needs through different cries
  • Shows signs of recognition of mommy’s or parents’ voice
  • Responds through smiles when being spoken to

4 to 6 months:

  • Babbles when playing alone or when playing with caretaker
  • Starts to make different sounds other than babbling
  • Shows recognition of different voice tones and reacts consequently
  • Shows pleasure and displeasure through sounds
  • Notices music and toys that make sounds
  • Moves eyes toward the source of sound

7 to 12 months:

  • Imitates different speech sounds
  • Says few repetitive words like “mama” and “dada”
  • Demonstrates word recognition for common objects like “light”
  • Responds to simple instructions like “Give that to mommy” or “Come here”

13 to 18 months:

  • Says eight to ten words
  • Demonstrates recognition of names of objects, body parts, and people
  • Responds to simple directions

19 to 24 months:

  • Says at least 50 words
  • Says simple phrases
  • Asks simple questions of one to two words
  • Responds to simple questions

However, do note that every child is unique. Babies demonstrate speech and language development differently. Some babies may show better language skills than other babies of the same age. However, observe these hints for possible signs of speech and language developmental delay:

  • Child is not achieving any speech and language developmental milestone at four months
  • Child cannot say or pronounce recognizable words at 15 months
  • Child doesn’t use a combination of words at two years

If your baby is missing a few milestones, just relax. Your baby might immediately catch up in a few months. But if you suspect any speech and language developmental delay, better consult your pediatrician for proper assessment and intervention.

Source: MayoClinic, Parenting


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