When Do Babies Start Talking? – Milestones, First Words, and More

baby's growth

Every parent craves the moment when their baby blurts out those first intelligent words, giving them an immense feeling of happiness towards the growth and development of their baby and the essential part they play in it. Then, as time passes, the baby begins to form words and sentences that open the path to express communication, further exciting the parents who have always longed to speak to their baby.

But, how long does it take to happen? How long do you have to wait to hear those first words to feel that joy? Of course, it is important you know this because you don’t want to expect too much of your baby, and neither do you want to be unaware of something not being right.

For this reason, this article covers in detail all you have to know about a baby’s speech developmental process and the role the parent(s) has to play in attaining success. Also, we’ll look at possible delays and how to approach them.

When Will My Baby Start Talking?

Generally, speech learning in babies takes time because of the complexities of humans’ verbal communication systems. However, we can be positive that babies have brains that process stimulus faster than any other brain on earth, making them especially proficient in the art of speech learning. Their brain muscles develop agility quickly, enabling them to skillfully match the object with words and move their mouths to give sounds accordingly.

Naturally, in the first twelve months of life, babies start babbling, and between twelve and fourteen months of age, they utter their first words. The most common first words are ‘Mommy’ and ‘Daddy,’ which show how long they’ve been trying to call you. However, all fingers are not equal; some babies learn speech faster than others, and mostly, and females find it much easier than their male counterparts.

Key Stages in Speech Development

Speech Learning goes far beyond the baby’s first words. It is a journey that starts right from their time in the womb, and they improve rapidly in their early years of life. Therefore, we must look at the stages that characterize the entire process so that you can assess your baby’s development accordingly.

In The Uterus

Amazingly, constant research on baby growth has shown that babies can develop the ability to depict words and sounds in their mother’s environment as early as the last trimester stage. At mostly twenty-four weeks, the fetus has developed a significant hearing ability that enables it to acquaint itself with the mother’s language.  This is why it is crucial to stay in a friendly atmosphere during pregnancy.

First Three Months

When a baby is born, they announce their entry with crying, which remains a key communication tool to them as they grow. They make use of it when they try to express certain feelings to their environment. These feelings differ, and so does the crying, sometimes loud and long, and sometimes gentle and short. 

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Furthermore, babies quickly become active in developing verbal communication abilities as soon as they’re born, employing techniques such as grimaces, flails, and squirms to express feelings like fear, hunger, and frustration. With little time, you’ll understand them better and find it easier to tend to their needs.

Also, the advancement of verbal skills in babies comes mainly from observing and studying their environment. They hear the voices of people around them, observing how they talk and are also highly sensitive to sounds and music. More so, research data shows that babies affiliate more with female voices, especially that of the mother, which they heard all the time in the womb.

Four To Six Months

At this point, your baby should start babbling. These babble range from cackles to coos and sighs, and they’re usually delightful. Through consistent observation, your baby has taken in some sounds and words, which they try to say but can only come out in babbles.

Seven To Twelve Months

During this period, babies advance their babbling, exploring more sounds and tones. This means your baby is getting close to saying and understanding some good words and phrases.

Thirteen To Eighteen Months

This is the stage you get to hear your baby say “Mommy” for the first time, and they perfectly understand what it means. At this stage, your baby speeds through the speech development process by quickly learning some simple words and understanding how to utilize vocabulary and tones in communication. Additionally, your baby will be better at listening to you and doing some things you say.

Nineteen To Twenty-Four Months

At this level, your baby gets better at saying words, with many babies able to speak or use up to fifty words at this point. Your baby would also be better at understanding words, probably more than they say, so you should talk to them more. Again, just before clocking two years, your baby should start forming simple sentences.

Two Years To Three Years

When your baby gets to this stage, they’ll be more comfortable with their vocabulary and have better dialogues. They’ll use simple pronouns like “I” or “me” in simple sentences and will find it easier to identify necessary objects like a cup. Also, significant advancement in comprehension occurs at this level, with your baby reacting appropriately to rather complicated instructions.

Helping Your Baby Develop Better Speech Patterns

You as a parent have a massive role to play in assisting your baby through the critical language development process so that they’ll find it easy communicating properly with their environment. Here are some things you can do.

Talk To Your Baby

Read Books To Your Baby: Having an appropriate book or story to read calmly to your baby is a great asset. These literature pieces help enhance your baby’s use of language, and your baby enjoys it because they love hearing your voice.

Give Attention To Your Baby

Learning has to be interactive to be beneficial. Try always to be there when your baby has a question and provide prompt answers while also encouraging them to learn more. Continually pay attention to whatever they say, and respond politely.

Use Repetition

Repeating words to your baby further strengthens their vocabulary, and it’s a lot of fun to them; they love it. 

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Acknowledge Your Baby’s Progress

Whenever your baby pronounces a new word correctly or forms an original sentence, see to it that you encourage them with your claps, praises, and smiles.

Show Interest

If you show serious interest in your baby’s language learning process, they will improve significantly. It serves as a motivation to them when they see you laugh and smile when talking to you.

Elaborate every time

Always try to elaborate on whatever your baby says. Perhaps they see a cup and say “Cup,” and you may respond, saying, “That is a Cup.”

Narrate Your Actions

Whenever you’re doing anything with your baby right there with you, it’s an opportunity to further improve your baby’s vocabulary. Narrate your actions thoroughly in as many simple sentences as possible.

Play with Your Baby

Baby playtime is also a good time to practice language skills. You can describe your baby’s toys to them and also shoot in lots of simple sentences while you play together. 

What to Avoid When Helping Baby Talk

Knowing what you should do, here are some things that are best avoided:

Avoid Noisy Environments

When you want to engage with your baby, make sure there are no distractions. Focus is critical for learning, so try not to practice language skills in noisy environments. Hence, take out every distracting element, and give your baby undivided attention. Practicing in calm and peaceful settings allows for easy retention.

Minimize Corrections

Learning is a life-long process, and we learn the most from our own mistakes, which also applies to your baby. Try not to come across as harsh or irritating by correcting them every time they make a mistake. Leave some of their mistakes to them, and they’ll learn from them soon enough.

Minimize TV Time: TV can be very helpful when you need to keep your baby engaged so you can do other things, but when it is too much, it negatively affects your baby’s learning curve.

Should I Be Worried About Your Baby’s Language Development?

As we’ve mentioned, all babies do not develop at the same rate, so you shouldn’t be bothered about how your baby compares to the norm. As far as you keep noticing improvements, then there’s nothing serious to concern about.

However, in a scenario where your baby is far behind the time, it could result from a physiological disorder. Check your baby for any of the following:

  • Over two years of age, but can’t respond to simple instructions or form simple sentences.
  • Within six months, your baby does not make any sound or gives no eye contact or response.
  • Nine months from birth, your baby doesn’t babble.

If your baby exhibits any of the above, you should book an appointment with a pediatrician immediately. Your child could be experiencing a speech delay, which could be resolved early if given prompt therapeutic attention.

What to Do If My Baby Doesn’t Talk Properly

Book an appointment first with a pediatrician, then the pediatrician will direct you to a relevant Specialist. There’s no reason to panic, as many babies with early speech disorders tend to recover from it given proper treatment.

Naturally, in the first twelve months of life, babies start babbling, and between twelve and fourteen months of age, they utter their first words. The most common first words are ‘Mommy’ and ‘Daddy,’ which show how long they’ve been trying to call you.

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