Baby's First Words

The most beautiful thing about being a parent is hearing your babys first words. Definitely it is a moment to cherish and a significant developmental milestone in your babys life. Continue reading to know when babies start to talk and what you can contribute to their language development.

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2020 11:29 GMT

Baby's First Words
Baby's First Words

When this milestone is seen?

Babies communicate initially by coos and gurgles. However they are not considered as part of speech. Canonical babbling is the precursor for speech. After lots of verbal experimentation their real first words begin during their 10th to 14th month. Some babies take a little more time. Without knowing the true meaning, they initially try to say words like “ma-ma” and “da-da”. Da-da is considered to be easier for babies and most babies use it as a first word.

Babies are highly receptive and they keenly observe the words you speak and the sounds you make. By around six months of time, they will try to understand individual words like names of people and objects. He will realize slowly that there are lots of words in the mixture of infinite sounds he hears. He experiments making sounds that make him closer to saying his first word. Your baby can understand simple commands when he is one year. Your toddler’s vocabulary exponentially rises when he is around 18 months and he begins to frame sentences when he turns two years.

Language milestones

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You can notice the following language milestones in your children at the appropriate time point.

12 months: When your baby reaches 12 months you can hear 1-3 words like ma-ma and da-da, a sibling name, name of a toy or a pet name.

13-18 months: Your baby’s vocabulary starts to develop slowly. She will have some new words now. She will try to name some familiar objects.

19-24 months: The real “language explosion” starts.

2 years: They will join words and try to frame sentences. Even a stranger can understand partially what your child speaks. She can also understand the concept of verbs at this stage and tell their name.

3 years: Your child will be able to convey the entire thoughts using a few words. They will try to frame longer sentences.

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4-5 years: Your kid can have a conversation with adults. They can ask questions and understand approximately 14,000 words.

How to contribute to language development?

1. Talk and talk: The best way to contribute to their language development is talking with your baby. Whenever you are with him, you can tell what you are doing, point to the names of objects and explain. Listen to their cues and acknowledge the smile and sounds they make. They will try to imitate the sounds and will be excited to hear you further talking to them. Regular conversations can help them develop better language and comprehension skills.

2. Singing and rhymes: Babies will be happy to hear you singing and hearing simple rhymes. The sounds will be fun for them and this is the best mode to make them hear simple words also.

3. Repeat: Always repeat the words and the objects you are talking about. Repetition makes him recall the words he heard and allows him to register the words very firmly. Sing the same song and rhyme the simple rhymes again and again. Always connect your speech to objects and experiences.

4. Use names: When you talk to your baby, use names rather than pronouns. You can say
“This is Mommy’s tea and this is John’s milk” instead of “This is my tea and this is your milk”

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5. Read: Point out the pictures in the book and make them hear new words.

What is considered abnormal?

As long as your baby makes sounds and makes attempts to communicate, there is nothing much to worry as it is an indication of language development. However, if your child could not meet the following milestone, it may be a sign of delay in language development.

·         Your child does not seem to understand simple words by 15 months of age.

·         Your child couldn’t use single words by 15 to 16 months.

·         When they are 21 months, they are unable to follow simple instructions like “come here”.

·         When your child turns two years, she can only babble and could not use words like mama or dada.

·         During two years, she cannot point to any body parts or put two words together.


If you feel there is a delay in speech development, you can contact your pediatrician. It is also important to remember that every child reaches the developmental milestones at their own pace.

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