When do babies say first words

When do babies say first words


Babies babble and coo before they learn to speak actual words. That’s called baby talk, and it sounds similar no matter which native language the parents speak.

Babies start to understand words before they begin talking.


But when will you hear your baby’s first words? Important milestones for a baby learning to talk happen in the first three years of life, when a baby’s brain is rapidly developing. During that time your baby’s speech development depends on your ‘baby talk’ skills as well as your baby’s.

When will you hear your baby’s first words?

Babies start to make themselves understood long before they can talk – from crying to pointing.

The first ‘baby talk’ is nonverbal and happens soon after birth. Your baby smiles, grimaces, cries and squirms to express a range of emotions and physical needs, from fear and hunger to frustration and sensory overload. Good parents learn to listen and interpret their baby’s different cries.

Exactly when your baby will say those magical first words varies greatly from individual baby to individual baby. But if your baby misses any of the following milestones in speech development, talk to your baby?s doctor or health visitor about your concerns.

Baby speech milestones

  • Baby talk at 3 months. At 3 months your baby listens to your voice, watches your face as you talk and turns towards other voices, sounds and music that can be heard around the house. Many infants prefer a woman’s voice to a man’s. Many also prefer voices and music they heard while they were still in the womb. By the end of three months, babies begin ‘cooing’ – a happy, gentle, repetitive, sing-song vocalisation.
    • Baby talk at 6 months. At 6 months your baby begins babbling with different sounds. For example, your baby may say ‘ba-ba’ or ‘da-da’. By the end of the sixth or seventh month babies respond to their own names, recognise their native language and use their tone of voice to tell you they’re happy or upset. Some parents interpret a string of ‘da-da’ babbles as their baby’s first words – ‘daddy’! But babbling at this age is usually still made up of random syllables without real meaning or comprehension. Courtesy: webmd.boots.com

  • Baby talk at 9 months. From 6-12 months babies start to understand words like ‘bye-bye’, especially if there’s waving at the same time. They may also begin to use a wider range of consonant sounds and tones of voice.
  • Baby talk at 12 months. Most babies say a few simple words such as ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ by the end of 12 months – and now know what they’re saying. They respond to – or at least understand, if not obey – your short, one-step requests such as, ‘Please put that down.’
    • Baby talk at 18 months. By this age, babies may use up to 20 simple words, like daddy, dog or cup. They should also be able to point to people, objects and body parts you name for them. They repeat words or sounds they hear you say such as the last word in a sentence. But they often leave off endings or beginnings of words. For example they may say ‘doh’ for ‘dog’ or ‘na-na’ for ‘banana’.

  • Baby talk at 2 years. By 18-24 months, a child will be able to use 50 or more single words and start to put together short sentences, such as ‘bye Daddy’. They’re learning that words mean more than objects such as cup – they also mean abstract ideas such as ‘mine’. A child is likely to only use a limited number of sounds in words, such as p, b, t, d, m and w.
    • Baby talk at 3 years. By the time your baby is 3 the toddler’s vocabulary expands rapidly, using up to 300 words. Make-believe play spurs an understanding of symbolic and abstract language such as ‘now’, feelings such as ‘sad’ and spatial concepts such as ‘in’.