First words don’t happen all at once. Babies learn to talk by listening, watching and interacting with you.
0-3 month milestones
• smiles when you talk to him*
• startles at loud noise
• will stop sucking when he hears a noise
• coos and makes “ooh,” “ah,” “aw” sounds
• cries differently for different needs
4-6 month milestones
• follows sounds with his eyes
• looks when someone talks to him
• responds to friendly or angry tone of voice
• notices toys that make sounds
• laughs and chuckles
• begins babbling sounds like “aga”
• shows when he is excited, upset, happy, in pain, etc.
7-12 month milestones
• loves peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
• listens when you talk to him
• babbles made-up words like “baba,” “upup,” “gaga”
• babbles to get and keep attention
• points to or looks at things like cup, hat, juice when you name them
• responds when you call him by name
• stops briefly when told “no”
• nods head yes or no to simple questions
• responds to simple commands like “come here”
• communicates by clapping, holding up arms waving bye, pointing
• imitates sounds, facial expressions and actions of adults
• has 2 to 6 words by first birthday
Helping baby learn
• Make eye contact and talk to your baby.
• Talk, talk, talk and talk some more to baby.
• Use simple sentences and words to tell your baby what you are doing, where you are going, what is happening and what you see.
• Talk about colors, like “the apple is red.”
• Teach baby to imitate things like peek-a-boo, clapping and waving bye-bye.
• Repeat sounds, laughter and funny faces back to baby.
• Practice counting. Make fun games of counting baby’s toes and fingers or counting when you go up and down stairs.
• Teach animal sounds.
• Read to your baby often. It’s never too early to start.
• Check your child’s ability to hear. Pay attention to ear problems and ear infections, especially if they reoccur.
Warning signs of speech delay
• At 6 months, baby does not laugh or squeal or does not look toward new sounds.
• At 9 months, baby has limited or no babbling.
• At 12 months, baby does not point to objects, wave bye or shake his head yes or no.
Every baby develops at his own pace. These are simply guidelines. If your baby does not seem to reach these milestones or shows some of the warning signs, ask your health care provider for advice on what to do.