When Do Babies Start Talking?

Whether you are a new parent or not, if you are curious about the language development of babies, or you’re just wondering when do babies start talking, then this article is for you.

The part where a baby starts talking is a milestone that many parents look forward to, and while some babies seem to start talking right away, others tend to take a bit longer.

However, as with several developments in babies, certain misreadings and confusion are surrounding the timeline for when babies start talking, and that’s one of the impressions we hope to correct at the end of this guide.

That said, this article will discuss language development in babies, the time they are expected to start talking, some factors that may hinder babies from speaking when they’re supposed to start talking, and other things relevant to their language development.

Keep reading.

Speech Development In Babies

Two babies talking
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Your baby’s communication abilities significantly advance in the first year of life. Your infant gains the ability to communicate with you, respond to you, and comprehend what you are saying.

All of this takes place before your child utters their first actual words, which usually occur around their first birthday.

Infants use sounds and gestures to communicate. For example, babbling is replaced by sound-related play, copying, and combining in the first year of life.

Around 12 months, the first words may start to appear. Babies begin understanding and responding to speech in the first year of life.

Your child is constantly listening and picking up new information. It aids a baby’s understanding of the world.

For instance, you might discover that your infant comprehends basic directions using verbal and visual clues, such as at approximately 12 months, when you reach your hand out and say “for daddy,” they’ll give you the toy they’re holding.

In the first year of life, your baby will express themselves in various ways as part of their language development.

At 3-4 months, your baby might:

Make eye contact with you and say “ah hoo” or another word that combines vowels and consonants, such as “ga ga ga ga,” “ba ba ba ba,” “ma ma ma ma,” or “da da da da.”

At 5-7 months, your baby might:

Copy some of the noises you make, such as when you cough, laugh, click or

Play with making different sounds, such as “aaieee,” “booo,” and “ahh,” at varied pitches and loudness. Then, copy some actions you create, such as waving, pointing, or clapping.

At 8-9 months, your baby might:

combine sounds in ways that sound natural, in what is sometimes referred to as the “jargon phase.” This may continue when a child says the first words, such as “mama” or “dada,” even if they may not yet understand what they represent.

At 10-11 months, your baby might:

Asking for something by pointing or gazing at someone and then at what they want is one way to ask for something. Other communication methods include using noises or gestures to say no to something, insist on something, or greet someone.

By around 12-14 months, your baby might:

Say a few words and know what they mean, like ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ to refer to mum or dad.

Baby Response

Your baby will respond to you in many ways in the abovementioned months. For example,

When you speak to them or mention their name, your baby will respond to you, make noises, appear animated, or become silent. Then, as you play with them, grin and laugh with them as you coo and giggle at them.

They will reply to their name by gazing, widening their eyes, listening, or grinning. Enjoy games like SpongeBob and other action games. Use gestures like waving or pointing.

What Is The Most Appropriate Time For Your Baby To Start Talking?

Baby putting a finger inside her mouth
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Most infants start speaking between the ages of 12 and 18 months. But soon after delivery, you’ll hear the first sounds of spoken communication.

Infants make noises from birth to 3 months old. Cooing and smiling are present. You might hear more speech-like chattering once your kid reaches the age of 6 months.

Your infant may make the noises “puh,” “but,” and “something that sounds like mi.

Babies typically begin experimenting with sounds just before turning one year old, after which you can hear a few words. “But if your child isn’t developing full words by age one, don’t worry.

Occasionally the gesturing and pointing while babbling lasts long into the following year of life. It’s alright. Your infant is still able to communicate.”

Signs Of Speech Delay

Remember that some babies speak earlier than others, and that’s okay. Also, all milestones are approximations, so it’s okay if your child doesn’t reach them.

It’s also possible for infants to converse with an expressive speech delay yet develop receptive speech normally (understanding).

Language delays are extremely typical; one in five kids will start talking later than other kids their age, and these delays can end independently.

Nonetheless, it’s always wise to raise concerns with your child’s pediatrician about their language development so they can determine the delay.

Delays in speaking can occasionally indicate hearing loss, delayed development, or autism spectrum condition.

Although expressing your worries regarding your child’s language development may be difficult, dealing with these issues sooner rather than later is always preferable.

Starting therapy as soon as feasible is crucial if there are problems. The sooner you voice your concerns and determine whether your child requires assistance, the better.

The majority of the time, when intervention is put into place early enough, it can significantly alter the child’s skills.

Some Factors That May Be Hindering Your Baby From Talking

There are several possible reasons why your child may be hindered from speaking. Various biological, environmental, or developmental variables may influence these causes. 

Neurological conditions like cerebral palsy, autism, or Down syndrome could also be contributing factors.

In addition, delays or deficiencies in speech and language development may result from certain diseases, impacting the brain regions that process language.

Another common disease that could affect your baby’s language development is Hearing loss. But, again, a congenital anomaly, a disease, or an injury could cause this.

If a baby’s hearing is impaired and they cannot distinguish the sounds necessary for language learning, their ability to acquire communication skills may be hindered.

Genetic anomalies, immaturity, and difficulties during pregnancy or delivery are other possible factors that could influence a child’s speech development.

Delays or deficiencies in speech acquisition may result from these factors affecting the growth and operation of the structures and mechanisms involved in speech and language processing.

Environmental factors, including foul language and communication stimulation, may also hamper a baby’s speech development.

Babies, for instance, may not have the essential opportunities to acquire communication skills if they are not exposed to a rich linguistic environment or neglected or abused, which might limit their speech and language acquisition. 

Regarding language development in kids, Early detection and intervention are essential to address these problems and foster the best communication skills for the child’s well-being.

Signs Your Child Needs Help With Speech And Language Development?

Contact a pediatrician if your infant DOES NOT:

  • Express interest or try to communicate (by pointing or gesturing, for example) By 15 months.
  • Imitate a wide range of sounds and words at 18 months.
  • Following simple instructions by 18 months (“Pick it up.”)
  • Use word combinations by the age of 2 (“Mamma go.” “Baby drink.”)
  • Recognize the people and things around them.

Other Signs Of Potential Speech Issues In Children Include:

  • Your child has a good vocabulary, but you need help understanding the words by age 2.5 or 3.
  • Your child has a sudden loss of speech and language skills.

Talk to your primary care doctor or pediatrician if you’re concerned about your child’s speech development.

You’ll be referred to a speech-language therapist for an evaluation if needed. Sometimes, your child just needs a little extra help. Early intervention can ensure your child thrives.

How To Teach Your Baby To Talk

Mother teaching child how to speak
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Babies have a natural capacity to learn the language, and parents can play a critical role in fostering their child’s speech and language skills. Here are some tips and examples of how parents can teach their babies to talk.

1. Communicate With Them As Often As Possible

Infants are very observant and pick up sounds and noises from their environment early; talking with your baby more often encourages them to respond and mimic your actions.

You can talk to them when you want to take a particular action, such as; “let’s get you cleaned up,” “Let’s go prepare dinner together,” or “How are you doing.” You don’t need to want them to start talking before you start communicating with them.  

2. Mimic Your Baby

One special way to teach your baby how to speak is by responding to their sounds, gurgles, coos, and other noises.

This encourages them to be more active in making those sounds and thus encourages them to speak because they feel you’re interested in what they say. You can mimic their sounds and respond to them with words. 

3. Read To Your Baby

Who said that because a baby is young and cannot understand, you cannot read to them? Reading to your child is a beautiful way to introduce them to new words and concepts.

Choose books for your youngster with vivid, clear illustrations. As you read, point out specifics and describe the events depicted in the illustrations.

Encourage them to generate sounds that will eventually lead to speaking because doing otherwise makes them wonder and more interested in your actions.

4. Sing To Your Baby

This long-aged technique has been used severally in helping kids develop their speech; by singing to them, you make them aware of rhythm, and most rhythms are formed by alphabets which can help them start making a more rhythmic sound.

This will, in turn, lead to them speaking in no time. You can sing lullabies, nursery rhymes, or other tunes. Also, singing can calm your infant and foster a good link with language.

5. Play Games With Your Baby

Kids love the excitement; you can use games to teach them new words or phrases. Playing games with your infant might help them learn new words and phrases. As you play, use short, straightforward terms. This has been a well-liked method for helping kids with speech problems.

6. Use Gestures And Facial Expressions

Babies can understand gestures and facial expressions before they can understand words. So your baby can understand what you are saying, use gestures and facial expressions.

For instance, wave your hand as you say “bye-bye.” make faces at them, smile at them, show them your mean face, pretend to cry, etc. It may look funny most times, but it is an excellent way to help your kids start talking.

7. Repeat Words And Phrases

For babies to learn a language, repetition is crucial. Use words and phrases frequently and in a variety of circumstances. Say “dog” once more when you see a dog in person, for instance, if you say it while gazing at a dog image. As you keep repeating it to them, their mind gets accustomed to it, which can improve speech.

Can Toys And Apps Promote Speech Development?

Many parents want to know if specific toys or apps can aid in their child’s speech development.

Anyways, selecting toys that show cause and effect can assist kids in growing the critical-thinking abilities necessary for language development.

Some examples of cause-and-effect toys include:

  • A ball that has been inserted into a hole slides down a slope.
  • When you put money in a piggy bank, it starts to sing.
  • When a box is wound up, a stuffed animal emerges.

If you utilize an app, interact with your kids and extend the activity into their everyday lives. The best way to improve speech and language is through face-to-face communication.

Gender Differences In Speech Development

Remember that a wide range of routines can be seen in a baby’s language development.

Even while you might be worried that your baby isn’t talking yet, there are moments when their language learning comes together, and they start babbling constantly, seemingly out of nowhere. Be patient; infants develop speech at their rate.

Baby boys tend to acquire language skills more slowly than baby girls. This is because female brains are more bilateral, with both sides of the brain cooperating, while male brains function more unilaterally, with each side of the brain operating independently.

Girls are typically more perceptive to caretakers and can pick up on different tones and social cues due to these differences, whereas boys may be a little slower.

Parents converse with their children differently depending on whether they are boys or girls, which may explain the developmental variances.

For example, boys may be 3 to 4 months behind their female counterparts in language development, but by age 3, they have caught up entirely.

When To See A Doctor

While waiting impatiently for your baby to speak and utter those first few words can be tempting, it’s vital to remember that children learn skills at various rates. Nothing to worry about as long as your baby’s chatter develops and they interact with you and others.

Make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician and a speech-language pathologist if their speech and language development slows down or stops at any point, if they stop babbling, making eye contact, or gesturing, or if words don’t appear by the time they are 15 months old.

Any age is a good time to call your local public school; the earlier a kid receives assistance for speech or language issues, the better.


Suppose a parent notices that their child is not talking. In that case, they should consult with their pediatrician, encourage other forms of communication, engage in activities that promote language development, and remain patient and supportive throughout the process.

Parents need to be patient and supportive of their children during this process. Some children may take longer to develop their language skills than others, and creating a positive and nurturing environment for them to learn and grow is crucial.

It takes time and persistence to start talking to your infant gradually. Support your baby’s language development by talking to them frequently, responding to their sounds, reading, singing, playing games, utilizing gestures and facial expressions, and repeating words and phrases.

Do not compare your baby’s development to others because every baby is unique. With time and practice, your baby will acquire language abilities and learn to communicate clearly.

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