About baby language development
Your baby’s communication skills grow dramatically in her first year of life. Here are some things your child might do.
Expressing: baby language development
As part of his language development in the first year, your baby will express himself in many ways. For example, he might:
- make eye contact with you
- say ‘ah goo’ or another combination of vowels and consonants at around three months
- babble and combine vowels and consonants, such as ‘ga ga ga ga’, ‘ba ba ba ba’, ‘ma ma ma ma’, ‘da da da da’, at around four months
- copy some of the sounds and gestures you make, like coughing, laughing, or clicking
- play with making different sounds – for example, ‘aaieee’, ‘booo’, ‘ahh’ at varying pitches and volumes
- make longer sequences of sounds at around eight months, which might sound like normal speech – this is sometimes called the ‘jargon phase’ and might continue when first words begin
- say ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ around nine months, although he might not know what these mean yet
- communicate with purpose, mainly to request, insist, refuse, reject or greet someone
- ask for something by pointing, or by looking at a person then at something he wants
- say a few words with a clear meaning, such as ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ to refer to mum or dad, at around 12-14 months.
Responding: baby language development
In these months, your baby will respond to you in many ways. For example, she might:
- make sounds or go quiet when you talk with her or say her name
- coo and laugh – for example, while you’re changing her nappy
- smile and laugh when you play with her
- enjoy games such as peekaboo and other action games
- use gestures like waving or pointing.
Understanding: baby language development
It’s amazing how much your baby understands already – he’s listening and learning all the time, as he makes sense of his world.
For example, in these months, you might find that your baby understands:
- the word ‘no’ (but she still won’t always do as you say!), at around 10 months
- very simple instructions with verbal and visual cues – for example, at around 12 months, when you hold your hand out and say ‘ta’, she’ll give you the toy she’s holding.