Is Your Baby Not Babbling Yet?
You love the sound your baby makes when he’s cooing and babbling to you. Lately, you’ve started to worry that your baby isn’t babbling or trying to talk as much as she used to. Maybe she never was that talkative and you’re starting to wonder why. Perhaps your baby even stopped rolling over and moving as much.
Many parents worry that their children might be missing a milestone when it comes to speech development. They start to wonder if it’s normal that their baby isn’t babbling yet. If your baby isn’t babbling, he or she might just be on a slightly different schedule. Here’s how to know if your little one is on the right verbal track.
Babbling Signs To Look For
Although every baby has individual differences, most babies learn to talk by hearing speech over and over. It’s especially helpful for them to hear different kinds of speech, including rhymed speech and conversational patterns.
Babies learn to talk when they are exposed to:
- Friendly, encouraging voices.
- Repetition of words that they say.
- Different speech patterns.
- Praise for their attempts to talk.
- Full sentences, even if the content of those sentences is silly or “baby talk.”
If your baby isn’t babbling and you’re sure that they’re surrounded by lots of varied, encouraging talk, check for these other signs that show normal speech development.
Is Your Baby Listening?
If you can tell that your baby is listening, for instance, she looks at you when you talk and has awareness that you’re directing your speech at her, things are probably fine. Your baby could be waiting to start babbling until he feels more comfortable forming words.
Does Your Baby Laugh and Show Other Responses?
If your baby isn’t babbling but he or she is laughing or otherwise responding to you, that’s a good sign. Continue talking and encouraging those responses.
Does Your Baby Wave or Clap?
These simple gestures are often a baby’s first ways of communicating without words. If your baby isn’t babbling but is responding with these physical signs, your little one is evidently taking in your talk. Keep doing what you’re doing.
The Takeaway From This
Your baby’s responses to sounds, gestures and speech are more important than the fact that your baby isn’t babbling. Keep your baby engaged by continuing to talk, sing, tell nursery rhymes and read to your baby. Keep your side of the conversation going. Soon enough, your little one will start answering.
Normal Baby Babbling Milestones
What’s the normal path a baby takes to learn to talk? The following milestones are typical for most babies.
Should You Be Worried?
If your baby isn’t following this exact schedule, that’s no reason to worry. If your baby isn’t babbling at all by the time he or she is one year old, you may want to say something to your pediatrician in case a physical condition is involved.
There probably isn’t anything to worry about. Some babies “save up” all their verbal knowledge until a later point in their lives and then start talking in full sentences.
Unless there are other signs of developmental delay, you shouldn’t be overly concerned if your baby isn’t babbling.
What Should Your Baby Be Saying?
0 to 2 Months
- Nonverbal noises.
2 to 6 Months
- This is when you may first start noticing that your baby recognizes certain sounds or words.
- Your baby will begin making “jabbering” noise that imitate speech but have no meaning.
6 Months to 1 Year
- By 8 months, your baby can usually string together simple word sounds like “mama” or “baba.”
- Over the next few months, most babies start to attach meaning to their words, for instance knowing that you are “mama” and that “baba” is a ball.
- If your baby isn’t babbling or making any sounds at all during this time, keep watching for other signs that he or she is listening. You can even check out our other article for signs your baby loves you!
1 Year to 18 Months
- By the age of 18 months, a baby typically has a vocabulary of about 20 words.
- Your baby may form simple, two-word sentences like “wan’go” (I want to go) or similar simple statements.
- You’ll notice that your baby isn’t babbling as much and is making an effort to pronounce words more clearly.
How to Encourage Your Baby’s Babbling
If your baby isn’t babbling as much as you would like, try these techniques to encourage speech. They’ll also increase the bond you have with your baby. Use talking as a way to share some fun moments.
Talk About Toys
Whenever your baby is playing with her toys, use this opportunity to start talking about what she’s doing. Use full words and act as if your baby is responding. “Oh, look, you’re playing with your cow,” you can say. “Do you know the sound that cows make? They go moo, moo.”
Sing Nursery Rhymes
Learning the rhythms of rhyming language is an important skill. The more you can get your child to listen to nursery rhymes and baby music, the better she’ll be able to interpret different intonations. Singing nursery rhymes while engaging with your baby in a fun, relaxed way helps her enjoy learning these new speech rhythms.
Every time your baby imitates a sound that you make, encourage more of that by repeating the sound back to him or her. Do this over and over. Babies love imitation and repetition. This will encourage more mimicking of your speech.
Respond in Complete Sentences
When your little guy makes any kind of sound, respond with full sentences that show that you seem to understand exactly what he’s saying. If your baby points to his blanket and makes a noise that might be “blankie” or something similar, respond encouragingly with a few sentences about the blanket.
Say something like, “Yes, that’s your blanket, it has cute little bunnies on it and it keeps you warm, doesn’t it?” Doing so will encourage your child to verbalize and get them used to hearing full sentences.
Read to Your Baby
Even if your little one doesn’t understand a word, reading to her is a great way to teach listening skills. It doesn’t have to be children’s books or nursery rhymes. You can read magazines, novels and poems to a baby. It’s about training those little ears.
Don’t Correct Mistakes
Don’t worry about any mistakes in grammar or punctuation your baby makes. Don’t correct their speech or worry that you’re reinforcing bad habits by engaging in silly, repetitive “baby talk” with them. Learning verbal sounds in a fun, relaxed atmosphere is the purpose of baby talk.
If your baby isn’t babbling on schedule and hitting all of these markers, he or she might just be on their own personal schedule that you can’t rush.
The baby babbling milestones give you a rough guideline, but they are not set in stone. If your baby isn’t babbling on schedule and hitting all of these markers, he or she might just be on their own personal schedule that you can’t rush. Your best approach is to continue talking to your baby in a fun, relaxed way that encourages your baby to talk back.