Babies around the age of one year going forwards have a lot going on. If it’s not language development, it is their gross motor skills picking up. Child psychologists say it is okay for your baby to be uttering certain words at one time and stop doing so the next. A key reason is that they could be busy and focused on walking, perhaps. If your baby has suddenly stopped saying mama, it could also be that they are learning other newer vocabulary. The older words are already registered in their psyche, and they will be back to form sooner rather than later.
You can investigate the type of development milestones going on at this particular time to understand that your baby is perhaps preoccupied with other things. Despite the above reasons, your hunch should be your guiding force. So, speak to a pediatrician if you suspect your child has delayed speech. Depending on your baby’s age, the physician can also rule out any underlying issues such as autism.
The Younger, Your Child, Is the Less Vocabulary They Use
It is usual for parents to gauge their child’s use of words used based on their peers. But experts advise going easy, especially if your baby is still within the one-year-old age range. Even if they utter one or two essential words, such as hi, or yah, it is okay. It would mostly help if you didn’t compare your child’s speaking ability with your next-door’s fast babblers.
Meanwhile, the red flags can only begin to manifest at a later period, say at 18 months, if your child is still not saying the familiar words such as mama, ba-ba, da-da, among several others. The exception should be if your child still uses gestures such as pointing, waving, and even smiling. It means their comprehension is excellent, and this should put your fears to rest. Again, some babies are just late bloomers, and you can expect them to verbalize their gestures soon.
You Can Encourage Your Baby to Talk More
Indeed, you are your child’s compass in their formative years. Once you realize they are not uttering words, you can guide and encourage them to speak. A practical method is to talk to and with your child all the time. You can use open-ended questions to help your child utter the words you want. For example, point to yourself while asking, who is this? Then say mama, and encourage your baby to verbalize the words.
You can also use picture cards or toys to have your baby link words to objects. Do it over and over for best results. Did you know you can use sign language to help your child speak more? Some kids work so much better with primary sign language, which can be a natural and an easier precursor for verbalization.
A Pediatrician Can Assess Your Child for Delayed Speech
If you still do not see an improvement in your child’s speech, then a quick option would be to seek a medical opinion. Frankly, delayed speech is real, and it can happen to anyone, including your baby. It can occur even when your baby is on track with their fine and gross motor skills. The good news is that early intervention programs can be one of the options to help your baby with their speech before things go out of hand. The doctor can also determine if yours is a case of late bloomers and talkers. Such babies can take up to two to three years to start creating their first meaningful words.
Taking Deliberate Steps to Help Your Child
Do not panic or freak out if your baby isn’t calling out your favorite word. The truth is that they could merely be preoccupied with so many other developmental milestones. It may take a while, but the words spoken earlier will come right back when you least expect it. Babies also work so well with encouragement and imitation. The more you talk with them, the more they emulate and say those words you need to hear. Meanwhile, never wait to speak to a pediatrician if you suspect delayed speech issues, which allows your baby to benefit from timely intervention.