Every parent anticipates the noises their babies will produce from birth until their toddler years. The delight and excitement moms feel when their child speaks for the first time cannot be adequately described. Let’s talk about your cooing baby and the stages of babbling.
Cooing and babbling
Photo by Sarah Chai
Cooing is a newborn's first sound other than crying and usually appears between six and eight weeks of age.
Newborn babble is made up of a variety of consonant and vowel sounds, including single-syllable sounds like "pa" or "bad," or more complex sounds like "ba-ba-ba-ba."
Eventually, basic words are formed from infant babbling. But be patient; it takes a few months for your baby's brain to link sounds that resemble words, like "ma-ma," with their true meanings.
Stages of babbling
By the fourth month, most infants begin to talk, but your child will continue to add sounds to his vocabulary for many more months.
Cooing and Babbling age: When does it happen
Even though your child will start producing noises as soon as they are born, infants don't start to acquire speech until they are about 4 months old.
They just chatter until they are around 12 months old when their capacity for communication takes off. Babbling decreases until they start using real words and associating them with their counterparts in the real world such as Mama while referring to you.
Although the timing of your baby's vocalizations may vary, the following gives you a general sense of when to look out for your child's first sounds:
- 2 months: cooing and babbling
- 4 months: more babbling
- 6 months: mixes vowels (like "ah" and "oh")
- 6 months: consonant sounds
- 9 months: wide range of noises
- 12 months: first few words
- 18 months: more words
Cooing and babbling: Types of babbling
There are three different types that correlate to the different cooing and babbling age.
Between 4 and 6 months, your child may start to pronounce vowels more clearly and pair them with consonant sounds. Consider the words "daa" and "baa" as examples of single-syllable words.
Between six and ten months, your infant should start saying recognizable words and stringing many of them together. This is where the "goo-goo" and "gaa-gaa" nonsense starts! There are actually two types of canonical babbling:
- Reduplicated refers to a child who repeats the same syllable sound frequently. I.e. “dee-dee-dee”
- Not duplicated babbling refers to unique syllable combinations such as "meebaagoo"
Your infant can still not put words together at this level of conversational babbling, but they are starting to understand that gestures, volume changes, and even facial expressions are all common forms of everyday communication.
Before a baby speaks their first genuine word, this crucial development often starts around 10 months.
Cooing and Babbling importance
Your kid will primarily scream or smile at you throughout the first to two months of their life. There may be baby squeals instead of babbling. When cooing and babbling start, this is a sign that your baby is beginning to understand the concept of "verbal communication".
It also demonstrates that children are trying to develop the mouth muscles required for speaking. This is because speech demands different muscles than nursing or sucking.
Babbling is far more significant. Infants enjoy copying, no question, but they also learn skills through imitation. Unexpectedly, it also impacts how infants communicate and connect with others.
According to Healthline, a 2017 study found that children's language development is particularly influenced by their "conversations" with their mothers.
Mothers' responses to their babbling help newborns acquire words, but it's also likely that babies are begging their mothers for these responses to help them learn how to talk.
On the other hand, a 2019 study proposes that a delay in or absence of canonical babbling in infants may signal the later detection of specific developmental issues, such as autism, making a relationship between baby talk and subsequent language development.
Cooing and babbling: How long will it last?
The majority of babies start to babble between the ages of 4 and 6 months and cease at 12 months, though every baby grows at a different rate (or whenever they start speaking their first words).
Most infants stop babbling by the time they are 18 months old, though there is a lot of variety in this.
How can you help your baby develop speech while cooing and babbling?
Photo by Lina Kivaka
According to Otsimo, a study found that talking to your baby while holding him or her promotes language development. You may also encourage your child's language development through several methods.
Sing or talk to your child. Ask them a question or respond to their cooing and babbling as if they were questions. This is a great approach to support infant speech development. Include movement and gestures as well, and check to see whether your baby is imitating you.
Speak in a sing-song voice with your baby. You may also read a baby-friendly book to your child. Engage them by adding different sounds and tones while reading a book.
Engage them in a "conversation" by making noises that resemble their cooing and babbling.
Stay close and establish a connection
Hold your baby near when you converse with them. Get close to their face so motions are easier for them to see.
Although this is not a race, keep an eye out for your baby’s language milestones. Babies can grow and accomplish milestones at different rates and times.
However, if you think your child is not making progress toward a particular milestone, you may wish to consult with their pediatrician. At checkups, bring up your concerns regarding your child's language development.
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