The Milestones in Baby Development

Helping your baby learn to talk

13 Nov, 2023

Newborn to 3 Months: Coos and Gurgles
In these initial months, your baby is learning to coordinate their vocal cords and mouth muscles. They are also listening to your voice and will try to imitate you by making coo noises and gurgling. 

Respond to their coos and gurgles with enthusiasm. Try singing to your baby - they will hear you and love the sound of your voice. Talk to your baby as if you were talking to another adult. Gradually they will start to pick up proper words if you have a normal conversation with them. Talk to others when your baby is near. They won’t understand the words, but will like your voice and your smile. They will enjoy hearing and seeing other people too.

4 to 6 Months: Babbling Beginnings
As your baby enters the babbling stage, encourage their newfound vocal exploration. 

When your baby babbles, imitate the sounds. If they try to make the same sound you do, say the word again and again for them to listen to. This stage is all about building confidence and familiarity with different sounds.

7 to 12 Months: Exploring Words and Gestures
Around seven months, some of this babbling will sound like words, such as “baba or “dada.” Baby will smile when hearing a happy voice, and cry or look unhappy on hearing an angry voice. Your baby may also start to understand simple words. If someone asks “Where’s Mummy?” they will look for you. 

You can help your baby understand words (even if they can’t say them yet) by playing games like Peek-a-Boo. Give them a toy and say something about it, like “Feel how fuzzy Teddy Bear is.” Let them see themselves in a mirror and ask, “Who’s that?” If they don't respond, say their name.

12 to 18 Months: First Words and Simple Sentences
This is the stage where you might witness the magic of your baby's first words! This includes using the same sounds consistently to identify an object, such as “baba” for bottle or “juju” for juice. Many babies have one or two words and understand 25 or more. Your child will use more complex gestures to communicate with you and will continue to build their vocabulary. They may take your hand, walk you to the bookshelf, point to a book and say “buk” to say, “I want to read a book with you".

Celebrate these milestones and respond enthusiastically. Encourage them to imitate words, and expand on their vocabulary by introducing new words in context. Tell them “Show me your nose.” and then point to your nose. They will soon learn to point to their nose. Do this with toes, fingers, ears, eyes, knees and so on. Ask your child questions about the pictures in books and let your little one name things in the picture. When they point at things or give you something, talk about the object with them - for example: "You gave me the book. Thank you! Look at the picture of the baby rolling the ball.” 

18 to 24 Months: Vocabulary Explosion
At this stage, your toddler's vocabulary is expanding rapidly. 

Foster their language development by engaging in more complex conversations. Try to ask open-ended questions and encourage them to express how they are feeling, using descriptive words. Reinforce correct pronunciation very gently so you don't put any pressure on them to learn.

24 Months and Beyond: Conversational Skills Blossom
As your toddler grows, so does their ability to engage in meaningful conversations. 

Encourage turn-taking during chats and always try and actively listen to their stories. Try to engage in imaginative play, where they can use their new conversational skills to express their ideas and create the story.

Remember, every child is unique, and these age stages serve as general guidelines. If you ever have concerns about your baby's speech development, consulting with your doctor is always a wise step. Cherish each babble, coo, and word as your little one embarks on the exciting journey of communication.