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Did my baby just say ‘mama’ or was it by accident?

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Babies begin to vocalize at around 2 months. These are their first attempts at communicating, but it will be another year or so before they say their first real words. During this time, your baby is listening to you and everyone else around them talk, and will attempt to imitate what they hear. 

At around 2 months, you’ll hear what’s known as ‘cooing’ sounds. These consist of repeated vowel sounds like: 

  • • Ahhh or ah-ah-ah 
  • • Ohhh or oh-oh-oh
  • • Oooo or oo-oo-oo
  • • Eeee or ee-ee-ee 

 

By around 4 to 6 months, your baby will likely begin ‘babbling’. These sounds consist of a consonant and vowel sound, such as: 

  • • Mama 
  • • Dada 
  • • Baba 
  • • Gaga 
  • • Nana 

 

Before you proudly celebrate that your baby has said their first words (like ‘mama’ and ‘dada), keep in mind that while they can produce the sounds, they have not formed associations between the sounds and their meanings. In other words, they aren’t referring to you when they say ‘mama’, they’re just haphazardly making sounds and attempting to imitate what they hear. 

Should you still talk to your baby? Absolutely. There are many ways to engage your baby even before they learn to talk. Research has shown time and time again that talking, singing, reading, having ‘conversations’ with your baby, and naming objects are all great ways to promote early language development. The great thing is that you can do all of this while playing with them! 

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