When Do Babies Start Talking? 9 Tips To Get Baby Talking

When Do Babies Start Talking? 9 Tips To Get Baby Talking

There are a few firsts that you don’t want to miss in your baby’s life; that first gummy smile, the beautiful sound of her first twinkly giggle, her first steps to independence, and, of course, he moment she utters her first word. You have probably been longing for your baby to talk ever since that first night in hospital, when she cried but couldn’t tell you what was wrong. As you frantically tried to feed her, rock her and change her nappy simultaneously, you probably wished she could talk.

Your child has been communicating with you ever since you first laid eyes on her. She has been crying when unhappy, giggling with laughter and pointing to things she wants for a while now, but you’re probably keen for her to get to the next level. So, when do babies start talking?

When Will My Baby Start To Talk?

Learning to talk is a slow process, and it can take a long time to establish a large enough vocabulary for meaningful conversations. Most children say their first words between 11 and 14 months of age. Popular first words include ‘mama’ and ‘dada’, but could be any word she has heard often enough.

By 16 months, girls can say an average of 50 words, and boys have a vocabulary of around 30. At this stage in their language development, it is common for boys to be two months behind their female peers.

By her second birthday, your birthday will know up to 200 words – although may not use all of these. She may also be able to speak in two or three word sentences such as “more banana”. By her third birthday, she will be speaking in more complicated sentences and will be able to hold more advanced conversations with you.

How Will My Baby Learn To Talk?

To learn to talk, your baby’s brain must be able to match objects with their names. Your baby’s tongue and lips must have the dexterity to form the shapes necessary to make certain sounds. Some babies say their first words long before their first birthday, but others take longer to develop control of their tongue and lips, although they can still understand what you are saying.

Your baby will first start experimenting with noises at just a few months old, with simple sounds like “oooh” and “aaah” being repeated. When she is around three months old, she will start to babble a jumble of repeated sounds, ‘kaka’ or ‘gaga’ for example. She may even mutter ‘mama’ or ‘dada’, although she won’t mean ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’ just yet, she’s just experimenting with noises.

By the age of around nine months, she will start making more complex babbling sounds. Although she probably won’t be using any words yet, she will have mastered the rhythm and tone of real speech. Once she says her first word, you may find her vocabulary accelerates quite quickly. By the time she is 18 months old, she will even raise her voice at the end of words to indicate a question.

How Can I Teach My Baby To Talk?

You have been teaching your baby to talk ever since the first time you said hello to her. In fact, some experts think a baby’s understanding of language begins in the womb. Each day when you talk, she is learning new words, understanding what they mean and, perhaps, repeating sounds herself. To help your baby learn to talk, you should:

  • #1: Communicate early – long before your baby can vocalise her wants, she is communicating with you. She may lift her arms to be picked up, shake her head for no, or point at a toy she wants. Acknowledge and respond to this early communication to encourage your child to improve her communicative abilities. Being understood is motivation for her to learn new ways to communicate.
  • #2: Be a gasbag – babies learn through listening, so chatter away. Narrate to your baby as you go about your daily business. Tell her what everything is, and what you are doing. The more words she hears, the more words she will understand. Point out things of interest as you walk around, and tell her about your day.
  • #3: Talk often – the more you talk to your baby, the more words she will be exposed to. Don’t waste an opportunity for communication. If you are out and about, carry your baby in a sling on your front, or use a parent-facing stroller to ensure you can keep communication lines open. Putting your baby in a forward facing stroller restricts communication, not only will she be unable to see you, she probably won’t hear what you are saying either.
  • #4: Read books – reading is the perfect way to help your child build her vocabulary. Reading to your baby from birth is a great way to get into this habit. Of course, your newborn baby won’t understand what you are saying, but she will feel comforted by your voice. As she gets older, she will begin to understand the stories, and will add to her vocabulary through listening to you read. Reading is a great way to improve language even as an adult, so it’s great to foster a love of books that will last your baby into adulthood.
  • #5: Sing – nursery rhymes, action songs and lullabies are all great things to sing to your baby. She will love the sound of your voice (no matter how bad it is), and will enjoy repeating any accompanying actions. You may find that, as well as repeating actions, your baby tries to join in with the singing.
  • #6: Babble – when your baby babbles to you, babble back. Repeat the sounds and rhythm of her noises, and engage in a game of copycats. Your baby will love having your full attention, playing and mimicking you. Introduce new sounds for your child to intimidate too, such as blowing raspberries and humming.
  • #7: Listen – when your baby is trying to communicate with you, give her your full attention. Not only will this help her develop the confidence to learn to talk, it will also teach her how to be a good listener.
  • #8: Elaborate – when your child is able to communicate using one words, ensure you respond back to her in full sentences. If she uses ‘baby talk’, you should continue to use proper words. While she may not yet be able to speak in full sentences or say the proper words, you will be creating a learning opportunity by responding correctly.
  • #9: Take turns – conversation is all about taking turns, so engage your child in turn-taking games such as peek-a-boo from a young age.

Things To Avoid When She’s Learning To Talk

  • Background noise – babies are easily distracted, so switch off the TV and radio, and let your baby focus on what you’re saying.
  • Limit screen time – experts argue that children under the age of two shouldn’t watch TV. Research has found that watching TV can have a detrimental effect on language development.
  • Correction – as your baby learns new words, she is bound to make a few mistakes. She may call all birds ‘dodos’, or refer to all children as ‘boy’. In time, through listening to you and other people talk, she will learn to differentiate between the different subcategories, but for now, don’t correct her too often as it can be discouraging.

When To Worry About Talking

If you are concerned about your child’s speech development, you should speak to your healthcare provider. The sooner a language delay or hearing problem is identified, the sooner treatment can begin. You should contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your baby isn’t attempting to make sounds, will not make eye contact with you, or doesn’t respond to her name by six months
  • Your baby doesn’t babble at nine months
  • Your child can’t follow simple instructions, or speaks in only single words by her second birthday

All children develop at different rates, but if you are worried, it is always worth seeking help. If your healthcare provider shares your concerns, you will be referred to a specialist.

Last Updated: February 23, 2015




  1. My baby age 20+ months. But he speaks only some word. Suddenly call ma or baba. When he talk many word.

  2. My Baby is 2 Year 3 Month old. He force us to do his work like unwrap toffee, opening of the door, Unlocking of mobile’s APS. but he has not start to speak a meaning full word and he is not recognising things by their name.
    Is my baby suffering from some speech disorder ?
    Kindly help us.

    1. My child talk all day long but don`t understand him. He likes ti imitate others. He likes to sing melodies. During these days he begin to say the name of his mother and papa and someother words about 25 words.
      He is 2 years old. We as parents are interested to know he will speak well or it is neccesary to go to the speech therapist?

  3. My baby boy is 1 yr and 7 mos. He speaks dada, mama, baba but very seldom. My husbnd and I are worried already.can u help us? Tnx

  4. My baby boy is 23 months but he can only pronounce light. He is making sounds but not meaningful. He doesn’t respond to his name. We are so worried please help us.

  5. my baby boy is now 23 months of age. by the age of 10-11 month speak by his own mama dada baba band 6-7 words more but now he only speak 3-4 words and not speaking mama baba dada. i think he is forgetting those words. but he understands every things . soppose he wants something he indicates those things. i am very worry about him ,. please help me.

  6. My girl is 2+ old, I wont say she is not speaking at all, but not all words. especially when i teach her some words she is very stubborn not to repeat the words at all. Im very much worried…. Other the words I teach her she keeps blabbering some other words which have no meaning… I try to correct, not often, but at times, but she is very particular not to repeat my words….I really feel very annoyed some times when she is not responding properly… Plz some one could give me suggestions what all ways can i practice with her to make her more attentive and talkative?

  7. My girl is 2+ old, I wont say she is not speaking at all, but not all words. especially when i teach her some words she is very stubborn not to repeat the words at all. Im very much worried…. Other the words I teach her she keeps blabbering some other words which have no meaning… I try to correct, not often, but at times, but she is very particular not to repeat my words….I really feel very annoyed some times when she is not responding properly… Plz some one could give me suggestions what all ways can i practice with her to make her more attentive and talkative? –

    1. Try flash cards(say the word of the picture to your baby as you show the pictures to him) it’s visual stimulation and will keep your babies attention …..most important do not get angry or discouraged if your child doesn’t pick it up right away try less pictures then add another one when they say the word

  8. Rest assure ladies ur babies will learn. If they have not learned by age 3 then I’d be alarmed. Try flash cards with tape so they can be put on and off wall. That helps mine. She is 16 months old. She can say words and what r u doing but it sounds like its one word. Haha. Some times they do know and just don’t want to show you. We do silly dances with songs and count our fingers in a funny song dance. My daughter loves it. Act silly be a child with them they love it and they will learn. Being worrying Mom is not bad u just really care and love them. I sometimes worry myself but hang in there. They will all learn and surprise you! My two year old niece babbled then bam she’s talking sentences!

    1. My daughter Amari is now 8 months, and she says Dada, lips mama, she says hello, hi, huh. When she eats her food she says hmmm. Amari has been doin this at the age of 3 months. She dances with her dad and myself. She is a very active baby. God bless. We looovvveee her life!!!!

      1. We also read books (fairy tales) to her. Her dad and go back and forth in conversation with her. So this woman is right be a child with them and love them with all your heart. Your children will definitely get the hang of talking, laughing, dancing, having conversations with you. Its called being patient. God Bless you all

  9. My son is 17 month baby he will talk 20 to 25 words but not perfect Wat I say that he will understand he will show parts of the body but he won’t say in mouth as soon he want to say some more words in perfect plz help me some one

  10. My baby is 18 months old but he does not speak clearly except a few words. Although he speaks many things but we could not get them. He does not even say mama and papa. He understands many things. What will we do? Please help us.

  11. My baby is only 6 months old he say every time papa papa o papa.. He also love his father anyone else
    Love u baby soooo much

  12. My son is 2 years old. He knows all the nursery rhymes and the actions. He knows alot of Hillsong kids songs and the actions BUT he can’tt put a sentence together. I mean he sings more than he talks. He has alot of vocab but mainly from the songs. ANY ideas on how I can help him?

  13. My daughter is 8 months old. By the end of 7 month she started saying da da aa ja. But now she don’t speak anything. I am quiet worried regarding this. What should I do now?

  14. My daughter is around 20 months, but she doesn’t speak. She understands mostly everything and responds back with pointing back in her own ways. But she does not speak even if she wants to say she just say oooo ooio. At night when she is about to sleep she will speak few unmeaningful words in her own way like she is singing rhymes.

  15. my son is 2 year old and understand everything and having very good listing power catches everything which i taught him but doesnt speak he say only 10 -12 words what to do i m concerned about him

  16. Hello sir my son is 2 yrcand 3 monthbold but only speak papa and baba some often ohhh and eeeeee words very often . what should we do so that our kid will start speaking more words

  17. my daughter started speaking at 4 months old and was speaking advanced sentences at one year and ten months. Is this unnatural?

  18. My baby speak Dada when she’s 4months old.
    So when she’s 6months shes talking to much and maybe sometimes she’s singing so adorable.

  19. my babe is 18months but she can say mum and daddy, she can call the names of my family at home and like talking but the words she say are not clear. pls help me with what to do to make her talk before her 24months .

  20. My baby is now 2yr 7 months he can’t speak any meaningful words expect no no but surprisingly he can count 1 up to 10.
    He can operate a phone tv remotes and can even tap in and out oyster card but he can’t speak

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