From the moment a baby is born, he or she is learning. That’s why it’s important for parents to be aware of and watch for important developmental milestones from birth the age 3. Jill Smith is the director of the Hearing and Speech Center at Children’s of Alabama. She said engaging in simple activities like talking to your baby while changing a diaper actually helps them learn to communicate. Smith said even the routine task of feeding your baby lays a foundation for speech.
Babies should begin reaching basic speech and hearing milestones as they grow:
3 Months Old
- Smiling (responding to parent)
- Cooing, babbling with parent
6 Months Old
- Should understand “No”
- Recognizes his or her name
- Recognizes when a parent is in the room
1 Year Old
- Should be speaking basic words like “No,” “Dada” and “Mama”
18 Months Old
- Should be able to speak 30-50 words
2 Years Old
- Should be able to string words together like “I don’t want,” “My ball,” and “Go outside”
- Should have a vocabulary of 200-300 words
Children communicate at different rates just as they mature physically at different rates, but Smith said if a child is not using any words by 18 months old, parents should consult a pediatrician and request a speech evaluation.
Early speech and language skills are associated with success in reading, writing and social skills later in life. By engaging in “baby talk” with your baby, you help build a foundation for his or her future.