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What Does Your Baby's First Word Says About Them?

Baby’s first words are a real milestone. Your excitement will know no bound when you hear your baby utter their first word. Even when they only make cooing sound you are still pleased to hear it again and again. Your baby is on the brink of saying his or her first words when they are 8 months of age. They are beginning to understand the association of certain words with certain objects. They also begin to realize that instead of crying, gestures and words can help them to get the things they want. This ability to understand what is being said is known as receptive language and it develops before they start speaking. They first start to recognize their names and by the time they are 8 to 9 months old, they can understand ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’ along with some other words. 

Most infants do not utter their first true words until they turn 10 to 14 months of age and when they do, these words do not have any connection to the words they first understand. At about 6 months, the process of speaking starts for most babies when they are babbling noises and uttering monosyllabic cooing sounds like ‘ma’ or ‘pa’. By the end of the seventh month, these sounds become two-syllable sounds like ‘la-la’. Your baby’s speech will probably become increasingly elaborate by the end of the eighth month, where the syllables in the words will increase and they will add emphasis and inflexions in their voice while trying to communicate. Soon after this, the baby will try to speak complete and more complicated sentences combining the words with different syllables. This way of talking is called jargoning and the manner of speaking becomes so realistic that they will sound like that they are actually speaking to you, just in another language. This is when they reach the threshold of producing first real words.

When the babies start jargoning, most parents are so much eager to listen to the first real words that they try to find them in the sounds that the baby has already been making for months, making it difficult to pinpoint the time when the first words are spoken. What you need to remember is that a sound does not become a true word until it constantly and exclusively refers to the same particular object. It does not need to be a correct word to be counted as the first word; babies use their own words to refer to objects. If they use a made-up word like ‘doo’ to refer to a dog continually, they are communicating using one of their first true words.

The baby’s first words are likely to be the sounds that they hear most frequently. It can be ‘ma-ma’ or ‘da-da’ which are the most common ones but it can also be ‘ta-ta’. Another important thing to remember is that even if they speak the same words that you speak to them, it does not necessarily mean that the words have the same meaning for the baby as they do for you. For example, by saying ‘da-da’ they may be referring to any man and not just the father, while they may be using ‘ma-ma’ to say ‘hold me’ rather than calling their mother.

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