My 10-month-old recently started talking to me. At first, it was just coos and gibberish. But more recently, I would swear my son is trying to communicate with me. I say something and he mimics it. It’s not just with real words, but with baby talk, too. Like any proud mama, I’m thinking my baby must be a genius. But before I shout this from the rooftops, I check in with my favorite nurse, Tracy Diammarico at the Yukon Clinic in Germantown, to get her take on baby talk.
When does babbling begin?
Babies usually begin babbling around 3 to 4 months of age.
How should I respond to my baby? Is it okay to speak baby talk back?
You should respond to your child in an adult voice, not baby talk. Babbling is the beginning of language formation. Your child will mimic how you speak, so you want to speak clearly.
My doctor always asks if my child is babbling. What if he’s not?
Babbling is a good indicator that your child can hear you, which is something we check for at early appointments. It also shows good brain development, that your child can interact with you. If he’s not babbling, make sure you let your pediatrician know. That could be an indication that something’s up. The same goes for a child who has been babbling but suddenly stops. — Megan Hill
Encourage your babbler by reading to him. Your baby understands far more than you think.
GET STARTED BY:
Visiting your local public library • The Memphis library system currently has 19 branches across the city. My son and I often visit the main library on Poplar Avenue. The children’s section is enormous and beloved by kids of all ages for its whimsical features.
Signing up for free books from Shelby County Books from Birth Foundation • Enroll your child in this free program and you will receive a book a month until your child turns 5. • booksfrombirth.org