There Are Many Speech Development Milestones
There are many speech development milestones from six months to the first birthday that new parents should watch for. This is an exciting time for baby; they are starting to put their skills to use and vocalize more, even saying their first word around nine months.
From the period of six months to one year old, your baby will start vocalizing and cooing significantly more. They’ll be laughing and expressing pleasure and displeasure through their voice. Baby will also start to make consonant and vowel sounds beyond the first three or four they learned in the first six months. You may even hear them start to combine sounds in an attempt to speak.
And finally, that moment that most new parents have been waiting for since they found out they were pregnant – baby’s first word! This commonly occurs between nine months and one year, and is usually a consonant-vowel combination, like “mama” or “dada”. They can even start to mimic different tonalities and inflections.
Nonverbal skills are developing during this time as well. Even though baby doesn’t have the vocabulary to express what they need, they understand what you say to them. They can point to things they want, put their arms up to signal that they want to be picked up, and understand the difference between “mama” and “dada”, looking to the appropriate person when asked “where’s __?”
Encouraging Your Baby
You can encourage your baby’s speech by continuing to talk to him about everything he sees: “Do you see the blue truck? What a big blue truck!” As he observes the world around him, you’ll be giving him the vocabulary he needs to describe it.
Many parents opt to begin teaching their little one sign language around this time as well. Some parents may be reluctant to do this. The thought is that sign language would inhibit a child’s desire to speak, since he is able to communicate through signing. However, sign language gives the child an outlet to express what they need and provides a foundation for language and communication.