When do Babies Start Talking?


When your baby is growing, he will try to flaunt his language skills by speaking gibberish. This gibberish talk will eventually turn to real words. It will then slowly turn into full sentences. This babble is actually your little one developing his speech skills. An incredible fact is that your baby starts to learn language and words even when he is inside your womb. It happens because your baby can hear you speaking and can associate the sound and rhythm of the words. Babies are pretty fast in learning any language just by observing the adults speaking. There are many stages of your baby starting to talk while he grows up.

The stages of developing speech while growing up are:

When do Babies Start Talking?

Babies start talking

By 6 months

Most babies start to babble by their 6 months, making sounds like ma-ma, da-da, ba-ba etc. Marionella Casasola, a researcher of babies at Cornell University, says “It’s all practice because those babbles form the basis of his first words.” During this stage, your baby is pretty fast at picking up languages that he is able to understand. This happens even though he cannot understand the meaning of the words. Studies even show that a baby can associate the word “mama” to his mother well within his 6 months age.

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By 9 months

At this age, babies are able to make multiple syllables by stringing different sounds together. Babies can understand much more than they can speak at this phase. Their receptive power is very strong.  Before the completion of first year, babies are mostly not able to clearly form words. They can only utter incoherent syllables with their lips. This is why you should not expect clear words from your baby at this phase. However, this is the phase your baby will start catching simple words and their meanings.


By 12 months

This is the stage your baby will start uttering clear words like “mama”, “dada” etc. most babies start speaking meaningful words by their first year. They start talking even more clearly from their 18 months. This is the time their understanding of words is even better. They are able to pick out words from their memories as well.

By 18 months

At this time, the vocabulary of a baby builds very slowly. They can understand and clearly speak only a few words at a time. But as soon as a toddler utters his first clear word, he will start trying for more.  During this age, toddlers pick up nouns earlier than adjectives or verbs. A toddler is able to understand simple instructions given to him at this stage as well. Words like “eat”, “sit” etc are easily understood by babies in this age.

By 24 months

After a slow start, toddlers pick up their speed during their 19-20 months. They can understand and retain as many as nine words per day. By the time your baby is 2 years of age, he will be able to string four to five words in a sentence.  He will relate the meaning of one object with similar looking objects, like every round object will be “ball” for him. This is the age when babies start developing their speaking skills.

By 36 months

By 3 years of age, babies learn to talk in proper sentences. He can form question of his own and learn meaning of slightly difficult words too.  He starts to form complex ideas as well. He will start to ask when, why, where and such words. This is the time toddlers start developing memories. He can even tell simple short stories to you on his own. Sound like ph, th are is managed by him at this age as he can use the tip of his tongue now to form words.  

How to help in your baby’s speech development?

There are many ways in which you can aid in your baby’s speech development when he is growing up.

The first thing you can do is start talking to your little one all the time. Engaging in a conversation with you baby will help him understand words and retain them in memory.


You can try pausing after each word. This will help your baby to process the words you say and better understand those words.

Using different tones while you talk will aid our baby in relate the sounds that each word make and imitate that. Babies learn talking by observing and imitating their surrounding, especially their mothers.

Try using proper words while talking or singing to your little one. Research shows that the amount of words spoken to a baby makes a positive impact on his language development. The more you talk to him, the faster he will start talking himself.

Another good way is to explain the gibberish of your baby to him. If he is speaking babbles, you can explain that clearly to him. This way he will catch the meanings of every word and start speaking in coherent sentences.

Use nouns rather than pronouns when you talk to your baby. Using “daddy” instead of “he” will make your baby understand and pick up the word “daddy” faster.  He will understand who his “daddy” is and start uttering the word on his own. It is easier to associate a noun with a face for a baby.

Repeating words also helps in your baby’s speech development. If you pick an object and repeat the name of that object a few times, it will start to make sense for the baby. Slowly, he will relate that word with the object and can utter the word on his own. A baby learns by imitating. The more you repeat words in front of him, the more he will want to imitate you and learn every word in this way.


When to worry about your baby?

It is normal for a baby to not start babbling even by his 6 months. He may not babble but he is learning everything and might start talking properly all of a sudden. There is nothing to panic about if your little one is not uttering words by his first year.

However, if your baby does not utter his first words by the 14th month there might be a cause to worry. The sooner you consult with a doctor, the easier it will be to fix the problem.  If you see your baby is stuttering or has lisps while talking, you should check with a pediatrician. These problems can become severe as he grows if not treated in time.

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Hearing the first words of their baby is a very important moment for every parent. This is a milestone in a baby’s life. Babies start learning from their mother’s womb. Their speech develops in stages as they grow up.  While they only babble few consonants and vowels at first, their talking skills develop fully by their 2 year.  But if your baby stutters or lisps while talking it is matter of concern. Even not uttering or understanding words by their 14 month is an indication of serious problems and might need treatment. Consult your doctor in that case as soon as possible.