Wednesday 28 July 2010 by Erika

Having read all the books and even studied language at university, I thought I knew when my boy should start talking, so when those first words didn’t arrive as soon as I expected, I immediately began to worry.

Photo of a lovely, babbling baby

Babies will usually start vocalising and making sounds when they’re just a month or two old. I listened out carefully, waiting for my son to start making some noise. But for most of his first year, the only sounds he wanted to make involved screaming and crying. To give him credit, he was extremely good at it!

I learned that the next stage was supposed to involve babbling — where babies start to produce the sounds of the language without attaching any meaning to them. And yet, soon after my baby turned one, he still wasn’t making much noise at all, let alone recognisable sounds.


The most disconcerting part around this time was meeting up with friends and their babies, who were developing nicely through these stages. I noticed in particular that one of my friend’s little girls was already speaking a few words before she’d even turned one. That’s when my panic set in!

The first thing I had checked was my baby’s hearing. But I was confident he didn’t have a hearing problem, as he often responded to his name and the noises going on around him. As suspected, his hearing was fine, and in all other ways he seemed perfectly alert. He didn’t speak much, but he definitely seemed to understand a lot. For example, he would get excited at the mention of ‘swimming’, ‘banana bread’ or ‘we’re going to Nanny’s’.

I was assured by my mum and many parents around me who’d had children before, that all babies develop at different rates and that I shouldn’t worry so much. So I gave it some more time, and sure enough, it came to him eventually. In the past 6 months he has been babbling and saying quite a few words, the very first of which I’m delighted to report was ‘cat’! He obviously takes after his mum, and loves nothing more than giving our big, friendly moggy a cuddle. He’s even started to learn sign language from Mr. Tumble, star of CBeebies show ‘Something Special’. However, he usually just uses it to tell me he wants to watch more Mr. Tumble!

So just bear in mind, if your baby hasn’t started talking as quickly as someone else’s, try not to panic. Babies develop at very different rates, but if you have any concerns, your doctor should always be able to ease them for you.

Photo credit: Joostassink via Flickr

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Tags: development |  talking |  advice | 
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