First Words

First Words

After countless interrupted nights and screaming marathons, you’ll be ecstatic the first time your baby’s communication evolves beyond pure crying. But no infant simply starts talking one day – it’s a complicated process of observing and learning.


From about 4 months old, your baby will start making word-like sounds without any clear meaning. This is the beginning of an important phase in which your child tests out what sounds he or she can make. Around the 7-month mark, your baby’s babbling will start to become more sophisticated, with changing intonations and more pronounced speech patterns – which you may recognise from your own way of talking!

Smart babies can talkFirst Words

For most babies, the first word spoken (with knowledge of what it means) occurs around the first birthday. From here, he or she will continue growing their vocabulary – learning words much more rapidly than they can actually say them – until they start actually stringing together short sentences between their second and third birthday.

How You Can Help

Your baby will be learning to talk from observation and example, so have conversations with him or her regularly – even if it feels a bit silly! Reading to them from a book can also help (and this might feel less ridiculous than telling them about your day).

Also, practise being a good listener. Show interest in what your baby is saying – even if it makes no sense at all – and leave gaps in your ‘conversations’ for him or her to absorb your words and ‘respond’.

If you notice at any point that your baby has stopped making progress with their speaking or has reverted to an earlier stage, it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor and/or a speech pathologist. If you need any general guidance on your child’s early development, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Dr Ken Law is a Brisbane Obstetrician specialising in the management of pregnancy and delivery. For more information and to discuss your specific situation, please contact Dr Ken Law to arrange a consultation at Greenslopes Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Greenslopes Obstetrics and Gynaecology