Your baby has been prepping up to speak and communicate right from his/her days inside the womb. He/she has been picking up all the words and sentences spoken around him/her and has been processing them. After delivery, the shrieks and cries are his/her first attempt at communicating.
But crying is not the only way adopted by your baby to prove a point or to attract people. From birth, a baby makes a range of sounds and noises such as crying, coughing, burping and quiet low-pitched contented sounds.
These varied noises are signs that your baby is trying to pick up ambient noises and imitating them. And it is also a sign that your baby’s vocal development is on track, as it gets geared up for future use.
In the first three months after delivery, most of the baby noises are limited to giggling, gurgling, and cooing. They are more noises than speech sounds, but they are an important development as it marks your baby’s readiness in trying to speak.
Over the next three months, your baby will continue to babble and coo. But he/she will also make sounds made with the lips placed together. Extreme high-pitched noises like yells and squeals are also given out.
Between the sixth and ninth month, variations in the intonation of babbling start to appear, and it might even sound like your baby is asking you a question. He/she may also learn to respond to his/her first words and might wave if you say “bye-bye”, or stop if you say “no”.
This is a good time to increase the reading time. Read all kinds of books (simple and hard) with proper expressions and pauses so that your baby, even if nothing else, learns how to emote and express in the future.
By the twelfth month, strings of different syllables such as “ma-ba-da” begin to appear, and also babbling with vowels and constants like “aba” is observed. Babies can imitate words and sounds, and the much awaited first words might appear.
By your baby’s first birthday, he/she would be pronouncing his/her first full common words. They generally tend to be any commonly-used noun word – which is short and easy to say, like “dog” or “cat” or “ball”.
One should encourage the child to talk and repeat the word so that he/she can eventually learn it. Toddlers also point to an object when it is named, and recognise names of familiar people and object.
And finally by the age of two, you can expect your baby’s vocabulary to start taking shape. He/she will put two words together such as “cat big” or “big cat”.
A 2-year-old can also follow simple two-step commands, such as “Wear clothes and come out”. He will also observe adults and start changing his/her tone to show that he/she is asking something or he/she is happy or sad about what is being said to him/her. He/she will begin to master words like “me”, “you”, “up” and “down”.
Please note that different kids have a different rate of growth and speed of growth. Every child grows and develops differently, and one should not compare their child’s language and speech development to other children.
However, even If after a long time or delay, your child does not seem to open his/her mouth and speak or is majorly relying only on gestures and hand movements to make his/her point, then please consult a paediatrician or a speech therapist immediately. Early detection may reduce some of the problems associated with speech delay.