From birth to one year your baby will go from crying to cooing to talking. Those are amazing milestones for your baby to accomplishment in such a short period of time as he develops his speech and language skills.
This chapter takes a look at your baby’s vocal development for the first year and tells you just what you can expect to see each month. Keep in mind that these stages of your baby’s development are broad and that no baby will fall exactly within the timeframe of these expected milestones.
Your baby will understand speech long before he begins to speak. From birth he will look at your face and listen to your voice. He will make a small range of noises that will start to mean something to you, such as his way of exhibiting hunger or pain.
These noises will include crying and certain sounds that your baby makes while he is breathing. When your baby is feeding he will make sucking noises and sound of contentment.
Your baby’s cry is an important way for him to communicate. Crying lays the foundation for speech as your baby learns to control the air that comes from his lungs and learns how to use his vocal cords. Crying is your baby’s way of telling you that he is hungry, upset, or cold. By listening carefully to your baby and responding to his cries you are letting him know that he is important. This is how your baby first learns to communicate with you.
Your two-month old baby is starting to pay more and more attention to his world. He will be fascinated by the sound of your voice and will follow it around the room with great concentration. The different tones of you voice will keep him interested for short periods of time.
Your baby will respond with a variety of cooing sounds, vowel-like sounds, and sometimes some consonant sounds such as a “k”. You will find that your baby has quite a collection of cooing sounds that she uses to communicate with you as well as discover how to use the sound of her own voice.
Talk to your baby as much as possible to encourage her cooing response. Look directly into your baby’s eyes to show that you are listening. This helps to establish signals of communication between the two of you.
Your baby will recognize your voice and will turn towards you when he hears you talking. He will be starting to laugh out loud and will often startle himself until he learns that he is the one making the sound. Your baby will be making sounds such as “ahhhh gooo”. He will squeal when he is happy and content, again often startling himself as he learns his own abilities.
Continue to talk to your baby as much as possible, as well as sing to him and read him stories. The more you communicate with him and let him know that you are listening the more he will attempt to communicate with you.
Your baby is learning more and more ways to communicate with you. He will be smiling spontaneously at everything around him. His soft babbling will have an almost singsong sound to it, often ranging into a high pitch that delights him as he learns to like the sound of his own voice. There will be lots of repetition to the sounds that your baby makes.
Make sure that you respond to your baby’s “oohs” and “ahhs” with your own voice tones. This is your “chat time” with your baby and you should take advantage of these chatty times as he learns what conversation is all about. Your baby may also be starting to let you know when he’s not in the mood for talking with you. He will turn his head in the other direction and may put his arm over his face. He may be showing signs of anger or frustration by crying out, especially if something is taken away from him.