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Article: When do Most Babies Start Talking?

When do Most Babies Start Talking?
Baby Milestones

When do Most Babies Start Talking?

Dear new parents,the wonders and joys of hearing your little one's first babbles, coos and cries are just the beginning of a truly magical time - when your baby learns to talk! I know you must be brimming with curiosity about when your child's speech breakthrough may come. As a parent myself, I remember countless hours wondering in awe at each new sound, gesture and word. In this article, I hope to provide you with helpful milestones to watch for and give insight into encouraging your baby's language development. Let's explore together what the latest research says about the average ages children start conversing. If at any point you have other questions, please feel free to reach out - Kaiya Baby is here to support you in this exciting stage of parenthood.

What is the average age babies start talking?

Most babies begin talking between 12-18 months of age. On average, babies will say their first word around 12 months. However, 18 months is typically when the vocabulary really starts expanding.

By around 18 months, babies have learned to communicate intentionally with sounds and gestures. This is an important milestone as it shows they understand the social function of language. Around this time is also when one-word utterances like "mama" or "dada" emerge most frequently.

Between 18-24 months, the pace of language acquisition really takes off. At this stage, the average toddler has a vocabulary of around 50 words and is learning new words daily. Two-word combinations like "more milk" start appearing as their language skills develop.  

By 24 months, the average toddler's vocabulary hits around 200 words. Short phrases of 2-4 words become common. At this point, they understand many more words than they can produce verbally. Comprehension always surpasses production in early language learning.

Toddler lying on the pillow

The critical takeaway is that every baby develops at their own rate. While these are average guidelines, some toddlers may talk earlier or later within the normal range. As long as milestones are met by age 2-3 and communication is developing, a baby is progressing typically. Parents should consult their pediatrician if concerns arise.

What is the earliest a baby can talk?

The typical age range during which most babies will produce their first clear, meaningful single words is between 9 to 15 months of age.

However, in rare exceptional cases, a very small minority of babies may be capable of producing their first word as early as around 6 months of age. This occurs much less frequently than within the normal range.

Prior to this period, from around 4 to 7 months, babies will engage in sound babbling - vocalizing with vowels and consonants. However, this early pre-linguistic babbling does not yet demonstrate intentional communication of meaning through language.

As infants develop better language cognition and oral motor control, their linguistic abilities progress in stages. Producing initial words during 9-15 months is a key milestone often observed in language development.

It is also important not to disregard individual variability. Generally, if a baby shows no meaningful language expression by 15-18 months, further evaluation should be considered.

In summary, the most common age window for a baby's first utterances falling within vocalized words is between 9 to 15 months of age. In very rare cases, some infants may accelerate this slightly to around 6 months. But each child's language development must be assessed within the overall context of their progress.

At what ages do babies progress from babbling to first words to short sentences?

Babbling:Most babies start babbling consonant sounds like "mama" or "dada" between 4-7 months old as they experiment with vocalizing. This isn't considered real language yet.

First words:The average baby says their first real word between 9-15 months old. This may be simple words like "mama", "dada", or the name of a pet.

Phrases:Putting two words together doesn't usually happen until 18-24 months. Short phrases like "all gone" are considered early two-word speech.

Clear speech:It takes time for articulation to develop. Most toddlers aren't clearly understood by people outside their family until 24 months or later.

Vocabulary growth:The pace of learning new words speeds up dramatically after age 2. By age 3, the average child has a vocabulary of several hundred words.

While some very rare babies may say their first real word as early as 6 months, 9 months is generally considered the earliest milestone for meaningful talking to emerge. Most pediatricians are not concerned unless a baby shows no meaningful speech by 15-18 months.

Are there any signs that indicate a baby may have a language delay?

Yes, there are some signs that could indicate a baby may have a language delay:

  • Not babbling by 12 months- Babbling with consonant sounds like "mama" should start by 1 year of age.
  • No first words by 16 months-Most babies say their first word by 16 months, sometimes sooner.
  • Fewer than 6 words by 18 months-At this age, babies typically have expanding vocabularies.
  • Not pointing to objects or images by 12-15 months -This is an early communication skill.
  • Not responding to simple speech by 18 months-The baby should respond to basic requests.
  • Not understanding simple requests by 18 months-Comprehension lags behind speaking but is important.
  • Only able to say a few sounds like "mama" or "dada" by 18 months-Vocabulary is more complex.
  • No two-word combinations by 24 months-Phrases emerge between 18-30 months.
  • Loss of previously acquired language or social skills at any age-This could indicate a problem.

If a baby exhibits several of these signs, parents should discuss concerns with their pediatrician to check the child's development. Early intervention can be beneficial foraddressing delays.

What are some ways parents can encourage baby’s language development?

  • Talk, read and sing to your baby daily from a young age. Describe what you're doing in simple terms.
  • Make eye contact with your baby when talking and engage them with smiles, laughs, and responses to keep them interested.
A adorable little girl playing urban park
  • Use short and simple words to name objects around your baby and things they are doing, like "drink", "eat", "ball".
  • Ask questions and wait for responses, even if non-verbal. This helps them learn conversations.
  • Play simple imitation games like "peek-a-boo" and "pat-a-cake" to help with sounds and gestures.
  • Point at and name pictures in books to help build vocabulary and understanding. Interact during reading.
  • Limit screen time for young babies and engage with them face-to-face instead to promote interactions.
  • Use encouraging words when your baby babbles or tries talking to motivate further communication.
  • Repeat what your baby says to acknowledge their efforts and give them words to build on.
  • Spend one-on-one time talking, playing, and responding to your baby daily with eye contact and smiles.
  • Be patient, keep interaction fun and positive, and consult a specialist if concerned about development.


I hope this overview of language milestones has helped set your mind at ease and armed you with knowledge to guide your little one's growth. Please remember that all children develop at their own pace, and as long as you continue showing your love through responsive interactions, your baby will blossom. Feel confident embracing each new achievement joyfully within your baby's own timeline. And do not hesitate if any concerns arise - seeking guidance from your pediatrician or a specialist can offer reassurance. For now though, make the most of snuggling close for story time, singing songs together, and marveling at the wonders that each coo, gurgle and first word will bring. May your journey raising a lifelong learner be filled with discovery, fun and connection. Wishing you calm and fulfillment in this rewarding role of nurturing a developing mind.

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Yujia Shi

An expert in sleep sack design, is a valued contributor to Kaiya Baby's blog. With a strong background in baby sleep bags and maternal care, she is highly regarded for her professionalism. Yujia Shi prioritizes baby comfort and safety in her designs, using high-quality materials. Her insightful articles on sleep bags have been featured in reputable publications and have gained a significant readership. Trust Yujia Shi to help you create a comfortable and safe sleep environment for your baby, backed by her proven track record in the industry.

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