Baby Babble Stages & Development

baby babble

Baby babble is the first stage of speech development in infants prior to them developing first recognisable words. 

​What is Baby Babble?

Baby babble is a an important developmental milestone that children need to pass through to achieve clear speech development. Baby babble is the sounds babies make before they start saying real first words. Babble occurs when babies make a range of sounds as they experiment with moving their tongues, lips and palate!

​As babies grow their mouth cavity gets bigger relative to the size of their tongues. This can lead to a broader range of speech sounds entering their baby babble.

​Baby Talking Age?

​The age that a baby begins talking can range from 10 months to 13 months. A good rule of thumb is that a child should have at least one spoken word at 1 year of age!

​But there is SO much learning that has to happen in that first year of life to achieve a baby’s first word! A lot of this learning occurs by moving through the babbling stages from birth. A baby talking age can reflect when they meet each baby babble skill.

​Baby Babble Stages.

baby babble

​Babies across the world follow very similar baby babble stages!

Interesting Fact: Babies potentially make every sound in every language in the early experimental babble stage during the 4-6 month age period. It is the way parents and other people around them reinforce sounds that they recognise that shapes these babbles into words of the child’s native tongue/s.

Birth to 1 month Vegative noises: Cries, burps, sighs & gurgles
1 month – 3 monthsGooing and Cooing, squeals & emerging giggles
4 months – 5 months Marginal Babbling: Vocal Play - experimenting with all possible speech sounds and noise: raspberries, tongue clicks, glottal growls! Changes in pitch and rhythm of their “baby talk”
6 months – 9 months Early Canonical Babbling: reduplicated babbling where the same consonant+ vowel syllables are repeated over and over eg dodododo, nananana. Small range of consonants (e.g., b, m, d, n) and vowels. Often we begin to hear “mama” and “dada” but they may not be the “real” words yet!
10 months to 12 months Canonical Babbling: variegated babbling where long strings of babble are produced with different sounds and vowels (e.g., barwardo). A bigger range of consonants are used and adult-like intonation patterns can be heard
12 months to 18 months Jargon: longer syllabic strings with more varied intonation patterns. First words start to be heard in between the jargon strings. Over time the jargon decreases and the number of real words increase.

Is it a problem if babies do not babble?

baby babble

Babble is the way babies begin to practise saying speech sounds. Babble is an important stepping stone to baby speech development. Baby speech development is critical for clear speech skills and language development in the preschool years.

​Parents often identify two concerns in regard to baby babble:
  • The lack of baby babble in general
  • The baby was showing good babbling skills but then stopped babbling.
It is recommended that medical advice is sought if a parent has concerns about a baby’s early speech development (i.e., concerns about how the baby is moving through the babble stages).

Research has shown that the lack of canonical babbling at 6 months of age can impact on baby talking age. It can be a warning sign to check a baby’s general development. It has been linked to later speech delays, chronic hearing concerns and later learning difficulties.

Early Intervention

​Early intervention is always the best path for a baby that is not babbling or when a baby talking age is not expected milestones. Sometimes it just requires parents and carers to alter the way a baby’s speech sound attempts and babbling attempts are reinforced. It can be about encouraging early pre-speech foundation skills that are need to take babbling to talking. Checking other milestones such Imitation Milestones and Auditory Attention Milestones can inform you if skill boosting is required. Advice from an early intervention speech therapist can provide you with ideas to address any early baby speech development concerns. SpeechNet Speech Therapists can be asked questions via our contact windows on the website or by contacting our Brisbane based clinic.

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