At around 6 months old you’ll start to notice that your baby is becoming increasingly more socially interactive. As your baby continues to grow and develop they will be using more ways to communicate. You’ll notice them making a range of different noises, pointing, gesturing, understanding routines, a range of simple words and different activities. 

It is important to remember that every baby is different and your baby’s speech will develop differently to the way others babies' speech develops. This does not mean that there is anything wrong but just highlights the uniqueness of every baby. 

  • Babbling loudly, using a range of syllables like ba-ba, ga ga and da-da. Your baby may not be using ma-ma but this is not unusual so please do not do not get upset. Many mums report that this is usually the last to come!
  • Smiling, giggling and laughing loudly

  • Be able to respond and turn to their name when you call them 

  • Be looking at you when you speak to them 

  • Making a wide range of different noises 

  • Pointing and gesturing with their fingers and hands 

  • Waving and clapping 

  • Showing excitement 

  • Able to understand some simple words such as bye bye, up and no 

  • Enjoy action songs and nursery rhymes such as pat-a-cake, wind the bobbin up and row, row row your boat 

  • Turn take in conversations by using babble and other noises

There are lots of different ways that you can continue to promote your baby’s speech because it is always something that can be developed and improved. Your baby’s speech underpins their learning and development and will help them progress through life. 
 

  • Face your baby when you are talking to them
  • Listen to your baby when they are babbling, interact with them and allow them time to respond to you
  • Talking about and describing your daily activities to help them develop their listening skills and develop an awareness of what is going on around them 
  • Name and point to objects in the home and when out and about
  • When talking to your baby use words with actions and act them out such as bye bye and waving at the same time 
  • Use your facial expressions to show your baby you are interested
  • Play peek a boo games 
  • Play repetition games with your baby
  • Sing Nursery rhymes and action songs such as pat-a-cake, wind the bobbin up and row, row row your boat
  • Sing to your baby
  • Share books and read to your baby
  • If you are watching TV with your baby, explain to them what is happening. Be mindful not to expose your baby to too much TV time 

If your baby is continuing to use a dummy it is recommended that you try to discontinue its usage from around 6 months as the benefits associated with dummy use start to decline around this time. 

It is important that you don’t allow your baby to babble when they have their dummy in their mouth. If you continue to use a dummy for your baby it is recommended that they only use it for sleep. 

  • Dental problems 
  • Increased risk of middle ear infections 
  • Stomach and mouth infections 
  • Speech problems associated with reduced opportunity for babbling and the opportunity to copy the sounds you make

If you are worried about your baby’s speech please do not hesitate to contact your Public Health Nurse (Health Visitor). 

Useful links

  • NHS - helping your childs speech
  • ican - helps children communicate
  • NSPCC - look say sing play leaflet
  • ican - resources
  • ican - do dummies affect speech?