When Will My Baby Start Talking?

One of the biggest frustrations of parents is the inability of their baby to talk. Often, you have to rely on behavioural signs to know whether your baby is okay. As time progresses your baby will develop their speech capabilities. It is therefore important to know your baby’s speech patterns.

Babies Speech Milestones by Age

The first three years of your child’s life is usually a busy time for their brain. This is when speech starts to develop.  Right from birth babies start realizing that their cry usually brings them comfort, food or companionship. By the time they are 6 months old they are able to differentiate sounds. Here is a comprehensive guide of what to expect:

3 Months

  • Cries change for different reasons
  • Cooing sounds

4-6 Months

  • Makes sounds when happy or upset.
  • Babbles when playing alone
  • Laughs and giggles
  • Sounds like ba and pa start to form

7 months -1 Year

  • starts using gestures like waving.
  • Can pick up and point objects
  • Sounds like baba, mama are more pronounced
  • Imitates sounds

1 Year -15 months

  • Recognizable words start to form

15 months -18 months

  • By this age you baby has a vocabulary of at least 20 words which keep on expanding weekly

18 Months -22 Months

  • At this age your baby should be able to sound at least 30 words, although they may not be clear. Hand gestures usually accompany theses

22-24 Months

  • At this age your baby should be able to string together a three-word sentence using the language that is familiar to them.

What to Do if Your Child Is Missing Speech Milestone

Key speech milestones are such as:

  • Not cooing or babbling by 4 months
  • Not saying any recognizable words by 15 months
  • Not combining any words at 2 years

If you feel that your child has missed any of these milestones, it is advisable to see a paediatrician for their review. The doctor will then check if your child has hearing problems. If their hearing is not impaired, they may recommend you to a speech therapist.

What Can Parents Do to Encourage Speech

The common saying among mothers in Kenya is, ‘Your baby will talk, no need to rush’. Though true, there are certain ways you can encourage your child to develop speech faster. These include

  • Constantly talking to your child in one language-if its mother tongue, then keep it mother tongue
  • Go outside more
  • Treat ear infections immediately
  • Tell your child a story
  • A baby who has young siblings will more often than not develop speech faster because of the influence of the other children.

The most important thing to remember is to be patient and go with the flow, provide an environment that is rich in sounds and speech and your child will follow suite.



Please note that development differs from one child to another. 

Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.


Last reviewed March 2019 

Sources: nidcd.nih, asha,parenting parents

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