Typically new parents wait eagerly to see how on schedule their baby’s milestones are; and may experience elation or anxiety or anything in-between as a result. Though generally speaking a baby’s speech milestones are as follows, it is important to remember that each baby develops differently and a number of factors contribute to a baby’s speech development.
By 3 months of age
Most babies coo or hum by this age. They also develop different kinds of cries for their different needs – the cry of protest as a favorite adult leaves their line of vision may be different from the one that is produced by hunger and so on.
By 6 months of age
By this age a baby is most likely to be gurgling and may also be trying out some sounds that may sound like repetitive syllables. Specific sounds or grunts could indicate different emotions – a chortle of glee, a grunt of displeasure and so on.
By 12 months of age
Most babies do manage to say their first monosyllabic word by the time they are 12 months of age; mostly simple words like mama, papa, dada and so on.
At this age most babies seem to be interested in hearing and listening to words, voices, cadences, sounds that they typically try and imitate, often with delightful results.
By 18 months of age
Many babies can say a handful of words by this age and perhaps point to corresponding body parts or external objects when prompted. They recognize a lot of words and names by this age and may be able to actually say as many as 8 to 10 simple words.
By 24 months of age
By this age, most babies make rapid progress with speech, and parents may be delighted to find that baby says new words practically every day. By this age a baby may say small phrases by putting together two or more words, and become better at communicating his or her needs.
While the above speech milestones are indicative of an average child’s progress, there may be no problem at all with a child whose speech milestones seem to be slower. Equally a seemingly precocious child may not be exactly a genius.
There can be delay in milestones if a child has a particularly placid temperament, if a child has had an illness or if there has been an upheaval in the child’s life (relocation, change in care giver). It can also be that if a child has an older sibling who speaks a lot with the baby, he or she may have earlier speech milestones than an only child.