The human brain is programmed to learn language so we can communicate with one another. Your infant has been honing his listening skills since before he was born, and now he’s making sounds that will become words and sentences.

Infant Communication: Language and Hearing

Like other developmental skills, infant communication occurs at its own pace. Try to be an active part of the conversation by playing, reading and singing to your infant. Above all, be patient.

As a guide, here's how your infant may be communicating in his first year of life:

Month 4

  • He often turns toward a noise as if looking for its location.
  • He should be able to turn his head toward a noise.

Month 5

  • He may start making consonant sounds like "b," "n" and "m."

Month 6

  • He will then string vowel and consonant sounds to babble sounds such as "bababa."

Month 7

  • He'll start babbling with adult intonations, forming clear syllables such as "ma-me" (mommy), imitating how you speak.
  • He's likely to babble to you when he just wants to talk to you.

Month 8

  • Babies of this age love to hear music, especially songs. They listen carefully, and sometimes their babbling sounds like the rhythm of a favorite song.

Month 9

  • He may be able to connect words with their meanings, by pointing to his shoe when he hears the word.

Month 12

  • He may understand the meaning of as many as 70 words.
  • He may be able to say three or more words.