Track your baby’s milestones — Communication

Find out when your baby’s going to speak his first words with this handy by-month guide!

Coping with a wailing baby at 2am in the morning is no laughing matter. Unfortunately, crying is your baby’s primary way of expressing himself in his first year.

But don’t fret. He will start experimenting with words and sounds in no time, so that you can understand him better and meet his needs more efficiently.

In the meantime, look out for these signs:

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0 to 6 months:

· Remember that bubba’s sense of hearing plays a vital role in his ability to communicate. He should be turning his head in the direction of sounds from his toys or your voice, even as a newborn.

· Within your baby’s first three months, he should begin to show interest in faces and make eye contact with you. So, go ahead and gaze lovingly into those eyes whenever you can.

· Call it an exercise in honing your motherly instincts, if you will. But if you listen intently, you should be able to catch a slight variation in baby’s cries. There’s a secret language to it! Listening to the pre-cry portion — the starting bit of your baby’s cries — can give you an idea of what needs he has. Get handy hints from this video.

· Other times, he may just cry because of sudden noises or sounds, or perhaps out of fear. Calm him down by cradling him, or rocking him gently in your arms.

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6 to 12 months:

· She’ll start to experiment with talking by babbling consonant sounds like da-da or ma-ma. Smile and respond positively, and you’ll be rewarded with more.

· Her sense of hearing is developing at a rapid pace. She will be listening more intently to you speaking and probably even mimic your words with sounds.

· By 9 months, she will be able to recognise the sound of her name and mimic your facial expressions and gestures. She will also become more active with her hands, pointing to or gesturing at items that she wants you to pass to her.

· Have your camera at the ready to record your adorable one as she spills out long strings of baby babble. This process is also known as jargoning, which happens as part of her attempts to piece together different sounds and words.

Read on to learn more about your tot’s developing communication skills…

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12 to 18 months:

· Your peewee will be able to respond to simple instructions like, “Come here.” Or a sternly meted out “No!”

· Try talking while pointing out to a distant object, away from his line of sight. He should turn in the direction of your fingers and listen more intently to what you are saying.

·By 15 months, his toddler vocabulary would have grown to include an understanding of about 50 words and he may also begin to use about 5 to 10 words in his conversations.

· Your sweetie’s repertoire of gestures is also growing by the day. He should be able to match sounds to gestures — for instance, responding to your yes or no questions with a nod or a shake of his head.

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18+ months:

· Your little one is fast becoming a social creature. It’s about time to sign your tot up for playdates. Expanding your kiddo’s social circles will give him more opportunities to put his communication skills into practice.

· While it might take some time for her to get used to new play environments, she’ll gradually show an interest in others by maintaining eye contact and moving towards them.

· By 21 months, she’ll be able to understand simple pronouns like “me”, “you” and “my”. She may even name random objects that you bring to her attention.

· When she turns 2, your little darling should able to comprehend and effectively carry out two-step instructions like “Pick up your socks and bring them to me”. Be sure to praise her when she follows your instructions.

Photo: iStock

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