6 Month Old Not Talking, Should I Be Concerned?

At 6 months old, my little one doesn’t really talk much, of course there are a lot of mumbled sounds with a mixture of chirp and weird random sounds, but not actual understandable words.

This wasn’t a big deal for me until my mother-in-law raised the concern that he should’ve said at least “mama” or “baba” at this stage. I got worried, so I went ahead and got my son checked by the doctor.

It really isn’t something to be concerned about, we were told to be patient as every baby is different and achieves their milestones at different levels. My little kiddo was a late talker.

The definition of talking is different for everyone, some consider it as a one-word, others consider it as a 2 or 3 syllable word. Obviously, at 6 months of age, the baby will only be able to say a few words.

Don’t panic if your child doesn’t talk by 6 or 7 months old, my little one started talking when he was 10 months old and now talks in full sentences with 5 syllables. He used to intermittently babble “mamamamama” or “dadadada” for a week then stopped and continued with baby gibberish.

I encouraged him to talk by naming things, numbers, reading books, asking questions, trying to have a conversation, repeating names over and over again but all I got was cute smiles, continuous staring, and laughs rarely got a word back.

However, he understands some terms we say to him like milk, stop, baby, come here, and responds to his name. Now he’s a chatterbox, and he has plenty of things to say and never stops!

I know it’s really hard to wait for your baby to talk, lots of things go to mind when your baby reaches developmental milestones but doesn’t start. Is he autistic? Does he have trouble in speech? Is he unable to form words? Is there a developmental delay? Is his pacifier usage hurting his speech delay?

Every baby is different some are inclined more towards physical developmental milestones but if the situation is the same at 1-year-old maybe it would be a concern.

I wouldn’t recommend you not to worry at all; of course, keep in touch with your pediatrician and notify them if you find something worthy of concern.

Normal developmental milestones at 6 months old

A 6-month baby boy is laying down and making cooing noises.

Babbling is a developmental stage in an infant’s life that starts at 3 months to 6 months of age.

During this stage, he babbles and mumbles different words, mostly unclear at this stage. They are just experimenting and exploring their vocals.

  • Baby makes squealing, bowling, high-pitched squeaky sounds.
  • Tries to make consonants and makes vowels sounds like “woo,” “Ahh,” “Bah.”
  • He responds to certain voices and moves his head in the direction of the sound.
  • Smiles when talked to, and makes facial expressions as if trying to talk.
  • Makes certain noises to attract you.
  • Makes eye contact when you are talking or singing a lullaby to him.

Ways to encourage babbling in your baby

Mom is playing with her 6-month infant girl, encouraging her to talk by playing with her.

Babbling isn’t something to be taught, it comes intrinsically to baby but to boost their visual and expressive language the only way to help them explore is by talking, talk as much as you can with your baby.

He may not understand what you are saying right now but will eventually pick up words and start babbling. Other ways include;

  • Give him something and talk about it, like a toy or show him a cartoon and describe what it is. “Oh, this is a monkey,” “do you know what a monkey likes to eat? Bananas! Yes”, and “what’s the color of bananas, yellow.” That’s right!
  • Make eye contact when he babbles and imitates the babble like he says “mama,” repeat it in front of him. If you find him imitating a certain sound that you made earlier, repeat it over and over again
  • Ask questions like “what are we going to eat today?” is that a cat? What does the cat say? “meow.” Is that a car? A red car? Do you like it?
  • Discuss and have a conversation on a certain topic you were thinking, “Mommy is making pasta tonight.” “Let’s wear something light today; it’s bright and sunny outside” “let’s put on this tee-shirt with bugs bunny on it that mommy bought you,” Look at that cute little kitty” this helps him identify the things and objects.
  • Read books, nursery rhymes, and lullabies, Do a bedtime story session every night. Read a book, point at pictures, and repeat the names of things in the picture. Babies are attracted to big, bright-colored pictures. Sing lullabies and nursery rhymes; they may not understand you now but believe me, every little effort is paying, and they are learning it.
  • Name things; if you see your baby is pointing at something or he is excited to when he sees certain thing, grab it and give it to him or hold it in your hand and talk about it, “Book, is that a book? Do you want me to read this book?”
  • Give Choices; Do you want apple juice or orange juice? What color is this, yellow or green?

Types of babbling and when to look for…

Mom is sitting on the sofa with her infant son, spending time with him and helping him meet his developmental milestone in speech.

Early babbling; This is the early stage of babbling, the child is learning and says vowels like “oo” which usually occurs in the phonation stage next up he learns to say “coo” “woo” “ahh” as the development proceeds.

By the end of this stage, the baby can transition between vowels and consonants, and he can say “baba,” “mama,” “dada.”

Canonical babbling; includes repeated words; what you say, the baby tries to repeat it. This stage also includes consonants.

Variegated babbling; in this stage, the baby can mix up words and speak 2/3 syllable words or small sentences like, “this juice,” “give the ball,” etc.

Red flags to look for if your toddler isn’t talking

Despite putting in all sorts of efforts, your baby is still not babbling look out for other developmental signs.

  • Are other developmental milestones delayed too?
  • Is your baby isn’t responding when you talk to him?
  • Seems disinterested and doesn’t interact when you are engaging in a conversation with him.
  • Not babbling or talking after the age of 1.
  • Have trouble identifying things and following sound.
  • Late babbling or late canonical babbling; if your baby hasn’t started babbling by the age of 10/11 months get his hearing checked, delayed canonical babbling shows poor vocabulary and less expression of sentences as compared to other children.

Your child could be a late talker!

Dad is talking to his infant son, trying to help him talk back, to get to his speech development milestone.

Most children are late talkers, if all the other developmental milestones are achieved by your baby but he isn’t talking then chances are your baby is a late talker, right now he is just observing the world and the sentences that you say.

So what exactly is a late talker? If your baby is using less than 50 syllables at the age of 18 or 24 months old then he is a late talker.

Many parents seem to be concerned, but there is nothing to worry about. You can always consult a speech pathologist and speech therapist to help your baby talk more frequently.

Studies have shown that those babies are mostly late talkers whose parents are bilingual, as they are unable to understand and interpret the words. Try speaking one language during the first two years of life and then add a second language or use different words from both languages.

FAQs

What do I do if my 6-month old isn’t babbling?

Try to encourage him by engaging in a conversation with him. ask questions, repeat words, and name things. I’ve mentioned some points in the above section. And don’t panic your baby is just 6 months old, he will learn eventually. Only consult if he isn’t engaging in conversation, seems disinterested, or is unable to make eye contact at 1 year of age or onwards.

When should you worry about a child not talking?

After 12 months of age if your baby isn’t participating in the conversation and doesn’t use conical babbling you should refer to a speech pathologist and speech therapist.

Should 6-month old be babbling?

Yes! Babbling starts at 3 to 6 months of age, babies are able to make vowel sounds and some can make consonants too mixed with vowels at the age of 6 or 7 months old. However, every baby is different if your baby isn’t making any babbling sounds don’t worry at all, just be patient.

What sounds should my 6-month old be making?

At 6 month of age, babies are able to make a variety of sounds with a mixture of vowels and consonants, these usually include “bah” “gah” “ahh” “coo” “woo” “dadada” “mamama” “bababa” “dabada” “bubo” and many more like these.

At times you’ll notice that they say some words for a week then they forget about it, it is nothing to be concerned about babies just have short-term memory, just repeat them regularly they’ll speak again.

Takeaway

The true joy of parenthood is when your baby speaks his first words, be it mama or dada, and parents are equally thrilled. I was overwhelmed when my baby said mama for the first time out of the blue. It sparks true joy and happiness.

As much as we want our child to start saying his first words sooner, we should always remember that every child is different. They achieve their milestones at their own pace; you can’t force onto them but only encourage them to do so.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t care about it, keep an eye on their milestones. Let your pediatrician know at what stage they are what they have achieved so far, and if something raises suspicion, tell that too.

The sooner you suspect, the better outcome can be achieved if your baby is a late talker; consult a speech therapist and speech pathologist for early evaluation.

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