43 answers

8 1/2 Month Old Not Saying "MaMa" and "DaDa"

My son is 8 1/2 mo/old. perfect in every way, crawling standing and even trying to take a few steps! He has 4 teeth, is still really happy and laughs and smiles all the time! Problem is that he just isnt saying anything other than "Ah-ga" and "Ga-Ga" yet! He responds to us when we say things with smiles and laughs and he even yells at the darking dogs and the hair dryer (Ahhhhhh!!) but no other vowel sounds! I feel like all we do is talk to him and try to get him so say ma and da and ba but nothing yet! should we be concerned?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I really did enjoy reading many other moms responses that went through or are going through the same thing. Your kind words really did put me at ease!! :)
But I want to say one more thing...
I am a college educated preschool teacher with a very level head on my shoulders. I do see many differences in the children I teach in all aspects of their development from speech to motor skills. But it’s always different when it comes to your own child. As mothers, a lot of us second guess ourselves probably WAY more than we ever need to.
My request for advice was more to reassure myself that my son was indeed “normal”. All mothers should have high expectations of their children but by no means am I trying to stifle my child in to talking too early!
There was one resposse to my request that "really rubbed me the wrong way" It was in fact harsh, completely unnecessary and at some points very rude and condescending. Some moms that post things on here really need to re-visit the basics of, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, than please don’t say anything at all”.

Featured Answers

No reason for concern! As a VERY general rule, boys don't speak a whole lot before they're 1 and even then it's not as much as girls. I have a couple friends with boys between 12 and 16 months who's boys might say up to 5 words including mama or dada. Sounds like you're doing everything right!

2 moms found this helpful

No, it is perfecty normal. Boys tend to develop verbal skills much later than girls. It is normal that if he is strong in his motor skills, he will be slower with his verbal skills. I have a friend whose son is 18 months and not identifying mama and dada yet. So, give it time. He sounds like a perfectly healthy, happy baby.

2 moms found this helpful

I was super concerned about my daughter too. She had a limited vocab early on, and I thought she should be saying more. She could communicate though, and understood what we told her. Anyway, she is just fine now. Jibber Jabbering a ton. She is 2 now. But, the point is that I think that they do things on their own time. Each child is different. It doesn't mean that they are going to have problems later in life. I wouldn't worry. I wish I would not have, it just drags you down.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

No, N.- there is nothing even slightly wrong. MANY little guys are behind yours-- and quite often physically competant little guys do put words on the ''back burner' while they get their legs to get them MOVING!!. So, as a 40 years plus mom/grandmom/preschool teacher -- here is the yardstick for words:
a one year old ( in 3 more months) might be saying one - syllable or one word ''pieces'' ( MA! --- 'DO ' ( for the dog) ---- and two year old ususally is putting two words or word-approximations together ( 'MY bo ' ' go ca - ) -- and 3s - are usually putting 3 words together and they are clearer ( 'want more noodles') --- BUT dear heart-- enjoy his fantastic progress -- in 8 months he has accomplished so much- let him be little--- it's not a race---

If it will be FUN for you- get some books or tapes from the library on baby signs - NOT BECASUE HE CANT TALK but to be fun for both of you and because it is so much easier for a baby to get their hands to say '''more'' '''done'' ''sad'' and express themselves - than to make those tricky little mouth muscles work--those are TINY and it's hard to tweak them. SO many parents have said '''we loved 'baby signs' and then my child started talking so fast --- we really just left the signs behind '' ---

He's ahead is so many ways- please don't worry- enjoy him-

''joy is the natural state of man'' and the more joy in his life ( and YOURS) the better your little eagle will fly.

Blessings,
J.

3 moms found this helpful

I was super concerned about my daughter too. She had a limited vocab early on, and I thought she should be saying more. She could communicate though, and understood what we told her. Anyway, she is just fine now. Jibber Jabbering a ton. She is 2 now. But, the point is that I think that they do things on their own time. Each child is different. It doesn't mean that they are going to have problems later in life. I wouldn't worry. I wish I would not have, it just drags you down.

2 moms found this helpful

No reason for concern! As a VERY general rule, boys don't speak a whole lot before they're 1 and even then it's not as much as girls. I have a couple friends with boys between 12 and 16 months who's boys might say up to 5 words including mama or dada. Sounds like you're doing everything right!

2 moms found this helpful

No, it is perfecty normal. Boys tend to develop verbal skills much later than girls. It is normal that if he is strong in his motor skills, he will be slower with his verbal skills. I have a friend whose son is 18 months and not identifying mama and dada yet. So, give it time. He sounds like a perfectly healthy, happy baby.

2 moms found this helpful

No need to be concerned yet...he's still very young. We have very close family friends who have two sons and neither one verbalized specific words in their first two years of life. They both are great talkers now!

What's important is that you are speaking TO him, speaking WITH him, reading together, and most of all being patient. If he's doing well physically at his age, the verbal part will come. Language acquisition is such a fascinating part of toddler development--there's so much out there to consider! I know what got our baby going was finding a certain book that she was REALLY interested in. (they love pictures of other babies) This was much more motivating than her papa and I trying to get her to say things "to" us!

Our little girl mixed up certain words quite a bit at first (she started "talking" at about 10 mos) and that concerned us--but she grew out of it. Kids are amazing!

Don't frustrate yourselves and just remember to be patient with your little guy!

2 moms found this helpful

If you are sure it is not a hearing problem watch out for other sign. My first child wasn't using common words. She was always throwing her blankets off and taking her shocks and shirts off. She seem to be hot all the time. Though her body didn't seem warm. When she did start talking she was like a parrot and was just repeating everything that she heard. The doctors just told me to wait, But at 18mos they sugested a hearing test which just proved that her hearing was fine. When she was 3 1/2 I finally had her tested and she was determined to be autistic. So if you have concerns don't wait the sooner you find out the better. Ask you doctor about your concerns, and I wish you all the luck. These are things to watch out for and not worry till he is 18mos and not talking.

2 moms found this helpful

That's actually really good! It looks like he's to the stage where once he figures out the "m" sound and "d" sound he will be able to say those things. Please don't worry about your baby's language until he's a year old - if he hasn't developed any other sounds besides 'g' by then you probably should see a speech pathologist or doctor, but it sounds like he will. Also, 'a' is almost always the first vowel - that's so normal for him to figure out other consonant combinations with 'a' before he moves on to 'o' and 'e' and 'i' etc.
In fact, right now he's probably not saying gaga with any purpose - he's just exercising all his little speech muscles and getting them ready!
So, don't worry about your little guy, in a month or two, he'll probably be saying mama and dada all the time!

2 moms found this helpful

N.,

I wouldn't worry at all. My daughter is going on 19 months now and still really only says MaMa for everything. On the very rare occasion she'll say Braba or buba or some such for her brother. And rarer still she'll say Dada. We've taught her some American Sign Language, but she just isn't as into it as her brother was.

She'll point to dogs and say Mama. She'll point to cats and say mama. She'll point to animals in books and say mama. It's just for her Mama is the vocalization for almost everything. She does communicate in other ways though. Obviously the arms up, hopping on the toes means pick me up NOW!. She'll hold one finger up, usually near her cheek and babble mama to the sound of one more slide/book/bite/fill in the blank. She'll use the signs for all done, milk and down.

As long as he's got baby babble going the sounds and variations will come when he's ready. Look for his cues for other ways of communicating. I wouldn't worry too much right now, especially since he's responding to your spoken words.

Most of all, listen to that little voice in the back of your head that is almost always right, but that you often silence. Some call that instinct, some might call me crazy, but whatever you want to call it, it's the little feeling you get that you can't describe to anyone but just know that you are right. If you truly are concerned talk to his doctor at his next visit which should be at either 10 or 12 months.

Hope this helps,
M.

2 moms found this helpful

He's fine. Give him some time, all babies develop at different rates. If you are still concerned at his 1 year check up then ask your pediatrician. But he is still really young, I don't think you need to worry at this point.

2 moms found this helpful

Speech is something that varies with each child. There is nothing abnormal about your child not saying "mama" or "dada". It's great that you're trying to give him some clues by making those sounds to him, but it may be a few more months before he will actually say them. Just know that he'll do it in his own time and your job is to keep giving him an environment that promotes quality stimulation (interacting in a gentle way with your son, talking to him as you go about your day, reading to him, and minimizing/avoiding TV) and he'll do the rest as he's ready.

Enjoy that baby--he'll be walking, talking, and playing before you know it!

Blessings,
J.

2 moms found this helpful

Okay, I hope I don't sound flippant as I write this - because it is being a diligent mother to be concerned, but I was shocked to read the age of your child, and to see you were concerned about lack of speech. I can't remember the exact time frames that the babes are supposed to attempt each phoneme, etc. (my kids are now 2, and almost 4). But please do not be overly concerned. My son did not say "mama" until he was 2. He did say other sounds at 18 months including "truck" - which made me realize where I stood in the list of his priorities ;-). I was concerned enough to have his hearing tested (test came back above average). The moral of story is that he was slow to start talking, and now that he's almost 4 - I can barely get a word in edgewise. Seriously. He talks SO much, I have to say, "please, honey - mommy needs 2 minutes of quiet". Then I smile to myself and remember when I never thought he would talk!! With your little one, I would just suggest: Talk to him, a lot. Verbally label everything as you walk around the house - even have him watch your mouth as you say different sounds, but 9 months is still REALLY early to be concerned. Another tip: try to keep your speech really simple when you are talking to him , so he has a chance of actually repeating it without getting overwhelmed. Keep an eye one the situation, and if at 18 months he's still not very verbal there are steps you can take to have him evaluated - but please, try not to worry at this point.

2 moms found this helpful

In addition to being the mother of two amazing children (8 and 6), I am also a certified teacher with an early childhood development endorsement with 25+ years of experience working with young children and owner/director of a small preschool/daycare. I have literally "raised" dozens of little ones and they all talk eventually. Don't expect to hear your son say anything comprehensible until he is at least 16 mo. or older. In general, boys tend not to use language as early as girls. Right now I have a 27 mo. old boy at my center who just started attempting to say words. Words, not sentences. Some children have been known to stay utterly mute and then one day just rattle off a complete sentence much to the suprize of their worried parent. Think of how much your little guy is taking in and absorbing every second of his day! It's a big world out there with lots to hear and see. The fact that he is responsive and making sounds is awesome! He's right on target! The best thing you can do for him is to continue to talk to him - not baby talk, just regular old talking - all the time. It might feel funny, like you're talking to yourself, but believe me he is listening. Explain what you're doing in the kithen, talk to him in the car about where you are going, in the store about what you are buying, point to and name everything, sing to him, ect., etc. You get the picture. And READ, READ, READ to him as often as you can. All these things help promote early literacy and speech. Trust that your son is a brilliant observer and one day, very soon he will delight you with a recognizable word! Once he starts it will be hard to shut him up! Enjoy!

2 moms found this helpful

My girls both crawled and walked early as well and my older didn't start talking until she was around 14 months. My younger just started to say a few words (including mama) a couple months ago at 13 months. Their pediatrician said not to worry as long as they can say at least 50 words by age two - not use them constantly, but say them at all even once. My older daughter easily had at least 80 words by age two so starting late wasn't a problem at all.

I've heard that if a child crawls and walks early then they'll most likely talk a little later. If a child talks early he'll tend to crawl and walk a little later. My experiences with my friends' children and my children certainly bears out what I've heard! My friend's son who started talking quite a bit at 9-10 months old, didn't walk until he was 15 months old. Another friend had boys who did basically what my girls did. Both my girls were walking full-time at 9-10 months old. The rest of my friends' children have had more of a balance, both talking and walking at around a year - so more average for both types of skills.

There are a lot of variations on normal :) Try not to worry and you might like to teach him some baby signs just to make your life easier (more, drink, food, etc) and his less frustrating so he can let you know what he wants/needs.

Best wishes!
~B.

2 moms found this helpful

N.:

Not to cause any alarm, but since you are writing this to ask, I thought I might let you know that we experienced the same situation and found out that my son needed tubes and that his hearing was delayed due to this matter.

It is not the same situation as you did not mention any constant ear infections, but as a caution, you may try to get his hearing tested.

Also, be aware that boys tend to know things, but they hold back longer. Get his hearing checked, and then go from there. Also, have his pediatrician look him over thoroughly, and make sure to list any difficulties such as fine motor skills, over-all motor skills, and any past infections that have taken longer to heal or are constant (such as ear infections).

I am not a doctor and don't claim to be, but you have to know that my son has speech delay, and has low muscle tone, and that is why we are working closely with a speech therapist as well as an occupational therapist.

I'm so glad you are a SAHM and are able to watch your child carefully. He will benefit from you staying at home with him and working closely with him to learn all that he needs to know.

Keep your head high and be proud of what you are doing. You are a great mom!!!!!

Sincerely,

Kim B.

2 moms found this helpful

no, there is no reason for concern! every child advances in a unique time. my friend's son didn't make much effort at speaking until he was 2 years old, and then he started talking in full sentences! my daughter's first word was "no" when she was about 7 months old & crawling everywhere, getting into everything. hmmmm.

1 mom found this helpful

My kid didn't even start talking until she was a year old. I understand that you just want him to be healthy but you're jumping the gun. No worries.

Just saw your post note. Totally get it. In this case it's probably because you know and have seen all the possibilities out there. He's all right teach!

1 mom found this helpful

N., you need to give yourself and - more importantly - your baby a break! Forgive me if I sound harsh, but you're not being realistic. I have spent many years doing developmental research with kids across the board. A trend that seems to be catching on is the need to make our babies and young children little robot Einsteins. We parents need to lighten up. Children learn and develop at their own paces. It is perfectly typical for an 8 1/2 month old to be making noises like the ones your baby is making. Why do you need him to speak already? Phonologically, he is right on mark. If you have a competant pediatrician, and you keep up with your baby's check-ups, any problems should be noticed and addressed. It seems to me that the only issue you need to worry about would be your unfairly high expectations of your son. Babies are not perfect. They are amazing and awe-inspiring and all that is right in the world. But they are not perfect, nor should they be expected to be perfect. That's too much pressure. Please relax, and enjoy your time with your sweet baby. Don't make it a race or competition. If you are truly concerned, then please, by all means, talk to your doctor. But try to accept that your baby may grow up to be something other than the Nobel Laureate that you may want him to be. But I bet he'll be happy and healthy. Lastly, our education system is designed with methods to identify and address many issues, such as speech and language impairments and delays. When your son is older and in school, I would urge you to keep that in mind. Teachers and other school specialists know what they're doing. With your encouragement, I think your son is and will be in good hands. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

He is probably right on the verge. I wouldn't worry yet. Just talk to his doctor at his next checkup if you are worried, and doctor will let you know if he is on track.

1 mom found this helpful

none of my kids said mama or dada that early. my 13 month old JUST started doing mama and dada recently. there's plenty of time for him to develop his language. i've heard boys take longer often than girls. it will come!

1 mom found this helpful

no, you should not be concerned! My son didn't say more than a couple words until he was 2 1/2 years old and he talks non stop now. If by the time your child is 2 and he is still not talking that is when they say to get concerned. As long as he is verbalizing and communicating in some way and is engaging with you than I would not be concerned. All kids talk at their own pace, just like everything else. It will come. He is just taking it all in. Before you know it you won't be able to get him to stop talking.

1 mom found this helpful

It's good you are aware of this. But don't worry yet. There is a wide range for the first words. Actually when my daughter was eval for speech delays she had sounds but no words, no mama or dad and they eval her at 9 month level when she was 15 months old. I know that they wouldn't be concerned until a child is over a year.

1 mom found this helpful

Your question had me smiling -- because with our first daughter, I was likewise very concerned. As a new stay-at-home momma, I read her TONS of books every day pretty much from birth, talked to her constantly, sang to her, etc. At 18 months, I had her evaluated and the person who checked her out said she could have a speech delay ... and then ...

... I began to really look at other kids who were her age or a few months older. And they were all pretty much at exactly the same point that she was. Some were a little more advanced, some less so -- and it really provided me with comfort. So my encouragement is to check out what other kids your son's age are doing -- and make it a range, not just the super kid of the group (which had been my problem -- we knew twin girls who were counting to 10 and saying their ABCs at 18 months).

Also sign language -- our little girl (2.5 years in Dec) still uses it today and she is talking great now. And saying her colors correctly. But the ABCs and counting - still working on it! And you know what? After observing other kids, I know she is right where she needs to be.

Hang in there, momma.

1 mom found this helpful

Your son is too young for speech. Give him time and don't rush it.
D.
SAHM of 3( 14, 10 and 6)

1 mom found this helpful

Have you tried sign language? I had great success with that with my daughter. Also, I've taken many childrens learning seminars, and sometimes boy's learn things a bit slower. There's also "plateau learning" where kids don't do much (like talk, or walk) until they just DO IT. My brother is finishing getting his PhD right now and he was that way. Didn't speak at all, then started in complete sentences. Don't stress, He's only 8 1/2 months old! There is far too much pressure on us to make our kids perform at a young age.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm not a speech expert, but I'd say you are worrying about this WAY too early! Most kids don't say anything meaningful until they are over a year old, and even then I wouldn't expect too much for a long time. My twins had just a scattering of single words until they were almost two (I think mama and dada didn't show up until about 18 months, but they said dirt and moon a lot!), but now 3 months later they are chattering away in long complex sentences. Even so, there are still plenty of sounds they don't say correctly.

1 mom found this helpful

Some kids just take a while! My second child (a daughter) didn't say anything til she was almost one - at that point she wouldn't shut up (and still doesn't)

here is a link to a chart that will tell you about where your child should be... but remember that every kid is different. http://www.childdevelopmentinfo.com/development/language_...

1 mom found this helpful

There is really no need to be concerned. He still is really young and his skills will develop. Some children are ahead in other areas and others are more average. All the books tell you what might be normal for the age, but that is just a loose guideline. For example, The little boy I babysit for is 11 months, has 8 teeth, says da-da, og-ie, and ay-ee but just started crawling and doesn't even pull himself up yet. And your little guy is taking steps. My daughter started babbling and saying dada around 7 months, never said mama until 11months, didn't walk until 14 months and is now 21months and talking up a storm. And I have a friend whos little boy is almost 2 and just starting to talk, but has enormous comphrehension and fantastic motor skills beyond a normal 2 year old. I guess I am just trying to say that every baby is different and that is normal.
If you are concerned, speak with your doctor. My guess is they won't even reccommend speak therapy until your child is 18 months and by then, your little gem will be talking up a storm!! In the mean time, read lots of stories, be super verbal, sing lots of songs and before you know it your son will be singing some silly rendition of twinkle, twinkle little star like my daughter is right now and you (like me) will be laughing your head off!
AnnMarie

1 mom found this helpful

Don't worry about it - my observation - my daughter is now almost 3 - kids either develop quickly with the physical - like your son - or with the verbal - my daughter she walked at 15 months. Also 8 1/2 seems really young regardless for physical. Remember every kid is different - so they go at different rates so relax and enjoy the ride.

Also Da Da comes much earlier than Ma Ma so don't take it personally.

1 mom found this helpful

Teach him some "baby signs" and you'll be surprised at how fast he'll start talking. You know that he understands what you're saying, but he can't communicate what he wants yet. I wouldn't worry. They grow up too quickly. In a blink of an eye, they're off to college.

1 mom found this helpful

There is NOTHING worry about. My son didn't say mama until right after his second birthday. Your child is still VERY young, he's perfectly fine. Relax and enjoy this time. :)

1 mom found this helpful

Ours is almost 14 months- he got "DAAAAAD!" down but not until after then I believe. Still no mama- I was "bob" for a while, but now not even that. He attempts dog, there (der!), and has random noises for a few other things. I hope to hear mama someday soon! I'm a 2nd grade teacher, don't think there's any reason to worry :)

1 mom found this helpful

Don't worry. He is fine and it looks like he is working on his motors skills. One thing at a time. If you want to help him with the speech, keep talking to him but keep everything on the simple side. Try to use very simple phrases, not more than 3 words at the time, speak slowly and clear. And instead saying: "This is an apple", just show him the apple and say: "Apple.". My son was really impressed with lights and his first word was "lamp". Just watch him and see what he likes and start there. Hope I was helpful. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Let him be who he is. He will be talking soon enough. Use real words when you talk to him. Talk to him all the time. Read books to him. Take him places and talk to him while you are there. You are doing fine.

Ex kindergarten-first grade teacher.

1 mom found this helpful

Thanks for your question and I understand your update. My son is also 8 months and talks jibberish all the time, but never repeated sylabals, like all of the books say we should be hearing by now. Yes, we do want reassurance that everything is ok. And the suggestions about hearing, etc. were also helpful, just in case. As a mom, and I too am a first time mom, I think we KNOW when something is wrong, but worry that we are missing a cue, that's when we need reassurance. Mamasource is great for that and your question has reassured me as well. Thank you. And I agree, I've seen so many responses from people to questions that are rude, condescending and unnecessary. Thanks for pointing that out!

At this point I would not worry about your 8 1/2 month old not saying MaMa and DaDa. The range for what is considered "normal" for all of the so-called milestones is huge. My 12 month old just started saying MaMa a few weeks ago and has not said DaDa. For the longest time, probably a couple of months, all he would say is was Ba-ba or ah-ba, and yes, I felt impatient with his progress as well, especially when I saw other babies his same age, doing things that he wasn't. My personal opinion is that it is more important to see progression in development rather than reaching a certain milestone by a specific age.

Chill out he is only 8 1/2 months old

Stop worrying mom. :o) That's completely normal. He will talk soon enough and when he does you'll be wishing for the days he didn't. LOL

Your baby is young to be saying Mama and Dada yet. I wouldn't worry.

My 13 month old daughter will not say MaMa! When I try to get her to she says DaDa and starts laughing. I was concerned when a woman told me her 7 month old said MaMa. But then I realized she's probably only hearing it because she wants to. I'll keep trying- but at least I know she knows what it means.

There is absolutley nothing to be worried about! Usually words start to come at about his first birthday. Just enjoy every coo and someday youll here those first words and it will just melt your heart!

Most babies do not say their real first word until some time after they turn one year old. I have my Early chilhood educaion degree. One thing that was stressed about development is that all children develop at different levels. Just keep reading and talking to your baby and the language will come!

Hi N.,

Your son sounds just fine to me. I have a cloth diaper business and I get to watch thousands of children from birth on as they progress through the various stages. I have seen very bright, healthy and intelligent children simply take their time to begin talking. They understand and respond to us, but figuring out the motor skills to repeat certain sounds varies for each child and then, each child has his or her own motivator that will suddenly make them decide to talk all the time.

If 6 months from now, your son isn't speaking, then you might want to check with your pediatrician, but I truly wouldn't worry at this point. :)

Hi Nicole,

I really don't think you have anything to worry about. What you're describing sounds very normal for an 8½ month old. All children develop at different stages. Some are better physically first, some are better verbally first, and some just take longer for everything. It's challening not to think otherwise, but it's not really a sign of anything to come. It all evens out not too long after they turn 1. If you're concerned about a hearing problem or something else, then I suggest talking to your pediatrician about it (and MAKE them discuss it with you if you're feeling the need to, don't let them blow it off if it's bothering you). Make sure that your son is getting enough iron, as iron deficiency can cause delays in physical and mental devleopment. I personally also suggest for all babies and kids to take some sort of omega mix, which is great for the brain, immune system and body as a whole, as well as some sort of probiotic (the good bacteria) for a healthy digestive system (which is seperate from this issue I realize).

All in all though, follow your gut, but I really think that your sons development sounds just about right at this point. He'll get there. :o)

Good luck!

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