19 answers

I'm a New Mom and My 12 Month Old Baby Doesn't Talk!

Good Morning. I'm worried about my 12 month old daughter. She started saying MaMa and DaDa when she was 5-6 months.. She stopped saying it when she was about 8-9 months. She started saying MaMa again but hasn't said DaDa yet.. She babbles and she understands when I talk to her. She's walking, using her sippy cup etc.. I'm worried because even though she's hitting all her milestones, she still hasn't said DaDa again. I'm always doing research because I'm a new mom and I don't like not knowing what's going on with my babygirl but the Internet is so scary. I'm in tears writing this because I'm so confused and I just want her to be healthy. Her doctor told me not to worry because babies usually don't start talking until they're 16-18 months. However when I'm on these websites they say that your baby at 12 months should be saying MaMa and Dada and if she stopped saying it or if they never said it before then that's a sign of Autism. I don't know what to do or who to talk to anymore.

What can I do next?

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Just one more thing, my son also said words for a while and then "lost" them. I was so worried about it, but he is absolutely FINE. Once he hit about 20 months he just started talking up a storm and has never slowed down. Ever! The kid never stops talking. Enjoy her!!

I would not worry about it. My son did not talk a lot at 18 months but understood everything we told him. He did not say too much at twelve months either. I think that it is totally normal to worry but don't stress over the small things. my son started talking more when he was in a daycare enviornment. Now he is almost 3.5 years and sometimes he never stops talking. Do Not let all the stuff on the websites freak you out. I would be more worried, if she was 18 months old and not talking. It will all come in due time. It sounds like she is doing great and has a good mother. DOn't be a stressed Momma,its not good for you or her. Enjoy her now while she is young. The time goes by fast.

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Oh no Doll, back AWAY from the INTERNET. INTERNET = BAD. VERY, VERY BAD!!!!

At twelve months of age, your daughter is well beyond the average. You say that she's walking? That's a fantastic indicator that she is just fine.

The internet has the power to scare the fear of God into many people, myself included. It has, on many,many occasions. For developmental issues mostly. So, please refer to words 4 through 11 of this post.....


1 mom found this helpful

girlfriend, ive got 2 kids and they all develope differently. dont stress. I remember worrying about the same thing when my oldest was 14 months old. Now shes 2 1/2 and i wish she would just shut up for like... 5 mins.

Ahh... relax.. once she starts really talking your be wishing for the days when she couldn't. ;D

Those will be the days when she didn't repeat curse words you said when something bad happened right in the pediatrics waiting room at the doctors.

The days when both of you were up at 5 am because of the baby and she hasn't stopped talking since the second your eyes opened after you've only had 3 hours of sleep.

And lastly, the days when you were able to talk on the phone or to your hubby at the dinner table without her constant jibber-jabber int he background thats nearly impossible to talk over.

Trust me, you'll miss the days when she couldn't talk. Enjoy it while you can!!!!!!

Side-note: I always appreciate advice from other parents but I believe that you always need to remember what is ultimately right for you as a parent. Consider the advice, but take it grain of salt, and use your knowledge to decide the right course of action for you. Even if everyone else doesn't agree with you. ;)

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

S., Does she point to things to draw your attention to them? Does she play pat-a-cake? Wave bye-bye? Make eye contact? Will she copy your facial expressions and gestures? Does she play with age-appropriate toys in the way that they are "supposed" to be played with? Is she interested in other children? There are many many signs of autism, and not talking by 12 months is not really a big red flag if she doesn't have other signs of being autistic. A lot of children don't talk until they are closer to 2, without there being any problem with their development. I have a typical child and a child with autism, and there were many other differences at 12 months than just not talking. It may ease your mind to take a look at the "CHAT" (Checklist for Autism in Toddlers), which is designed to detect autism by 18 months (you can find a link to it online on just about any autism-related website). You will hopefully see that your daughter is already doing a lot of the things that a child with autism will probably not be doing by 18 months. If you see other warning signs that something isn't right, or your mother's instinct is telling you that something is wrong and your pediatrician won't listen to you, I would insist on a referral to a developmental pediatrician, because you need to know what's going on as early as possible so that you can get the right interventions in place. One other thing, even if she does have a speech delay (which she probably doesn't, but I'm just saying even if she does), that doesn't mean it is autism. Sometimes children just need a couple of years of speech therapy, and then they are caught up, long before kindergarten. Please do not panic, sometimes things have a way of seeming a lot worse than they really are, when it comes to our little ones, and your daughter is most likely 100% fine. Best wishes to you.

1 mom found this helpful

Stop stressing yourself out, and you too Elena D!! Your baby is doing just fine I am sure! My son is also 12 months old and he doesn't really say any words,only babbles and he understands a lot of what I say. I have heard him say mama and dada, although it was just babble, not calling me or my husband that. He says those words off and on, in fact, I haven't heard him say dada again in a while. My daughter, who is 2 1/2 now, did the same thing. She started to say mama and it just disappeared. She didn't actually start calling me mommy until she was about 18 months. Also, around 18 - 20 months was when she actually started saying more words instead of just babble. Babies will do one thing and then it may disappear because they are developing at such a fast pace. So, some things may disappear when your baby starts to learn other things. There is a WIDE range of normal for babies and children, so just because a book or a website is saying XYZ that is usually just an average and a typical text book answer. As the months and years go by, you will come to see that babies and children are anything but text book! Please, please, please don't believe everything you read on the internet, in fact, I wouldn't even read it at all because it just scares you. I did the same things as a new mom, but with my second, I am so much more laid back. Have you looked up signs of autism? It is much more than not saying any words. I always like mayoclinic.com. Trust your doctor and talk to her about autism if it scares you. I know lots of kids that didn't start talking until they were 2 1/2 - 3 years old and they are just fine. If she is able to communicate with you in other ways (pointing, grunting, etc) and she understand a lot of what you are saying then I sure she's doing fine and I am sure you are doing a fantastic job of raising her. Relax!

1 mom found this helpful

My kids didn't say anything (verbally) until close to 2 years old. However, they were able to communicate using gestures.

For example, my oldest was really into stickers and loved to stick them to his arm. When he wanted a sticker, he would put two fingers together and tap his arm. This was his "word" for stickers. My pediatrician said that gestures like this count as words and he didn't start asking about that until my son was 24 months. If your child is finding ways to communicate with you and understanding what you say to her, then she's just fine. She's just taking her time figuring out how to communicate verbally. Perfectly normal.

My oldest didn't say anything verbally until after he had a bad cold and fever which slowed him way down for a few days. As he slowly recuperated, he suddenly started saying 20-25 words! About 3 months later, he once again had a bad cold and afterwards started saying full sentences. I can only guess that he was just so busy exploring and doing that he wasn't interested in figuring out how to talk. Hopefully your daughter will soon be saying more than you can imagine!

The internet (and other moms for that matter) can make you scared and anxious about your little girl. Just keep in mind that each and every baby is different and has a different time table for when they will hit those milestones. Enjoy all those amazing milestones your child is hitting and don't get overly worried. Unless your child is way behind the curve, chances are your child is just too busy perfecting those other new skills she's recently learned. Best of luck!

My son is 2 1/2 and didn't really start talking until right before his second birthday and I didn't hear 'mama' until after he turned 2. Before 2 he would say maybe 10 words if that and at 18 months he just grunted and couldn't say anything. He does Early Intervention which was suggested by his pediatrician (talk to yours about it). There are 3 different therapists that come out to help him with speech. He's a talker now but he has problems saying certain letters and the speech therapist is helping him with that. And it turned out that he has some sensory issues that the therapists are focusing more on. Let me tell you, never ONCE did I think my child was autistic. He always responded to things, had a wide range of emotions... everything a 'regular' toddler did. He just didn't talk yet. Some kids talk early and others don't. And something the therapists said is sometimes toddlers are so focused on mastering one or two skills that talking comes later because they aren't as focused on it. Oh, and my son too started saying 'dada' at about 6 months or so then just stopped, just like that. I also helped teach my son some baby sign language to help with his frustration when he was trying to communicate with me. You only need to know a few basic words and it's not hard, just do it EVERYTIME you talk to your daughter. I made sure my son was looking at me when I talked and I would ask him if he wanted, say, more juice (and would do the sign for more while saying it). And there were times he would hand me his sippy cup and do the sign for 'more' and I would say 'oh, you want 'MORE' (doing the sign again) juice. Repeat, repeat, repeat. And keep talking to her, exagerate your words (as she's looking at you) so she sees how your mouth moves while you talk (I had to do that for a while, it sounds odd, but it helped). And say she likes something, learn (and do and say) the sign for 'again'.... basic stuff. Look up baby sign language online (you don't need to buy anything... it's not worth it). And I agree, the internet can scare you. You know your baby best and if you know something isn't right, you'll feel it in your gut. If your kid was say, 4 and not talking, then something might be wrong. My neighbor has a neice that didn't talk until she was 3, so every kid is different. Find out about Early Intervention from your Ped., it's paid for by the state, so we aren't putting anything out of our pocket. It just took a long time to get the process started (a few months, maybe 4 or so)... so get her enrolled now. They come to your house, and it helped.

My son didn't say "mama" until he was 18 months old... by that point he was saying lots of other words but not that! It hurt my feelings a bit (especially because I was the only parent at home for 7 seven months!) but he is a VERY smart little boy at 3 :)

You didn't mention any acivities that you and you child do together. Do you have regular reading time. I would suggest reading books to her. Choose a few that have easy words. Read the same ones every day. Maybe she will start saying the words that you are repeatedly saying to her. I read to all my babies from the time they were born. They are all good readers and good spellers. You might also want to try flash cards with simple pictures with simple words on them. You can even make your own with magazine pictures and index cards. I've had 3 children and they all developed their skills at diffrent times. I remember my youngest daughter did not talk or walk until she was 14 months old. One day she just started talking and walking and she's been completely active at both ever since. I wouldn't worry yet, give her some time. I wish you luck and hope that everything turns our okay.

don't worry about it! my first didn't talk until he was like 2 and my almost 16 month old isn't really talking yet either. just keep reading and talking to her...tell her everything you're doing in normal words...not baby talk or anything. once she starts, the floodgates will open and she won't stop! lol the only thing at this point i would suggest is to make sure she can hear you well. has she had a hearing check yet? my son had lots of ear infections and things of that nature and ended up getting tubes in last July. when he had a hearing test done, they said he couldn't hear hardly at all out of his one ear. so just something to think about...if she seems to hear you well when you talk, then you don't have to worry about it. but she'll come around. just keep talking and reading to her :)

You have MANY reassuring messages here but I just wanted to chime in with a don't stress too much about what you read on the internet (even here)! You will find lots of OPINIONS but like so many have said already - every baby is different.

Our almost 2.5 year old is off the charts developmentally for everything except speech. He clearly understands multi-step directions but barely puts two words together - - - he is fine! I expect he will blurt out full sentences one day and I will look back favorably at this quiet time. :)

I didn't read all the response so someone may have already mentioned this but consider sign language as a bridge to vocalizing words. Our son had about a dozen signs before he had two words. There are some great picture books that illustrate the signs but also teach you how to form the words so you can teach her.

Good luck and please try not to stress too much it is no good for anyone!

- J. :)

Just one more thing, my son also said words for a while and then "lost" them. I was so worried about it, but he is absolutely FINE. Once he hit about 20 months he just started talking up a storm and has never slowed down. Ever! The kid never stops talking. Enjoy her!!

Relax! I was right where you are a year+ ago -- reading too much and fretting! ;-) My DD (now almost 2.5 years old), didn't really start talking until 15-18 mos, and it's really over last spring, the summer that her language skills really developed. I've found that my girls are always "behind" when I compare to all the milestone checklists, and it can make you crazy worrying. I'm sure she's fine! I heard the other day of someone who's daughter didn't start talking until like 3, and now is never quiet! It's fun when they start talking, but be careful what you wish for. ;-) Soon she'll be very vocal in asking for things and lots and lots of talking! Just enjoy the "quietness" now and know she'll get there when she's ready! You're a great mom!

Your child is fine. As kids learn new skills they often stop doing others for a time. Its as if they can only focus on one thing at a time. Also, my doctor said that at this age sounds are words if they are used consistently. So if their is a grunt or noise that she makes everytime she wants milk, then that is her word for milk, for now. If she squeels every time she sees a dog, that's her word for dog, for now. At this age they are not really supposed to talk. She is too young. She should be communicating in other ways though. Pointing or grunting or crying. Trying to tell you what she wants. Talking comes later. You could try to teach her sign language. Kids can use their hands before they are able to form their tongue/mouth/lips in the proper shape for speaking. Talking is very difficult. Also, be aware that at this age, when they learn a new sound they will use it for everything for a while. When my son first learned mama, he said it for everything. Me, the dogs, my husband. Then when he learned dada, that was for everything, even me. Every new sound was used for everything until he was good at it or learned a new sound. He is now 20 months & his sounds are starting to sound like real words.
I also know a lot of 3 & 4 year olds who are very difficult to understand & still only use simple words. And they are perfectly normal.
If your doctor says she's fine & she is meeting all her milestones, then she is fine.
If you teach her sign language, it may delay her use of words b/c she will be able to communicate with her hands and not have as much need to use her words. She will use them eventually (and some studies show she will have a greater vocabulary than other kids).
Good luck.

I would not worry about it. My son did not talk a lot at 18 months but understood everything we told him. He did not say too much at twelve months either. I think that it is totally normal to worry but don't stress over the small things. my son started talking more when he was in a daycare enviornment. Now he is almost 3.5 years and sometimes he never stops talking. Do Not let all the stuff on the websites freak you out. I would be more worried, if she was 18 months old and not talking. It will all come in due time. It sounds like she is doing great and has a good mother. DOn't be a stressed Momma,its not good for you or her. Enjoy her now while she is young. The time goes by fast.

I have the same concern. My baby (12 mos) only really says Dada. The ped said she should have 2 words other than mama and dada but not to worry. My first daughter had more words but I think there is truly a wide range of "normal." Wait and see how she does in the next 3 months until next appointment. Keep talking and reading to her and it will come!

Honestly, you need to stop worrying. My son is 16 months and still only babbles. As long as she is babbling and understands you she is fine. Some babies just take longer to talk. Just keep talking to her as much as you possibly can. Have conversations with her. At the grocery store tell her every item you put in the buggy and what it is for. You will look a little silly but it will help her learn words.
Also, don't compare your child to any other child. They are all different. My daughter was talking at 9 months but did not walk till she was 18 months. My son started walking at 9 months and still is not talking. No child is the same and that is what makes each of them unique and special.
Good luck to you and just concentrate on raising a happy healthy child.

I hope you have taken all the other responses to heart--turn off that damn computer and enjoy your baby. I am the mother of three. None of them were talking at 12 months. My oldest didn't say two words until she was 2, and didn't blossom until closer to 3. She will not stop talking now! Remember, children can feel our stresses, so relax and enjoy this time. Read, sing, do activities together and I am sure all will be well. Never read any of that stuff about autism...I think if you have a problem on your hands, you will know it beyond a doubt. It doesn't sound like you do at all. So take a breath, and forget about it. She'll be having conversations before you know it.

She sounds just fine to me!
Sometimes kids get bored of words they know. My son would only say mama, dada, and baba until he was 18 months old. and even those were rare. At 18 months though, the speech came on really fast! His vocabulary grew tremendously in only a months time.
So when she is closer to 2 and still isn't talking, I would definately worry. But at 12 months she sounds phenomonal!

But one thing I would suggest is reading to her A LOT! I don't know if you already do this or not, but they pick up words that they had heard before and start saying them months or weeks later! So read to her any chance you two can get, or at least everynight before bed. Start now!
Being a new mom is tough, and can be scary at time. But the fact that you are so tuned into your daughter speaks volumes about your parenting! follow your instinct, use your trusted doctors advice as guidelines, and ask for help when you need it. You two are doing great! :)

My 12 month old said Mama and Dada but stopped too. Sometimes she will, sometimes she won't. The only other word she says is "Hi". Please don't worry! My first had quite a few words at 14 months, 2nd barely spoke one word until 18 months and now this one. Every child is different. Don't worry and definitely don't compare her to anyone else. If she is walking, using her sippy, pointing she is fine! My 2nd only started saying words at 18 months, and then at 2 years, BOOM- a new word every hour! Your daughter is perfectly normal and just fine :)

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