How can I tell if my baby's language development is on the right track? Milestones

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Baby lying down giggling and laughing
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Each baby develops at his or her own pace, and babies start talking in different ways and at different times. If you're concerned that your baby isn't babbling or talking enough, discuss your concerns with your pediatrician, and check out these experts' and moms' tips.

Check Baby's Stage

"Baby should be cooing by 2 months, babbling by 4 months, and repeating sounds by 6 months. Babies develop at different rates and girls tend to be faster in language than boys. The main thing one should see is steady progress in your interaction with your child. If you see progress, you should feel comfortable. Your doctor should screen for language development with each well-child checkup." -- Brian Orr, MD, Brian Orr Pediatrics, Gloucester, MA

Stay Focused on Progressing

"The best way to determine if your baby's language development is on the right track is to stay focused on the progression of baby's verbal skills. For babies younger than 6 months, the 'normal' markers are making eye contact, following, tracking noises, and smiling. Progressively, your baby will start babbling, laughing, pointing, and clapping. As long as your baby is progressively meeting those markers, he or she is on the right track." -- Avivit Ben-Aharon, MS Ed, MA CCC-SLP, CEO and...

"The best way to determine if your baby's language development is on the right track is to stay focused on the progression of baby's verbal skills. For babies younger than 6 months, the 'normal' markers are making eye contact, following, tracking noises, and smiling. Progressively, your baby will start babbling, laughing, pointing, and clapping. As long as your baby is progressively meeting those markers, he or she is on the right track." -- Avivit Ben-Aharon, MS Ed, MA CCC-SLP, CEO and clinical director, Gr8 Speech Inc.

It's About Communication

"Around 7 months to one year, a baby will use sounds to get the attention of others. Babies will also begin to imitate different sounds that others make. At age 1, a baby typically is able to say a few words like mama, dada, and milk. If your baby says 'da' for 'dad' and only for dad, then that is considered a word.  Around 18 months to 2 years, a baby will begin to string two words together like 'mama up' or 'more please.'" -- Jann Fujimoto, MS, speech-language pathologist at SpeechWorks, Oconomowoc, WI

Babies Have Different Paces

"My oldest only said a handful of words before 2, and then started speaking in full sentences. It was like she was absorbing everything and biding her time until she was ready."

Keep It Positive

"I recommend trying not to force him or let him overhear you talk about your concern with tension. He may very well understand you're upset with him and that can set him back."

Lead by Example

"I started by slowly pronouncing what she was pointing at, then tried encouraging her to say it. After a few weeks, she slowly started saying things instead of grunting."

No Baby Talk

"I don't allow anyone to speak to my son in gibberish or baby talk. I insist everyone speaks using plain English, so he has the opportunities to learn."

Take Him to See a Speech Therapist

"If you are concerned, bring him in to be evaluated by a speech therapist. That way, if there is an issue, you can get him help right away."

Early Intervention Is Key

"My son was language delayed and everyone (including family members) made excuses for it. He didn't qualify for services the first time I had him tested, so I waited three months and had him retested. At that point he qualified. Trust your mommy instincts and don't wait!"

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.