When will my baby start to babble and talk, and how will I know the difference? Milestones

iStock.com/JBryson

mom talking to baby
iStock.com/JBryson

You can expect your baby to start communicating verbally in various stages. First comes babbling, and later he'll start to talk. Here's how you can distinguish the two -- and when your baby is likely to do both. 

Babbling Happens Much Earlier

"Babies generally start cooing at 2 to 3 months and babbling by 4 months. Babies may learn their first words around 12 months old." -- Lisa Liu, MD, physician at Loyola Center for Health at Gottlieb, assistant professor of family medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Melrose Park, Illinois

It's a Word If Baby Means It to Be

"Babbling is use of repetitive vowel or consonant sounds with intonation. Think 'bababbabbabba.' A lot of times, a baby’s first word is 'dada.' At that point, it's is not a repetitive sound but a deliberate word. At first, an infant might use 'dada' as a word for a variety of people -- not just dad, but also mom and anyone else. As time passes, 'dada' develops into meaning the father specifically." -- Maria Lombardi, DO, pediatrician at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, Valhalla, New York 

It's Babbling Until They're About a Year Old

"My daughter is still babbling, and she is 6 months. I've found they start talking closer to 10 to 12 months."

Babbling Won't Make Sense -- but It's Important

"Babble can be early! Like for sure before a year. It's their own little language, and it will not make any sense to you. The important thing is they're moving their tongues, mouths, and lips!"

Talking Is Real Communication

"My daughter was super-early with both! I don't 100 percent remember the timeline, but babbling is just them 'trying' to talk. It might even seem like they are responding to you in gibberish sometimes. Talking started for her around 11 to 12 months, and it was just knowing basic words -- ball, cup, Elmo -- and parroting things we said. Every month after that, she built upon it, adding more to her vocabulary, stringing more words together, then talking in full sentences, and more."

is the official retail partner of Mom.com

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.