For some this moment might have been missed, but not for this mommy speech language pathologist. Instead it was monumental. A few days ago my sweet 5-month-old said “ma” for the first time! Proud doesn’t even begin to describe my emotions when I first heard it. Now… she was crying at the time… but her lips did come together to articulate that one syllable that marked her beginnings of babbling.
Around 6 months of age babies make the jump from just cooing (saying vowel sounds) to producing consonant vowel combinations (ma, ba, da). And it is no coincidence that over the past two weeks she has mastered blowing raspberries. She has discovered that when she puts her lips together she can produce sounds (and gain an overly excited response from Mommy!). Now this “ma” utterance certainly wasn’t to gain my attention or point me out in the crowd, it was a “nonspecific” utterance. Meaning she didn’t know what she was saying. She won’t begin calling for me by name for a few more months.
And now that she is talking more I have noticed that she has gone from only looking at my eyes when we “converse” to looking at my eyes and my mouth. In fact there was some really interesting research I came across that suggests infants read lips. They not only depend on their hearing to replicate sound productions, but watch the speaker’s mouth as well. Check it out here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2012/01/17/baby-lip-read-talk.html?cmp=rss
So she is on her way. From her first smile, to her angelic coos, to her first sweet syllable, these are all communication stepping-stones to get to that first word. And don’t tell my husband but I’m going to be doing some coaching on that one ; )