SHOULD I BE WOR­RIED?

Parents (USA) - - Kids-News + Ideas -

My 11-month-old isn’t bab­bling yet and only screams to com­mu­ni­cate. Is some­thing wrong?

It’s prob­a­bly fine, but you are smart to be con­cerned, and you should tell your pe­di­a­tri­cian. Ba­bies this age typ­i­cally make a va­ri­ety of sounds (ba, da, ga, ma) and com­bine those into longer strings (dadada, ma­mama). Your baby should also re­spond vo­cally when you talk to him (“Are you hun­gry?” “Ga!”) and un­der­stand so­cial ex­changes like wav­ing good­bye or blow­ing a kiss. “If your baby isn’t bab­bling, it could be caused by a tongue-tie, an oral-mo­tor weak­ness, or poor hear­ing,” says Tara Bren­nan, Psy.d., di­rec­tor of the Child De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram at Chil­dren’s Na­tional Health Sys­tem, in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Your doc­tor may test your baby’s hear­ing or re­fer him to a spe­cial­ist for a devel­op­men­tal eval­u­a­tion.

Talk to your baby through­out the day by em­pha­siz­ing and elon­gat­ing cer­tain words, com­ment­ing on his rou­tine, and nar­rat­ing your ac­tions (“Are you ready for your baaaath? It’s time to wash your belly!”). If he doesn’t talk back, he can still take in your so­cial in­ter­ac­tions, says Dr. Bren­nan. And try to avoid hav­ing a TV on in the back­ground if you’re not watch­ing it. Adults tend not to talk to their child as much as when it’s off al­to­gether.

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