SHOULD I BE WORRIED?
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.