0 - 12 Weeks

4 ways to encourage your baby’s first coos

Baby laying on the floor

Your baby’s earliest forms of communication are crying, eye contact, and smiles. Then, between 2 and 4 months of age, they may begin to coo ❤️ 

What exactly counts as a ‘coo’?

A typical coo consists of a single-syllable, open-vowel sound like ‘ahh’ or ‘ohh.’ These sounds require no rounding of the lips. 

After a couple of months, your baby’s sounds will progress to closed-vowel sounds, such as ‘oooo’ or ‘eeee,’ where the mouth is not as wide or open.

As your baby becomes more proficient at cooing and their jaw, tongue, and lip control improve, they will likely progress to diphthongs, which are vowels that go from one sound to another, such as ‘ahh-ooh.’

4 ways to encourage cooing

  1. Help them form new sounds. Allow your baby to mouth safe objects and their hands. This allows them to map their mouth and strengthen their jaws and lips, which all aid in language development.
  2. Respond to their sounds. Mimicking your baby’s sounds is one of the most effective ways to promote early language skills. Make eye contact, smile, and imitate your baby when they start cooing. They will be more motivated to continue ‘talking’ if they get a consistent response.
  3. Lead the conversation. Sit face to face with your baby and make a sound like ‘ahh’ or ‘ohh.’ If they make their own sound, repeat it and add another sound. Be sure to exaggerate your lip movements and use a high-pitched tone. If your baby watches you with interest, pause for a few seconds to see if they respond with another coo or smile. Diaper changes and bath time are great opportunities to practice this.
  4. Look into their eyes. Research shows that babies make more vocalizations when they gaze into an adult’s eyes. Watch your baby’s cues—some babies can get overwhelmed by extended eye contact. At this age, your baby’s attention may just last a minute or two.  

Read more about your baby’s development at this age in ‘What is my baby’s brain working on at 11 weeks old?’

Learn more about the research

Leong, V., Byrne, E., Clackson, K., Georgieva, S., Lam, S., & Wass, S. (2017). Speaker gaze increases information coupling between infant and adult brains. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(50), 13290-13295. 


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Posted in: 0 - 12 Weeks, 3 - 4 Months, Language, Communication, Speech Development, Social Emotional, Babbling, Lovevery App, Child Development

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