5 - 6 Months

Your 6-month-old’s language development

Baby sitting up on the floor

At 6 months, your baby’s expressive language is transitioning from those sweet early coos and delighted squeals to more experimental babbling. Expressive language is the collection of sounds or gestures your baby makes in their early attempts to communicate. 

Expressive language skills your baby may be working on

Chain babbling (‘babababa’ or ‘aaaaaaaah’) As your baby gets better at coordinating their lips, tongue, and jaw movements, you may hear a more consistent string of single-consonant and single-vowel sounds, such as ‘babababababa.’ You can encourage this by playfully smiling and responding with similar babbling sounds. This tells your baby that their attempts at communication are important and effective, and introduces them to the back-and-forth of conversation. (Typically starts at 4 to 6.5 months)

Babbling double consonants (‘baba’) Double-consonant babbles such as  ‘baba’ and ‘mama’ are an advanced skill requiring better breathing control and lip, jaw, and tongue coordination. Look for ways to incorporate real double-consonant words into conversations with your baby. For example, say ‘bye-bye’ as your dog goes out into the backyard. Or, imitate your baby’s babbling chains, but intentionally shorten them: if they say ‘bababababa,’ respond with ‘baba.’ (Typically starts at 5 to 8 months)

Babbling to people Around this age, your baby will begin to babble back and forth with you, almost like a real conversation. Respond to their babbles right away to encourage them. You can repeat their sounds or respond as though you know exactly what they’re saying: ‘Oh, really? I can’t believe it!’ All of this reinforces the idea that talking is social. (Typically starts at 5.5 to 6.5 months)

When to talk to your child’s doctor

Consult your child’s pediatrician if, at 6 months, your baby isn’t:

  • Making any sounds
  • Expressing some vocal form of happiness or frustration, such as laughing, grunting, and screaming 
  • Responding to changes in your tone of voice


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Posted in: 5 - 6 Months, 7 - 8 Months, Language, Communication, Speech Development, Babbling, Lovevery App, Child Development

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