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Communication - What might my baby do?

Although communication is often considered to mean words and sentences, it also includes any and all ways that a baby lets us know what they need and how they are feeling. That can be done with facial expression, body language, crying, eye contact or sounds.

The following are guidelines, taken from a number of sources. They will help you know what to expect with your baby's communication development, and when to consider a referral to a speech language therapist. It does not include everything and it is important to remember that there is variation in children’s communication development.

Milestones for your infant at 0-3 months:

  • Cries, smiles, coos
  • Looks at faces
  • Quiets when picked up or comforted (most of the time)
  • Listens to voices

Milestones for your infant at 3-6 months:

  • Smiles and laughs
  • Cries when upset, and looks for comfort (ie: snuggles into your shoulder)
  • Shows excitement by waving their arms and legs
  • Likes to look at and be near people who are special and significant in their lives
  • Can be comforted (most of the time)

Milestones for your infant at 6-9 months:

  • Babbles (lots of different, playful sounds) using at least 4 different sounds
  • Laughs, giggles, gurgles and coos with familiar people
  • Reacts to loud, angry, and friendly voices
  • Turns and looks to new sounds
  • Makes sounds and babbles to get attention
  • Plays games like Peek-a-boo
  • May get upset if separated from a familiar person or people
  • Responds to their own name
  • Taps images of self in mirror
  • Loves to watch faces

Milestones for your infant at 9-11 months:

  • Tries to imitate sounds or facial movements (lip circle, sticking out tongue, etc.)
  • May say “mama” and/or “dada”
  • Shouts or vocalizes loudly to get attention
  • Babbling starts to sound like "real speech" – this is called jargon
  • Plays Peek-a-boo
  • Repeats a syllable or sequence of sounds often
  • Uses smiling and crying to indicate how they are feeling
  • Shows affection for special and significant people in their life
  • Trusts that their needs will be met (ie: crying will result in getting fed, etc.)

Red Flags

If your baby shows 2 or more of the following, contact the Infant Development Program or make a referral to a speech-language therapist to ensure your child is not having difficulties with developing communication skills:

  • Poor eye contact
  • Few or limited facial expressions
  • Little or no sharing or interest in playful interactions with a parent
  • Doesn’t respond to their name
  • Doesn't use gestures (pointing, waving, hi or bye, etc.)
  • Unusual voice quality or rhythm to their vocalizations
  • Doesn’t turn to sounds
  • Rarely comforted by their parent’s voice or touch
  • Says few sounds
  • Doesn’t have a large variety of sounds
  • Doesn’t copy sounds, facial expression or simple actions
  • Doesn’t let people know they want something using gestures, sounds, pointing or eye contact
If you have concerns about your child, please feel free to contact us to speak to a professional. You can also make a referral to our program at anytime.
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