The Language Leap From Ga-Ga to Mama

Month 11, Week 1

Many of the sounds your baby makes these days are repeated syllables like "ba-ba" or "ga-ga" -- advanced fare, compared to the coos and raspberries of months past.

She does her best to imitate your inflections, so what she's saying sounds more like normal speech than ever.

Encourage her by doing these things:

  • Get excited when she accidentally says a real word like "mama" or "dada." She'll want to say it again and again for additional praise. Around her first birthday, she'll start using these words properly to refer to you.
  • Say a single word to define something that your baby has pointed to. This boosts her vocabulary.
  • Describe objects around your home or pictures in books to help your baby learn more words. Reading every day also helps a lot.

Your Baby's Development This Week

Your baby is becoming more independent, partly because she's learned how to control her hands. Now she can eat or play with what she wants.

If your baby can't already do these things, she should within a few weeks:

  • Hold things with her thumb and forefinger: She no longer needs to clumsily rake items toward herself; she can pick up cereal Os or teethers with precision.
  • Poke objects with her index finger: She's handy enough to stick out a single finger, aim at something that interests her, and connect or put her finger into a hole.
  • Try to draw. Hand your baby a crayon, show her how to scribble on paper, and she'll attempt to create her first work of art. Non-toxic, larger crayons are available for easier grasping.

Also, be prepared for her to want to share your drink. She enjoys sipping from a cup.

Month 11, Week 1 Tips

  • Offer your baby age-appropriate toys with moving parts; she'll love moving large, wooden beads along wires and turning wheels on trucks.
  • A stack of blocks is irresistible to a baby. Leave some around and she may not only knock down towers, she may build them.
  • Repetition helps your baby learn, so read her favorite book twice or play "This Little Piggy" as long as she's giggling.
  • Imitation helps your baby learn proper uses for household items. Cheer when she places a phone to her ear or tries putting your shoes on her feet.
  • Your baby may not pronounce her first word properly. Praise her to show that you understand her, and then say the word correctly so she'll learn the right pronunciation.
  • It's OK if your baby relies on a security blanket for comfort. That's encouraged by many pediatricians because it can make bedtime easier.
  • Sing songs with your baby. Music can help the brain develop, and she can start to learn words from some of her favorite songs!
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on March 20, 2020



American Academy of Pediatrics: "Developmental Milestones: 12 Months."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Hand and Finger Skills."

Mayo Clinic: "Infant Development: Milestones from 10 to 12 Months."

WebMD: "Baby's First Year."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Language Development: 8 to 12 Months."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Transitional Objects."

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Get Pregnancy & Parenting Tips In Your Inbox

Doctor-approved information to keep you and your family healthy and happy.

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the WebMD Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of WebMD subscriptions at any time.