Language milestones for babies: Birth – 3 Years

Written by: Jennifer Fantich, M.A., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

If you have been following along on our Instagram page, you have probably seen the IGTV videos we have recorded that discuss language milestones for babies and children from birth-3 years of age.

As speech-language pathologists, we are often asked by parents, “when should be my baby start talking?” There are several ways to answer this question, but parents should know that before your baby is talking in full sentences, they are communicating with you through eye contact, babbling and gesturing.

Take a look at the tables below, which summarize what you should be looking for and/or expecting to see in your little one when it comes to language development at these ages.

Birth-1 year:

Coos, babbles, laughs
Has joint attention
Reflexive smile
Follows sounds with eyes/can turn to locate where a sound is coming from
By 1 year, may imitate speech sounds/words (mama, dada, baba)

1-2 years:

Points to pictures in books
Follows simple directions/points to body parts
Puts 2 words together in phrases (more baba, bye-bye, mama go, dad car)
Acquires (new) words at a fast rate
Understands simple questions (where is your shoe?)
Uses consonant sounds: p,b,m,n,t,d

2-3 years:

Uses 2-3 words together in simple sentences
Understands basic ‘wh’ questions
Names common objects
Asks ‘why’
Wants to show/tell others what interests them.

If you’re not already, follow us on Instagram (@smalltalkspeechmi) to stay up-to-date on our IGTV videos which highlight language milestones for children, speech activities, fun therapy games and more!