Communication and Your 4- to 7-Month-Old

Communication and Your 4- to 7-Month-Old

Your baby's range of sounds and facial expressions continues to grow, with lots of smiling, laughing, razzing, and babbling. Your baby is also imitating sounds, an important skill for learning to talk.

How Babies Communicate

Babies this age begin to experiment with the sounds they can make with their mouths. Your baby will spend more time babbling and is learning to imitate sounds. Make no mistake, these are your baby's early attempts at speaking and should be encouraged as much as possible.

If you listen closely, you'll hear your baby's voice raise and drop as if asking a question or making a statement. Your baby will also use sounds (other than crying) to get your attention and express feelings.

Your baby is just now beginning to understand the fundamentals of communication through language. When younger, your baby understood your meaning through the tone of your voice: soothing tones were comforting, agitated tones told him or her something was wrong.

Now, your baby is beginning to pick out the components of your speech and can hear and understand the different sounds you make and the way words form sentences. During this period babies learn to respond to their names, may pause when they hear "no," and will start to associate words with familiar objects.

What Should I Do?

Babies this age enjoy vocal games and interactions. Your baby will be thrilled when you copy his or her coos and babbles. Imitate your baby's "bah" and "ah-goo," then follow up by saying some simple words that contain the same sound.

Have "conversations" and wait for a pause in your baby's babble to "answer." The give-and-take of these early discussions will set the stage for those first real words and conversations in the months to come. Ask your baby questions, and respond enthusiastically to whatever answers you get.

Introduce your baby to simple words that apply to everyday life. Name familiar people, objects, and activities. Babies understand words long before they can say them, so use real words and cut back on baby talk.

When you talk to your baby, slow your speech and emphasize single words — for example, say: "Do you want a toy? This is your toy," as you show it to him or her. Then wait for a response. Following your speech with moments of silence will encourage your baby to vocalize and teach that conversation involves taking turns.

Should I Be Concerned?

By the end of the seventh month, babies usually:

Remember that there is a wide range of what's normal for babies. If you have concerns about your baby's language skills or hearing, talk to your doctor.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: October 2011





Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.





Bookmark and Share

Related Resources
OrganizationAmerican Speech-Language-Hearing Association This group provides services for professionals in audiology, speech-language pathology, and speech and hearing science, and advocates for people with communication disabilities.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
Web SiteZero to Three Zero to Three is a national nonprofit organization that promotes the health and development of infants and toddlers.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.
Related Articles
Sleep and Your 4- to 7-Month-Old By this age, your baby should be on the way toward an established sleep pattern, including several naps a day and at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep at night.
The Senses and Your 4- to 7-Month-Old Your baby is working on all five senses, understanding and anticipating more and more. How can you stimulate your baby's senses?
Movement, Coordination, and Your 4- to 7-Month-Old At this age, kids are learning to roll over, reach out to get what they want, and sit up. Provide a safe place to practice moving and lots of interesting objects to reach for.
Learning, Play, and Your 4- to 7-Month-Old Your infant will learn to sit during this time, and in the next few months will begin exploring by reaching out for objects, grasping and inspecting them.
Hearing Evaluation in Children Hearing problems can be treated if they're caught early, so it's important to get your child's hearing screened early and evaluated regularly.
Growth and Your 4- to 7-Month-Old Since your child's birth, the doctor has been recording his or her weight, length, and more - what's typical growth during this period?
Feeding Your 4- to 7-Month-Old At this age, chances are your baby is ready to try a few solid foods.
iGrow iGrow
Sign up for our parent enewsletter