Q&A: 9 Month Old Not Babbling

CME WebsitesChild Development, Infants 3 - 12 Months

blockquote_bgMy 9 1/2 month old does not babble at all. I am a speech therapist myself (I treat adults) and I am concerned. I read to her daily and sing songs and play pat a cake, itsy spider, etc., as well as say mama dada baba during diaper changes for face-to-face time. She is almost crawling and is just starting to pull herself onto furniture. I do use a little sign language, i.e., all done, more, eat, drink and bath. Her hearing is intact with only 1 ear infection and she knows my voice from the other room and hears the smallest sound and turns her head. My pregnancy and birth were unremarkable. We have initiated table food and it is going well. Her growth is normal on the curve and has remained consistent. The only thing I can think of is my babysitter (I work 3 days a week) speaks to her in Swedish during the day and a little in English. Could this be confusing her? She is a happy baby but I notice she cries when frustrated instead of babbling.

You may wish to read our article on Early Bilingualism at this link.

Most babies are babbling double consonant-vowels by 8-9 months. Is she cooing open vowels and squealing or expressing her emotions vocally even though she is not yet babbling? It’s important that even though you haven’t heard mama, dada yet that she is responding vocally in a social manner with you and other caregivers. If she is currently working on mastering crawling and pulling to stand, her motor energy may all be going toward those skills and she may be in a quieter phase until she masters those skills. It certainly sounds like you’re doing all the important things to encourage language (use of signs, reading, singing, finger plays, etc). Since she has only had one ear infection and you see her being responsive to sound and voices, it sounds like hearing is not a concern (you could always go through with a hearing test just to rule it out all together). You know your daughter best and we never see parent concerns as over-reacting, so just for piece of mind you may wish to seek an early intervention evaluation just to be sure everything is on target. You can also look at the early speech milestones on our web page here.