Babble on Baby - Speech & Language Milestones 0-12 months

March 19, 2018 • by Sarah McDonnell

We are often met with surprise that we work with babies and their caregivers on communication development. There are critical milestones that we track to make sure that your baby is on track for developing speech and language along the expected continuum. Check out our list below which outlines some of the things we expect to see in your growing infant from ages 0 to 12 months. As always, if you are concerned regarding the growth and development of your child, talk with your primary care provider. If you have specific concerns regarding communication development in your infant, speak with one of our experienced pediatric speech-language pathologists!


  • Looks intently at a speaker
  • Listens to voices
  • Establishes eye contact with mother
  • Quiets when held and also quiets when hears human voice (1 month)
  • Makes going or gutteral sounds (2 months)
  • Visually searches for sounds (3 months)
  • Smiles spontaneously (1 month)
  • Turns when hears human voice (3 months)
  • Responds vocally to the speech of others (3 months)
  • Makes predominantly vowel sounds (3 months)
  • Coos single sound syllables (consonant vowel)
  • Vocalises to indicate pleasure and displeasure
  • Laughs, gurgles, squeals, cries, screams
  • Responds to familiar faces – visually discriminates different people and things and recognises mother (3 months)
  • Begins exploratory play – explores own body (3 months)


  • Reacts to sounds and turns his/her head to locate the sound
  • Looks in direction of person leaving the room
  • Smiles at notice of another baby
  • Anticipates being lifted
  • Laughs when played with
  • Discriminates different faces – joyful vs. angry
  • Babbles strings of consonants
  • Varies pitch and imitates tones
  • Smiles at person speaking to him/her


  • Visually follows a vanishing object
  • Is capable of a 3 hour visual memory
  • Explores objects by mouthing and touching
  • Reacts differently to smiling and scolding
  • Vocalises to toys
  • Discriminates angry and friendly voices
  • Responds to name
  • Smiles and vocalises to image in mirror
  • Imitates some sounds


  • Vocalises pleasure and displeasure and squeals with excitement
  • Varies volume, pitch and rate
  • Prefers people games such as “peek-a-boo”
  • Explores face of person holding him/her
  • Differentiates social responses
  • Looks and reaches smoothly and quickly
  • Inspects objects and reaches to grab dropped objects


  • Visually searches briefly for toy that disappears
  • Plays vocally
  • Imitates a physical act if in repertoire
  • Teases (beginning of humour)
  • Produces several sounds in one breath and listens to vocalisation of others


  • Recognises some words
  • Repeats emphasised syllable
  • Imitates gestures and tonal quality of adult speech; echolalia
  • Is clearly attached to mother
  • Shouts for attention
  • Explores shape, weight, texture, function and properties (e.g. in/out)
  • Prefers relatively complex toys


  • Explores other babies
  • “performs” for family and imitates play
  • Plays action games
  • Uses social gestures
  • Imitates coughs, hisses, clicks, raspberries
  • Anticipates outcome of events and return of persons
  • Uncovers object if observes act of hiding first


  • Displays moods
  • Helps dress and feed self
  • Imitates adult speech if sounds in repertoire
  • Obeys some commands
  • Points to body parts
  • Searches for a hidden object but usually in a familiar place


  • Seeks approval
  • Anticipates mother’s goal and tries to change it by protest or “persuasion”
  • Associates properties with objects
  • Imitates inflections, rhythms, facial expressions


  • Expresses people’s preferences
  • Expresses many different emotions
  • Searches in a location where an object was last seen
  • Uses common objects appropriately
  • Can reach while looking away
  • Recognises own name
  • Speaks one or more words
  • Follows simple motor instructions especially if accompanied by a visual cue (bye bye)
  • Reacts to “no” intonation
  • Practices words he/she knows

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