When Do Kids Say Mama? (Quick Answer!)

By KidSpaceStuff •  Updated: 06/14/24 •  6 min read

The sweet sound of a baby’s first words is a milestone eagerly anticipated by every parent. There’s a mixture of pride, excitement, and deep emotion when those first syllables are uttered, especially when they are “mama” or “dada.” When exactly do these endearing terms debut in a child’s vocabulary? It’s a question on many new parents’ minds, often filled with equal parts curiosity and impatience.

In this article, I’ll delve deep into the developmental stages of speech and explore the timeline of when most kids start saying “mama.” Let’s dive in!

Now, When Do Kids Say Mama?

Mom and her daughter's relationship is depicted in a photo.

By the time they are 12 months old, most babies can say “mama” and “dada” correctly.

Every child develops at their own pace, but it’s generally expected that by 12 to 15 months, babies will have started to vocalize words like “mama” or “dada.” If this milestone isn’t reached by then, it’s recommended to discuss it with a pediatrician.

Early Language Development in Babies

Early language development in babies is a fascinating process where they begin to understand and produce sounds that lead to speech. It all starts with a newborn’s cry, their first form of communication. As weeks go by, they start cooing and making gurgling sounds. Around six months, you might hear them babble, repeating sounds like “ba-ba” or “da-da.” This is their way of playing with sounds and preparing for actual words. 

When they’re 9 to 12 months old, many babies can say simple words like “mama” or “dada.” They also understand familiar terms and can respond to simple requests like “come here.” During this time, they’re not just learning to speak but also listening and understanding a lot from their surroundings.

Factors Influencing a Baby’s First Words

A kid’s first words are a significant milestone, and several factors influence when and what these words might be:

  1. Environment: If a child often hears certain words, they’re more likely to repeat them. So, a baby in a house with a dog might say “dog” sooner than a child without one.
  2. Family Interaction: Babies learn by imitation. If family members talk, sing, or read to them regularly, they might speak earlier and have a more expansive vocabulary.
  3. Emotional Connection: Kids often pick up words that have strong emotional ties. That’s why “mama” and “dada” are common first words – they represent the primary caregivers.
  4. Physical Development: Speaking requires coordination of lips, tongue, and breath. Some babies develop these motor skills faster and might start talking earlier.
  5. Temperament: Some kids are naturally more talkative, while others prefer observing. Chatty kids might try to say words sooner.
  6. Exposure to Multiple Languages: Kids growing up in bilingual homes might speak a bit later, but they’re learning two languages simultaneously, which is an excellent advantage in the long run.

The Typical Age Range for Saying “Mama”

The typical age range for kids to start saying “mama” is 8 to 12 months. Babies begin experimenting with sounds at this stage, leading them to voice simple words. While some might say “mama” a bit earlier and others a bit later. 

Many will have “mama” as part of their tiny vocabulary by the time they reach their first birthday. However, it’s essential to remember that every child is different, and the exact timing can vary based on individual development.

Here’s a great video showing how you can teach your baby to say mama or dada!

How to Encourage Your Baby to Say “Mama”

Encouraging your baby to say “mama” involves creating a positive and interactive environment. Here’s a simple guide:

#1: Talk to Them Often 

The more you speak to your baby, the more they hear words and sounds, helping them imitate you.

#2: Make Eye Contact 

When speaking, look into your baby’s eyes. It helps them focus on your words and lip movements.

#3: Repeat Words 

Saying “mama” frequently and clearly can help your baby pick it up faster.

#4: React Positively 

When your baby tries to speak or makes sounds, respond with excitement and praise. This positive reinforcement encourages them to try again.

#5: Use Gestures 

Pointing at yourself and saying “mama” can help your baby associate the word with you.

#6: Sing Songs 

Babies love music. Singing songs that include “mama” can make learning the word fun for them.

#7: Read Together 

Even if they can’t understand the story, reading exposes them to more words and sounds.

What to Do If Your Child Isn’t Saying “Mama” Yet

If your child isn’t saying “mama” yet, it’s essential to approach the situation with understanding and patience. Here’s a straightforward guide on what to do:

Final Thoughts

To conclude, most kids can correctly say “mama” and “dada” by the age of 12 months.

The anticipation of hearing a child’s first words, especially the heartwarming “mama,” is a cherished moment in parenting. While many kids tend to vocalize this between 8 to 12 months, it’s essential to remember that every child’s development is unique. Factors ranging from their environment, emotional connections to individual temperament can influence when they say their first words. 

However, the beauty lies in the timeline and the journey itself. It’s a testament to the growth and bond between the child and parent. Celebrating every little milestone, providing a supportive environment, and remembering to be patient will make the experience all the more rewarding. Thanks for reading!