It’s impossible to predict exactly what Baby’s first words are going to be, but that may not stop you and your partner from placing bets. There are a lot of factors that go into Baby‘s first words, though, from the very obvious to the less obvious, that contribute to what those very first words might be. Having an idea of what those factors are might give your bet on Baby‘s first words a better chance than your partner’s. Sucker.
Baby is more likely to say words that they have heard before, right? Chances are, they isn’t going to come up with “antidisestablishmentarianism” on their own. Words that they hear a lot have an even better chance of making the cut – words like ‘mama,’ ‘dada,’ and the family dog’s name might come up a lot, so they’re going to be in their head more often. Other words they hear a lot, like names of their favorite foods or toys, or colors or animals that are identified in a favorite picture book have a pretty good shot as well.
One of the other more obvious factors is that Baby has never spoken before, so they are more likely to start with smaller words, before graduating up into the multisyllabic ones. And remember, this isn’t a task-oriented process for Baby – they isn’t just going for a word they can say, it’s got to be a word they wants to say, so the things they love have a good shot, too, whether that’s balls, bubbles, green beans, or garbage trucks.
Babies like repeating sounds. It’s probably no coincidence that ‘kiddie’ words include a lot of repeating consonants, so not just ‘mama,’ and ‘dada,’ but also things like ‘kitty-cat,’ and ‘puppy’ are options on Baby’s menu of words Baby could choose from.
Some babies prefer to start with hard, definitive consonants, so Baby might get to ‘dada’ a bit sooner than ‘mama.’ On the other hand though, some babies use their fixation on faces to learn sounds that are really visible when watching you talk, like ‘m’ and ‘p,’ so Baby could pop out with one of those, as well!
Baby is a wild-card, so there’s no way to know what they will say first, and when, but now you’re armed to take a pretty educated guess. Baby’s biggest influence is you, even if what that influence will be is also unpredictable, so go forth and have a conversation with your pre-verbal infant! You never know what they are taking in just to store up and say back to you later.