Decoding Baby's Funny Little Noises and Sounds
Your child doesn't talk yet -- but she does have a language of her own. We'll tell you what she's communicating with her funny little noises and sounds.
Babies cry. A lot. After all, it's the best way they have to communicate with you. But between the wails, you've probably noticed your infant trying out other noises. In fact, your baby will actually make a range of sounds in her first year-- from the delightful to the downright strange.
"Babies are very social," says Prachi Shah, M.D., a developmental pediatrician at Texas Children's Hospital, in Houston. "Making different sounds is their way of connecting with you and telling you what they want and need." Those sometimes-wacky noises are also a sign that your baby is developing the skills required to get ready to talk. But what do her sounds mean? Our cheat sheet will help you decode her communication.
These high-pitched noises will get your attention every time. Squealing usually means your little one is delighted (like during a game of peekaboo), but it can also indicate that he isn't thrilled think: the shriek he unleashes when you cut his nails). So if the squealing doesn't stop, make sure he's not in any discomfort.
To encourage your baby's newfound ability, you don't have to squeal yourself. It's more helpful to respond to what's inspiring his excitement: "Wow, you love it when Mommy blows bubbles." He can't totally understand what you're saying yet, but he can pick up on your tone and notice your facial expressions. This kind of back and forth is one of the best ways to boost your baby's language development, says Prachi Shah, M.D., a developmental pediatrician at Texas Children's Hospital, in Houston. Using vocabulary to describe what your baby is experiencing will help him pick up words, understand his feelings, and learn the rhythms of conversation.
You might initially hear this guttural noise when your baby is having a bowel movement, but she may also do it at other times to relieve tension or to express frustration or boredom. As your baby grows, her grunts may become demands. "Toward the end of the first year, your baby will grunt, with or without pointing, to indicate that she wants something she doesn't have the words for yet," says Roberta Golinkoff, Ph.D., professor of education, psychology, and linguistics at the University of Delaware in Newark. Pay close attention when you suspect that your infant's not just letting off steam. If she sees that you respond to her requests, she'll understand that language can equal action.
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