Babies Want Baby Talk from Other Babies—Not Mom and Dad

posted: 05/17/18
by: Amanda Mushro
two babies talking


If you thought you had until your kids were teenagers before they tried to ditch you for their friends, turns out, even your baby prefers chatting up other babies more than their parents. Out of the mouth of babes--literally

According to a new study, after the age of five month, babies would rather communicate with other babies than listen to baby talk from adults, including their parents. Researchers used a specialized speech synthesizer to simulated human vowel vocal sounds, which mimic the early stages of talking--basically babbling or baby talk. With this synthesizer, they analyzed babies' responses to the sounds from babies their own age and from adult females, who were meant to mimic their mothers

What they found was the babies spent 40 percent longer listening to sounds from other infants than the recordings of adults making the same sounds.

"Access to infant speech, likely including a baby's own vocalizations, seems to have a broad and significant impact, influencing receptive, expressive and motivational aspects of speech development," said Linda Polka, a professor at McGill University. "Infants develop their understanding of spoken language -- what they bring innately and what is shaped by their experience as listeners and as 'talkers-in-training.'"

So should you cut the baby talk and just use "big words" and your regular voice? According to Polka, you shouldn't stop the high pitched babble when communicating with your little one because that is how you will keep their attention. "Infants' own vocalizations are quite potent; infant speech seems to capture and hold infant attention, sometimes prompting positive emotions. This may motivate infants to be vocally active and make it easier to evaluate their own vocalizations, perhaps energizing and supporting spoken language development," Polka said. So hearing you speak baby talk to them, helps to encourage their own language development.

Don't worry, Mamma, even if your baby prefers a good baby talk session with their baby friends, you are still they one they want to rock them to sleep and to kiss all of their boo boos.