Posted in Milestones & Development, Toddlers

17.5 month babbling, but no actual words

My son is nearing 18months now and babbles a lot (it sounds like he’s speaking in full sentences!), but he’s got no words. He’s also born 4 weeks early, if that still applies. Should I worry? The whole babbling in full sentences was a recent thing, so should I take that as he’s progressing? Possibly towards random words??? I, of course, talk to him ALL THE TIME. And I repeat words as I’m pointing to the subject. He’ll make a noise like he’s repeating my word, but it doesn’t sound like the word. For example I’ll say “dog dog” and he’ll say “wo wo”. Is that him trying? When I saw the doc for our 15month visit (or whenever it was) she had mentioned that my son should be saying at least 5 words soon, and if still nothing by 18months, we need to look into speech therapy... His 18months visit is coming soon!

  • Jenn
    Jun 21

    I am a speech therapist and we usually wait until 2, especially for boys because they have a higher tendency towards late talking. That being said, you can always get him evaluated and if they suggest he get services, it will only help. Also, if he is saying something like "wawa" for water and using it consistently, that is considered a word at his age. Does he say things like that?

  • Kendall
    Jun 21

    My doc said sounds (like woof woof) counts as words, and so does sign language. My doctor said she’d mostly be worried if they weren’t using their mouth muscles or voice AT ALL. Babbling is an amazing start and I think he’s on a good track if you can tell he’s trying. My son (literally) woke up from a nap one afternoon and was talking all of a sudden. It’ll click! Try not to worry, like every milestone, kids hit them at different times. Just keep encouraging words. I made sure I asked many questions and had him repeat the answers to me. “Are you hungry? Say- yes mama I’m hungry for crackers” and at first he’d only nod his head and say the mama part. Now he can say “yes crackers” and he keeps adding more and more.

  • K
    Jun 21

    Sounds are words. If he is saying the same sound every time. Write down all the sounds he makes for objects, include mama/dada or any other persons name. He may be saying a lot more than you realize. I had my son evaluated for speech when he was 18 mths, but he wasn’t given services until 2. We paid for private in between. Check for other signs like, drooling or over stuffing his food. It’s tricky, his cognitive understanding was very high, so when they evaluated him it pushed the score up too much. Same at 2, but bc he was evaluated at 18 mtgs and didn’t show enough progress they agreed to services. I feel like if it’s weighing on you, there is no harm in going for it. I’m a teacher and in my gut I knew something was going on by the time he was 16 mths. Good luck!

  • Momof1
    Jun 23

    Hi I had my son evaluated for delays at 18 months and he said 4 words at the time dada cheese hi and bye. He qualified for speech therapy so hopefully your son will too. In the three months he has been in speech therapy he has learned 20 words. I think it’s totally worth the money if you need to pay for it. Just see what your pediatrician recommends! Also google ASQ because that was the test we were given at early steps and if you do it yourself if has the scoring at the end so you can see if your little one is behind or not. Good luck!

  • Maureen
    Jun 24

    Our pediatrician referred us for “early intervention” at 18 months due to only one or two words being said. The process takes so long to get started so we were glad it started at 18 months and he started therapists at about 20 months. So glad, it’s helped tremendously.

  • Momof1
    Jun 24

    The same thing happened to me @Maureen. How many words can your son say now?