Toward the end of the first year, your baby will begin communicating what he/she wants by pointing, crawling, or reaching for things. This communication is only temporary until your baby learns how to say words and put them together in phrases and sentences. Your baby may begin saying things like “ba”, “da”, “ga” and “ma”.

For example, when your baby says “ma” you get excited. Baby sees this behavior as a reason to continue saying it. When your baby is finally able to say “mama”, he/she will like the attention and reaction that she gets from those around her and will most likely repeat it. She/he will begin to master certain small words and then repeat them throughout the day to practice.

Even though you have been talking to your baby since baby was born, she now understands more language. So, keep talking to your baby as much as possible and always tell her what is going on around her. Try to stay consistent with what you call things around your baby so it doesn’t get confusing. For example, if you call your cat, “cat” one day, make sure you don’t call it “kitty” tomorrow.

The more you respond to your baby as if he/she were speaking your language perfectly, the more you will increase his/her urge to communicate!

Source: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, 6th Edition: Birth to Age 5 (American Academy of Pediatrics)