The Benefits of Baby Talk
Paula Kikkebusch Laboe may be a grown woman, but she's spent plenty of time talking like a baby. That's because the Chicago mom has had four babies in the past five years. "I've cooed and sung to each one. I can't help it," she says.
That makes sense, say experts. It's instinct that makes a mom talk that way, and it's good for her baby.
She responds best to high-pitched, singsong-y voices. When you find yourself saying, "Hewwo my pwetty wittle girl!" you're grabbing your baby's attention and at the same time teaching her about sounds, intonation, and human interaction.
Some moms worry that all this baby talk -- sometimes called "motherese" -- will keep their little one from learning proper speech. But it's not until your baby starts to say her first words (when she's at least a year old) that you need to think about cutting back on the cooing and introducing more natural-sounding language.
What if baby sounds don't roll easily off your tongue? Don't sweat it. "The point is to talk," says Miller Shivers, a postdoctoral psychology fellow at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
So tell your baby about your plans for the day, what's for dinner, whatever feels comfortable.