I happened to overhear the mothers of some very young children talking about their kids starting to say their first words, and I got to wondering what the first words a baby might say are.

You would think that since mom really spends the most time with the baby, the first word they might say is “mama,” or something close. But the experts say 99 percent of the time, the first word a baby will say is “dada”.

Daddy might not even be there when it’s said, and mom might not be too thrilled and probably won’t want to admit it. It’s not because the baby likes daddy better. It’s just that “d” sounds are easier to form than “m” sounds.

Those first few words will usually come somewhere between 10 and 14 months, but even 18 months isn't all that unusual. By the time they’re 16 months old, most kids will have a small vocabulary; for girls it’s about 50 words, and for boys it’s 30 words. The boys seem to be about two to three months behind the girls.

Then, instead of individual words, the baby starts to string together brief sentences like “more juice” or “want ball.”

Once they start talking, the advice is to let them let you know what they want. Through words or even gestures, let them tell you they want more milk or juice or they want to play with the ball.

The online group Circle of Moms has listed the Top 15 first words that most babies say:

  • 1. Dad (or Dada, Daddy, Papa, etc.)
  • 2. Mom (or Mama, Mommy, etc.)
  • 3. Hi (or Hiya, Hey, Heya, Hello)
  • 4. Buba (or Bub or Baba)
  • 5. Dog (or Doggy, Puppy)
  • 6. Ball
  • 7. No
  • 8. Cat (or Kitty)
  • 9. Nana
  • 10. Bye
  • 11. Duck
  • 12. Ta (or Tata)
  • 13. Baby
  • 14. Uh oh
  • 15. Car

Missing from the list is probably “more”, “want” and “now”.

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