Babbling Stage in Babies: Definition & Explanation

Babbling Stage in Babies: Definition & Explanation
Coming up next: Parallel Play in Child Development: Definition & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Definition
  • 1:03 Purpose of Babbling
  • 1:53 How to Help Them Along
  • 2:25 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up


Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Stephanie Foley

Stephanie has a BA & MA iin psychology and has taught for 13 years.

This lesson will define the phase of speech learning in infants called 'babbling.' We'll also discuss the purpose of this cute stage, and how caregivers can help in the process.


'Blah, blah, la, la.' To an adult, these babbling noises are meaningless, but to an infant they are the beginnings of speech. These sounds are practice for what will eventually become words, phrases, and sentences full of meaning, thought, and emotion.

Babbling is the term for the second stage of speech development after the newborn stage of crying. Anyone who has been around a newborn knows they cry when they're hungry, cold, sick, or in need of changing. Some cry because they just want to be held. Babbling is the next step, when an infant aged about five months to one and a half years begins to make individual sounds like 'mamama' and 'bababa.'

Babblers make these easy sounds because they do not have teeth, which are necessary for making 'th' and 'sh' sounds. At this stage, babblers are also just starting to control their facial and tongue muscles. Ever wonder why the word for 'mother' in most language begins with the 'ma' sounds? Because it is one of the easiest sounds for babies to produce, and it is a pretty important word.

Purpose of Babbling

So what is the purpose of babbling? Babblers make eye contact while babbling and begin to assert their intentions and emotions. A frustrated 'baba' sound might mean 'I want my bottle NOW. I am starving.' They laugh and smile while babbling because something delights them. They pause and wait for their listeners to talk with them and engage them further. This rewards the babies' efforts because someone is listening to them, which makes them more likely to babble. They are also rewarded by the joy they sense from their mothers' facial expressions and behavior when they say 'mama' for the first time, a first word for most babies.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account