Literacy, Little Kids

Baby Talk: From First Sounds to First Words (Language Development)


The Language Development in Babies:

Stages of Language Development in Babies

Babies are amazing little people! They communicate with their parents and caregivers the moment they are born into this world. Their cries, goos, giggles, and babbles are all ways of communicating their needs and feelings. As parents, we are concerned if our babies are hitting their language milestones. We are also interested in knowing the stages of their language development. I would like to share with you a video from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Developmental Milestones: Baby Talk From First Sounds to First Words talks about the language development of a child from birth to 12 months. 


Stage 1: Phonation Stage (0-2 Months) 

At this stage, we hear vowels and consonants of your native language. This is also the stage where babies develop differentiated crying (different sounds of crying). Differentiated crying lets us know that babies want to communicate different needs. Differentiated crying also helps us figure out what’s going on with the baby. At this stage, your baby can already recognize your voice and respond with a smile. There are also increases or decreases in sucking behavior in response to different sounds. This is why it is so very important to speak to your baby.

Stage 2: Goo Stage (2-3 Months)

We start to hear the typical cooing and gooing. When we hear these sounds, it says to us that baby’s hearing is okay and he or she is starting to recognize the sounds of his/ her language. Do you know that babies are born with the ability to say all the sounds of all the languages? This is why it is so much easier to learn a foreign language when you are young!

Stage 3: Expansion Stage (4-6 Months)

Babbling starts to sound more speech-like. They are laughing and vocalizing their excitement (and displeasure). Babies move their eyes to the direction of sounds, they’re watching conversations, and they’re starting to listen to music with a different kind of purpose.

Stage 4: Canonical Stage (7-10 Months)

My second son is at this stage! Babbling has both long and short groups of sounds. They’re using non-crying sounds to get and keep your attention. You will notice your baby cough to get your attention. They’re using gestures to communicate and they’re imitating many different speech sounds. This is the best time to teach PEEK-A-BOO to teach the rhythm of conversation. They’re beginning to respond to simple requests. They’re also recognizing words for common objects.

Stage 5: Variegated Babbling (11-12 Months)

We’re hearing very variegated gibberish that has the rhythms and patterns of speech. You’d almost think they are really talking as if they’re speaking a foreign language! Finally, around the very first birthday, your baby has one or two words, although it might take a little while before the sounds become really clear.

“Oh no! My baby is not hitting his/ her milestone!”

If you are worried that your child is not hitting these language milestones, you are not alone! In fact, I could not help but compare my eldest son (Leon) to my youngest son (Lucas). At nine months old, Leon was already saying words such as “mama”, “papa” and “dede”. Lucas can say “mama” at nine months. But I should not worry! Remember that every baby is different!

Have you read the story “Leo the Late Bloomer”? It is about a baby lion who isn’t speaking or doing many things. But when he was ready, wow! He could do so many amazing things!
Leo the Late Bloomer
Speech-language pathologist Nancy Tarshis says that some will hit their milestones early, some a little bit later, while some will be right on time. If your baby seems to be lagging behind, you should talk to your pediatrician and ask whether she recommends a referral to the speech pathologist.


“What can I do to encourage my baby to talk?”

In the meantime, talk to your baby as much as you can! In my family, we also like to read books to Leon and Lucas. Since I am raising my kids to be trilingual, my husband and I read books in English, Filipino, and Italian. It is also helpful to point to the picture in the books and talk about them. This activity helps develop critical thinking and increases knowledge of words and ideas.

Bedtime Book Recommendations (Click to buy on Amazon):

llama llama red pajama

goodnight moon

the going to bed book

I hope you enjoyed reading this article! Please like my Facebook Page or add me on Instagram if you like reading more posts on literacy or if you’d like to get to know my little kids!

What are your thoughts on this article? I would love to hear your opinions. Please share your thoughts in the comments section!

Read Next: How Do You Study A Foreign Language?

Lucy At Home

beauty, Featured Women, Health, Lifestyle, Literacy

5 Steps To Take Care Of Your Skin

What’s The Skinny on Skin Care?

This article shares 5 Skincare Steps to have healthy and beautiful skin, as recommended by a dermatologist. Keep reading to know how to take care of your baby’s skin as well as acne-prone skin. I was able to get in touch with Dr. Cricelda Rescober- Valencia, a dermatologist certified by The Philippine Dermatological Society, and she agreed to share a few tips on skin care. Again, it is best to consult a dermatologist in person! This post has useful information for how to take care of skin in general.


Dr. Valencia

Dr. Cricelda Rescober-Valencia has been in private practice for more than five years and has pursued further studies in dermatologic laser in Thailand a few years ago.

Tell us about your interests.

I have always been fascinated by the study of skin, with it being the largest organ of the body. My other interests include dancing (especially hip-hop), dogs, and food!

Dr. Valencia


Tell us about your family.

My husband, Nikko, is an ophthalmologist with focus on vitreo-retina surgery and refractive surgery. We have only been married for a month when we were blessed with a son, Nathan, who is now 5 months old.

Valencia Family


What are you like as a mom?

Since I am a first-time mom, I am learning day by day. It was difficult at first with the endless diaper changing, sleepless nights and scratching my head trying to decode what my baby’s cries meant. But being hands-on with Nathan made us closer, bringing me immense joy I did not think was possible.

Cricelda Rescober Valencia

Can you share some tips on how to take care of our babies’ skin?

tips for taking care of baby's skin

The baby’s skin is thinner and more sensitive than our skin. Because of the great surface area-body mass ratio in infants, they are at an increased risk for systemic toxicity from topically applied drugs. That is why it’s best to consult your dermatologist when it comes to treating your baby’s skin woes. Bathing with plain lukewarm water for a short time (around 5-10 mins) followed by application of an unscented simple emollient or lotion is advised to keep their skin healthy. Sometimes, well-meaning parents bathe their babies frequently which may increase the risk of eczema. Always remember that dry skin always itches.

Valencia Family

How can we take care of acne-prone skin?

For acne-prone skin, it is best to consult your friendly dermatologist so he or she can recommend a regimen for you. Overcleansing or using harsh alkaline soaps will likely increase your skin’s pH, disrupting its protective barrier, making it more prone to inflammation. Twice a day cleansing is enough. Also, acne is not always due to stress or puberty. It may also be because of an underlying endocrinologic disorder, drug intake or even your occupation.

How To Take Care of Skin


Can you share a skin care routine that you recommend to your patients?

skin care tips for moms

To keep your skin healthy, cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize and protect.

    1. Wash your face with a ph-balanced cleanser twice a day.
    2. Never go to sleep with your make up on. Always remove your makeup!
    3. Exfoliate with a mechanical (beads, scrubs) or chemical exfoliator twice a week to remove dead skin cells and unclog your pores.
    4. Apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer, more so at night.
    5. Lastly, put on a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and more at least 15 minutes before you head outdoors to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Get one that says broad spectrum so you have ammunition against UVA and UVB. Aging is mostly because of the sun so start to delay the development of wrinkles as early as you can. For skin, hair or nail concerns, consult with a dermatologist that is board-certified by the Philippine Dermatological Society.

Dr. Valencia

Thank you so much, Dr. Valencia! 

Do you have a tried-and-tested skin care routine? Tell me about it in the comments section!

By the way, if you are looking for an Instant Beauty Tool on your phone, check out How To Get Smooth Skin with Instasize!



Read Next: Makeup Tips For Busy Moms

Lucy At Home

vaccines are safe
health, Literacy, Little Kids

What Every Parent Needs to Know About Vaccines

Are Vaccines Safe For Your Children?

vaccines are safe

Do you feel unsure about the safety of vaccines?  Are you worried that vaccines may cause serious side effects? Maybe you are pro-vaccine but you do not know what to say to “anti-vaxxers”. Then, this article is for you!

Read this article to know:

  1. Why immunization is one of the most important ways to keep your child healthy and
  2. What to say to those who are unsure about the safety of vaccines

Interview With A Vaccines Expert

To help us better understand vaccine safety, I interviewed public health physician and vaccinologist Dr. Melvin Sanicas about this issue.  Dr. Sanicas is a medical doctor and vaccinologist. He finished his medical degree from the Philippines and did further studies in Infectious Diseases in London. He also studied Vaccinology and Clinical Development in Italy.

Dr. Melvin Sanicas

Why are vaccines getting a bad reputation?

Despite being one of the most successful public health measures (in fact, second only to safe drinking water), there are those who perceive vaccines as unsafe or unnecessary or both by different groups. Vaccines are victims of their own success.

Why are vaccines “victims of their own success”?

They have been so effective in fighting diseases. Most parents today have never seen or heard of a case of smallpox, polio, measles, rubella. These diseases have become so rare that people are not aware of them. Out of sight, out of mind. We rarely see people infected with these diseases. We think they no longer exist. That is why we judge vaccines differently.

Why do some people view vaccines negatively?

Past experiences with health services, family histories, and feelings of control.  There are people who do not the government to tell them to do things like getting vaccinated.

Why do vaccines deserve better press?

People focus more on the adverse events (like pain, swelling, fever). We think we do not need our kids to experience these adverse events because the diseases are not there. Also, the media likes to talk about the “negative side” of vaccination. We do not hear about the millions of children protected from polio in the news, but we hear about 1 child who was “allegedly” harmed by the vaccine. Media likes to sensationalize only one side. This is doing more harm than good and devalues vaccines.



What does science actually tell us about vaccines?

The science is clear- vaccines are safe and effective. Vaccines routinely recommended today provide high levels of protection against targeted diseases. Please look at this table. It clearly shows the impact of vaccines (in the US). This is in terms of numbers of reported cases and deaths associated with the disease before and after the vaccination is introduced.

In all the other countries with good surveillance, the same is true – once the vaccine is introduced and properly used, the disease incidence goes down. As with any other medicine, there are some adverse events. But the benefits of vaccines greatly outweigh their risks.

What’s the real deal behind the concerns on the dengue vaccine?  

The vaccine is approved in many countries in Asia and Latin America. Philippines and Brazil are the only 2 countries where the vaccine is in the national immunization program. The Philippines made headlines with public outrage and a suspension of the vaccine programme, as well as threats to sue the manufacturer. Brazil has stood by scientific evidence and, recognizing that the vaccine still has benefits stressing the high effectiveness and safety of the vaccine for those who already had Dengue.

More Information about the Dengue Vaccine

I can share with you this article from an external vaccine and public health expert Professor Heidi Larson from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, my alma mater.

To those who want to know more, they may read this Q&A from the WHO. It is lengthy but to summarize, the WHO acknowledges that in high seroprevalence settings (places where a high number of people have had dengue), the vaccine can have significant benefits.

However, until a full review is conducted, WHO recommends vaccination only in people who were infected with dengue in the past (by a diagnostic test or by a documented medical history).


How can doctors convince parents that vaccines are safe?

Firstly, to effectively communicate with parents, doctors must first understand the concerns.  Have an open, non-confrontational dialogue to provide clear and easily comprehensible answers about known vaccine adverse events. Provide accurate information about vaccination.

Second, it is important to highlight the long track record of safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Stress the number of lives saved by immunization, as a positive approach, rather than focusing on the number of deaths from not immunizing.

Parents should be made aware that unvaccinated children are at increased risk of acquiring disease and transmitting these diseases to other children. For example, parts of Europe and some states in the US have seen outbreaks of measles as some parents are refusing measles vaccines for their children.

What is the best way to communicate these facts to all parents?

There are different kinds of parents:

    1. The uninformed but want to be informed
    2. The misinformed but correctable
    3. The well-read and open-minded
    4. The convinced and content, or
    5. The pure anti-vaccine / anti-science / anti-government.

Regardless of the kind of parent, ALL parents want to do what is best for their child, even those who are vaccine-hesitant.

Everyone has a different style of communication. I believe that it is best to be straightforward, honest, and simple. Tell the parents what we know and what we do not know.

Why do we need to correct anti-vaccine myths?

Science is a very interesting field because we do not know everything but we constantly learn something new. Doctors need to be patient, as correcting anti-vaccine myths and changing parent attitudes do not happen overnight.

Why do we always need to check the facts?

I have previously written about fake news and the need for everyone to speak up for scientific facts. We all agree that there is so much misinformation on the internet. With anything we read, check the facts! There are free, fact-checking organizations like or Trust only verified and credible websites.

Thank you, Dr. Melvin Sanicas!

Read Dr. Sanicas’s recent article: Vaccines Don’t Overload Children’s Immune Systems

Continue reading “What Every Parent Needs to Know About Vaccines”