How to Know When Do Babies Learn Their Names – And Why It Should Matter to You

I love it when my baby looks at me when I call her. Each time, I speak her name, she looks back at me like she wanted me to get her and that softens my heart.

But, there was a time when my baby did not even give me a glance when I started calling her name. She was focused on something else, and no matter how hard I try, she just would not look my way.

When do babies learn their names? It was the same question I asked before, and after knowing the answers, I am sharing it with you.


The Language Milestone

There are certain stages that babies will have to go through for their mental development. Most of these milestones happen right on time for a lot of babies. But there are also cases when it may start early or show signs after a few weeks.

  • 1-4 weeks – Your baby will start to recognize faces. They will first recognize their parents and start following the face when it is up close to their perspective. They will also begin to react to sudden sounds around them especially loud noises.
  • 4-6 weeks – Babies will recognize sounds. This is the best time to start talking to them. You can begin by asking questions that matter to them like “Do you want some milk?”
  • 2-3 months – He can understand what is going on around him. He loves it when you respond to his smile and he will add cooing sounds as if he is talking back to you.
  • ​4-7 months – Your baby will start learning his name. He will turn to the voices he hears. He is able to recognize faces of family members and will respond by turning to you when you talk to him. He will cry if you sound angry or laugh when you sound joyful and funny.
  • 8-12 months – Babies will understand simple requests like when you say “No” under certain circumstances. They will start doing actions and see if you approve of it or not. He will also associate certain words with actions like waving goodbye or clapping your hands.
  • 12-18 months – They will begin to say simple words. They can comprehend more words and understand what these words mean. They may even start to say the new words they learned.
  • 24 months – Your baby can use 2 to 3 words together in one sentence. They can say the names of people and things around them. They can identify the physical things associated to words you speak like hair, shoes and nose.
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Why it Matters?

Your role as parents can affect the overall development of your baby. What they see around them, how they perceive their environment and what they can receive influence their minds thus can make or break their progress. 

If they experience a stressful environment and are not able to receive aid in face recognition, development in identifying objects and faces will be delayed. On the contrary, a more positive experience can elicit better connection to things thus will supplement the mind with proper support.


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For instance, knowing when your baby will learn his name by the age of 7 months can give you an idea when to start speaking his name to aid in the recognition. You can prepare your baby for such as milestone with constant exposure to the repetition of his name so that he can associate the call with himself. Start as early as five months.  

Another reason to know the ages of your baby’s development is to have a guide when certain milestones need to happen. There are instances when your child already grows older, and you fail to recognize that he needs to start eating solid foods. If you fail to give him support during the right age, his development may slow down.

Risk of Children Not Hearing Their Names

There are cases, however, when babies do not respond to their name during a termed milestone. By the time your child is one year or older, and he still does not look back when called, he may be at risk for developmental disorders.

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According to the study by the UC Davis M.I.N.D., babies who fail to respond to their names may be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Autism is a developmental disorder where patients consistently manifest repeated behavior as well as show deficit in language and social development. Most children diagnosed with autism starts at the age of 3.

Researchers at the center highly recommend early detection for earlier intervention. When babies are identified with autism and other signs of developmental disorders, proper treatments can be applied to improve their bodies’ responses.

Children are tested at the age of 12 months and assessed based on their responses. When children fail to orient their names, further assessment follows, leading to possible treatments.

What You Can Do About It

Understanding that development should happen but did not take place will give you a warning sign of these risks on your baby. Use the milestone chart as a guide so you can expect when growth must happen.

If your baby fails to achieve a milestone, talk to your pediatrician about it. List down the signs that he has not responded to you so your doctor can properly provide assessment and treatments, if necessary.

Helping Your Baby

  • Make every action an opportunity to learn. If you are feeding him, try saying the word “spoon” pointing to the spoon on your hand. Only say the word so as not to confuse him with strings of words for one object.

Do Not Worry!

It may be scary to think that our baby can experience developmental delays or worst, disorders. However, it should not give us any reason to lose hope. Be on guard always on their milestones and show your love and support all the way.

I was worried when my baby did not respond to me after several times I called her. But, learning the developmental stages made me realize that it was a bit early for her to react to my call. I was relieved and continued to talk to her even without expecting any answer in return.

When did your baby learn his name? Tell me more about it!

Reference: http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Documents/Birth%20to%205%20development%20timeline.htm https://www.babycenter.com/0_developmental-milestones-understanding-words-behavior-and-co_6575.bc




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