Your baby's range of sounds and facial expressions continues to grow, with lots of smiling, laughing, and babbling. Your baby is also imitating sounds, an important skill for learning to talk. How Do Babies Communicate? Babies this age begin to experiment with the sounds they can make with their mouths. Your baby will spend more time babbling and is learning to imitate sounds. Make no mistake, these are your baby's early attempts at speaking and should be encouraged as much as possible. If you listen closely, you'll hear your baby's voice raise and drop as if asking a question or making a statement. Your baby will also use sounds (other than crying) to get your attention and express feelings. Your baby is just now beginning to understand the fundamentals of communication through language. When younger, your baby understood your meaning through the tone of your voice: soothing tones were comforting, agitated tones told him or her something was wrong. Now, your baby is beginning to pick out the components of your speech and can hear and understand the different sounds you make and the way words form sentences. During this period babies learn to respond to their names, may pause when they hear "no," and will start to associate words with familiar objects. What Should I Do? Babies this age enjoy vocal games and interactions. Your baby will be thrilled when you copy his or her coos and babbles. Imitate your baby's "bah" and "ah-goo," then follow up by saying some simple words that contain the same sound. Have "conversations" and wait for a pause in your baby's babble to "answer." The give-and-take of these early discussions will set the stage for those first real words and conversations in the months to come. Ask your baby questions, and respond enthusiastically to whatever answers you get. Introduce your baby to simple words that apply to everyday life. Name familiar people, objects, and activities. Babies understand words long before they can say them, so use real words and cut back on baby talk. When you talk to your baby, slow your speech and emphasize single words — for example, say: "Do you want a toy? This is your toy," as you show it to him or her. Then wait for a response. Following your speech with moments of silence will encourage your baby to vocalize and teach that conversation involves taking turns. When Should I Call the Doctor? By the end of the seventh month, babies usually: respond to their names respond to sounds by making their own babble repetitive consonants imitate sounds Remember that there is a wide range of what's normal for babies. If you have concerns about your baby's language skills or hearing, talk to your doctor. Back to Articles Related Articles Feeding Your 4- to 7-Month-Old Is your baby is ready for solid foods? Learn how and when to get started. Read More Learning, Play, and Your 4- to 7-Month-Old Your infant will learn to sit during this time, and in the next few months will begin exploring by reaching out for objects, grasping and inspecting them. Read More Your Baby's Hearing, Vision, and Other Senses: 4 Months Your baby is working on all five senses, understanding and anticipating more and more. How can you stimulate your baby's senses? Read More Your Baby's Growth: 4 Months Your baby is growing in many ways. Here's what to expect this month. Read More Movement, Coordination, and Your 4- to 7-Month-Old At this age, kids are learning to roll over, reach out to get what they want, and sit up. Provide a safe place to practice moving and lots of interesting objects to reach for. Read More Sleep and Your 4- to 7-Month-Old By this age, your baby should be on the way to having a regular sleep pattern, sleeping longer at night, and taking 2 or 3 naps during the day. Read More Hearing Evaluation in Children Hearing problems can be overcome if they're caught early, so it's important to get your child's hearing screened early and checked regularly. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.