What Are the Signs a Baby Knows Their Name?

Your baby responding to their name is something that you look forward to. You spend months, if not years searching for the right name, and a lot of thought goes into naming your baby. It is no wonder that when they are finally here, you start wondering whether they know the name you gave them.

If you follow a first-year developmental milestone guide, you know that this is a milestone you should expect and are looking forward to. It is a big step for both your baby and you.

When do babies recognize their names?

Babies recognize their names at four months. However, the average time is usually six to seven months, though some may cross this milestone at nine months.

By the time your baby learns to recognize their name, they go through several milestones, which start by recognizing sound. Babies develop hearing in the womb by week 18, and by week 24, they are more sensitive to sound. By the third trimester, your baby already knows your voice and will respond to it as an infant.

At 6 months, your baby can put sounds together and use these sounds to let you know what they are feeling. They are also able to match sounds with objects. So, when you say “cup”, they know what it is even if they cannot say it yet.

This is a big step toward their cognitive and language development. Not only that, but learning their name also forms the foundation for self-awareness. Signs a baby knows their name Infants already know the sound of your voice by the time they are born and will respond to a mother’s voice when they hear it. They develop receptive language first, which is how they understand how language is formed. This means they understand the sound their name makes before they know it refers to them.

There are several cues that babies give that help you know they recognize their names.

● Turn toward you when called. Your baby’s body language will be your first cue whether they know their name. As mentioned, by four months, your baby is already turning toward sounds. By six months, they may be able to recognize the sounds their name makes.
● Makes sounds when you call them. With time, babies start to make cooing sounds as their way to communicate with you. This becomes more evident the older they grow.
● Smile when they hear their name.
● They stop what they are doing and look at you.

Steps to help your baby know their name.

There are several steps you can take to help your child recognize their name.
● Talk to them. A child can recognize your tone from when they are in the womb. In fact, by month seven or eight, your baby’s heart rate slows down in the womb when they hear your voice. This just shows how important it is to talk to your baby. When you talk to them, use their name repeatedly to help them familiarize themselves with their name. Babies learn through repetition. This will help them learn to recognize the sounds their name makes.
● Call their name and emphasize it. Studies have shown that emphasizing a word can help a child recognize it better. One way to put emphasis is to use a high-pitched voice while smiling. Babies respond to high-pitched voices because they easily grab tier attention. The next time you find yourself raising your voice when talking to the baby, go with it.
● Request your family members and anyone who has contact with your child to use your child’s name when talking to them.
● Start talking to your child when there are no distractions. Switch the TV and anything else playing off. Once you notice they recognize their name, you can add one distraction at a time to reinforce it.
● Do not use pet names. Yes, it is quite tempting to call your baby by a name that denotes something cute they do. However, using their actual name will help them recognize their name better. Using both their pet name and their given name might end up confusing them more.
● Be consistent. Keep calling their name even when you do not see any response. Do not give up.

Baby doesn't respond to their name, what should I do?

Babies hit milestones at different times. So, give your baby time if they do not respond when you say their name. Though it is natural to worry (especially if this is your first time), do not. Your baby is probably just taking their time.

However, if your baby does not recognize their name by the first year, you can let your pediatrician know your concerns during their first-year checkup. They will be able to perform a response-to-name test to see if there are any developmental issues. Research has shown that when a child recognizes other sounds but not their names, they could be showing early signs of autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by language and social skill issues. If this is the case, your doctor will recommend the right interventions.

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