• One mum went viral after doctor freaked out her child wasn't speaking at one
I watched a TikTok video the other day that saddened me as a mother. The woman who creates content about her life as a mother was talking about how her child was a “late bloomer”.
She had apparently been asked if the baby was saying the word mama or similar one-syllable words at eight months old. When the mother said no, the doctor raised concern. At the one-year check-up, the mother was asked if the baby was speaking two-word sentences. The doctor recommended early intervention remedies for the child.
I know the doctor’s recommendations are from the American perspective, but I am glad that I wasn’t the only mother to be absolutely baffled by such a doctor. The comment section was full of appalled mothers sharing their disbelief! Even those from America recommended changing doctors.
As a mother to a ‘late talker’, I can honestly say we stress ourselves too much trying to make babies under two develop faster than they should. My son was absolutely fine growing up, but because he chose not to say “mama” or “dada” as his first words, my husband and I let ourselves be driven by societal pressure. There were many times where we questioned his development and growth milestones vis-a-vis societal expectations.
For months, people would always question us on his speech progression. “Is he talking now? Is he saying mama yet?” I found these questions irritating. I know they meant well but there was always an underlying connotation of worry.
As his mother, I know my son better than anyone. I have heard him say words once and never repeat them again. I see the sparkle in his eye when he learns something new. In fact, between the ages of 14 and 18 months, he was really interested in hearing things rather than talking. He would make us read the same things out loud over and over again. Just a couple of days ago, he picked up one of the books we read to him when he was younger, pointed at an item and said its name correctly!
In fact, he is a few days shy of 20 months and it is now that he is confident enough to say things and string words together to form a sentence. He repeats words after us, picks up on conversations and cues between me and his father, as well as repeat things he hears in cartoons.
Looking back, I would be crazy to expect him to do this much at 12 months old. There are some kids who become chatterboxes by the age of one, but there is no textbook or doctor’s guide that says that is the norm. Every kid is unique, they follow their own path and take their time arriving at their milestones. All we need to do is cheer them on!