Do babies usually say mama or dada first?

User
June 3, 2015

I can't wait for my baby to say mama! I've heard, though, that all babies say dada first. Is this true?

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User in Chicago, IL
June 4, 2015

Hello, I am a PhD student in Developmental Psychology studying child language development. It does vary, but in general infants will say dada first. The reason, though, may surprise you. Mama is actually easier for infants to say than dada. First, let me break things up a little. When infants, even very young infants, are hungry they will make a mum mum mum sound that kind of sounds like they are saying "mama." They aren't saying an actual word because what they are saying has no referent to their mother. However, if you watch and you see that your baby is doing that, feed them. That is how you know that they are hungry without them having to get cranky or fussy. Because of this early sound that is natural, saying mama is actually easier for an infant. Saying "dada" requires the tongue to be in control to tap the gum right in front of the teeth. However, "mama" only requires the lips to open and close. Infants have traditionally said "dada" first because while in the home with their mothers all day they hear talk about their father. For example, "Daddy will be home soon!" "Let's wait for daddy!" "Daddy's here!" are all phrases that infants will hear frequently and on a daily basis when they are home with their mothers. As such, they learn what "dada" is and to what the word refers. They also learn that they need that word to refer to their parent who leaves and then comes back. Of course, all the data thus far has been taken from mothers ad infants that stay home all day while fathers go out to work. It is very difficult to get working parents and single fathers to be part of research studies, they are much less likely to sign up for research and visit labs. So, this could very well change but there is no data to suggest otherwise. Hope this helps!

Lorraine
Aug. 19, 2019

Rubbish my son never heard the word dad dada or daddy but still said it first lol

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User in Talladega, AL
Feb. 27, 2016

Well if "dada" (and his family) wouldn't try forcing it on the kid after we do everything mama would be more likely to the first word..

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Some babies say no, yes (sounds like yea), or something else first. It all depends on what your child hears and whether they want or don't want something.

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User in Tucker, GA
June 4, 2015

This is not necessarily true. Its a half and half thing. Some kids say mama first and some kids say dada first. It mostly depends on who is around the child the most when they are learning to talk.

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It really varies child to child but I know dada is easier for infants to say so don't be surprised if dada comes out first. The M sounds and lip movement take a bit of time to master.

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User in Quincy, MA
June 4, 2015

From my past experience with babies its always dada first.

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Usually, mama's get their hearts broken because dada usually comes out first but not always. Work with your baby and repeat mama over and over - while changing a diaper or playing with him. He just might surprise you and say mama before you know it.

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User in Trempealeau, WI
March 23, 2016

My 7 month old can't stop saying dad and dada. I'm a working father and my fiancé is a stay at home mama. We can't wait to hear what's next

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User in Ringgold, GA
June 4, 2015

I would like to say that it is not true but unfortunately after three kids. Dada is the first word they say not mama.

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User in Modesto, CA
June 3, 2015

I think it varies. I have seen more children say dada first though. I think it is easier for them when they are learning to form words. Alot of times it is just the baby sounds they are making that we mistake for dada or mama.

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I have to disagree with you on this one. My son was calling me meme before he could say mama or dada so he was saying mommy before he say dada. Also who do they spend more time with. I was home with my baby for the first three years so it was he was with me more. Now his dad is out of the picture and everything is mommy and a special name that he uses for my mother.So a finally mommy is frist don't fret.

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Ma is a relux word of young babies. Think Ma I'm hungry. If the sound is ignored it is forgotten by the infant. Dada is a fun talking phase all seem to go through that stuck and become a word. Daddies are fun for babies, the name/sound/word sticks. Google babies secret language, in the results click on Oprah and talking twin babies.

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Yes, it is true that most of the children say "dada" because is easier for their development. Mama is a difficult word to say because the babies do not know how to put their lips together. "Mama" is a complex word call bilabial.

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User in Moore, ID
June 4, 2015

Sadly, it's usually Dada first because Mama is harder for them to say....but it WILL come...be patient and not jealous if Dada is first. Ok? Good luck.

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It honestly depends on the child. Every child is different and it is based on who is always there with the baby.

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User in Rockwall, TX
June 4, 2015

From my experience as a nanny, most babies have said dada first simply because the D is just easier to pronounce other than the M. But don't let that discourage you, because I have definitely witnessed others say mama first which put the Dad at a funk but, no worries because shortly after the "dada" came. :) #children are gorgeous

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User in Saraland, AL
June 4, 2015

Yes, most babies say dada first because it is easier for them. But those that only hear the word mama, more than likely will say it first.

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not always

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mama i think

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