First words and baby's primary attachment - Play Nourish Thrive

First words and baby's primary attachment

If you are a parent like me, one who enjoys uninterrupted sleep, and your own space, you might resonate with this 😉

Over the weekend our daughter started making a ‘da’ sound for the first time 🎶 I’ve been encouraging her by repeating ‘da’ and gesturing to her dad. Every so often I’ll throw a token ‘ma’ in there. But my focus has been on her learning how to say ‘dad’.

Why on earth would I do this?! 🤷‍♀️

Months ago, I watched a YouTube video by @jess_hover. 📽 In this video she talked about how she encouraged her baby to say dad, as well as the names of other caregivers close to her baby. Her rationale being that if her baby called for another caregiver, then it was not always up to her to be on baby duty, especially at night. I mean, who could resist a baby calling out for you specifically?! I thought this was a brilliant & hilarious strategy.

Turns out that this is somewhat grounded in science too.📊 A cross-cultural study of over 900 children found that ‘daddy’ was the most common first word, followed by ‘mommy’.(1) It is suggested that babies see themselves as one of the same with their primary caregiver (usually mum). The other caregiver (usually dad) however is the first person they identify outside of the mum-baby bond.

Other common first words were ‘bottle’ and ‘YumYum’. So do not be discouraged if either of you do not get a look in 😉

I know it might be a bit frustrating that you may have grown this baby, birthed them, nourished
them, and they end up saying ‘dad’ first. But the science says that this may show their attachment to you as their primary caregiver (yay🎉). Plus, it might mean you can get a bit more sleep during baby’s night-time waking’s (bonus😴).

This strategy won’t last forever, nor is it applicable to every family dynamic or situation. Obviously my baby’s dad and I would both get up for our daughter regardless of what noise or name she called out. But even if our baby purposefully says mum tomorrow, the joy on my husband’s face when she makes the sound ‘dada’ now has been totally worth it! ❤

What was your baby’s first words? 🎶 Share w/ anyone who may appreciate this post 😊

(1) Tardif et al. 2008. Developmental Psychology

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