Mamas And Dadas

The old wives tale for today says that the gender of your second baby is based on your first child’s first word. If baby numbero uno said mama first, you will have a baby girl for your second baby. If your first child said dada first, your second child will be a boy.

According to this old wives tale we will be having a GIRL. Everly said mama with meaning before dada, however she made the speech sound dada first, she just hadn’t attached meaning to it yet. I swore up and down that my child would be the rare one who said mama with meaning before dada!! And why is this rare you wonder???

After a few years in my role as an infant development consultant I learned that it is typical for a baby to say the dada sound earlier than mama as it is an easier sound to produce; mama requires a little bit more coordination. As a result of this most parents think that their baby is saying dada first and essentially talking well before they really are! Speech sound are one thing, it’s the meaning that children eventually attach to these sounds that becomes shared language. As a result, your child’s first speech sounds may not be their first real “word.” I alway laugh when I meet someone with a 6 month old baby and they swear up and down that their baby says dada and all these other things. It is very sweet and I think that proud parents are even sweeter and so I never, ever burst their bubble, why would you?!

In many languages the infant “words” for mother and father are extremely similar. Linguists and developmentalists believe this is because every baby, no matter what language they will eventually speak, makes the same first sounds. These researchers believe that humans, being self centered as we are, naturally think that our offspring are trying to say their name for us as their parents, clearly we are the most important thing in their world to be naming right!? Ah humans, I bet the other species of the world make fun of us.

And here’s another bit of research on first words that I found interesting…



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