Baby only saying “Mummy” at 24 months

This question submitted from a parent in Russia viaметодики/Baby-Sign-Language as part of the partnership between Monta Z. Briant and Danone/ Nutricia,Russia, makers of Dannon Yogurt.

Question: My baby is 24 months old and he still can only say “mummy”, that’s all..


Dear Mummy,

Thank you for submitting your question to me.

While there is a lot of variation from one child to another when it comes to speech development, there is a basic timeline that can help parents and doctors to decide if a child may need extra help. If your child is 24 months old, and can only say “Mama” he would definitely be considered delayed in his speech.

Sometimes children, especially boys, can be late talkers, and sometimes there is no cause that can be found and the child just starts speaking in complete sentences on day. However, you should most definitely have him checked by his doctor, just to rule out any potential problem. Problems can include physical things,  such as chronic ear infections or problems with tongue or roof of mouth, or there may be learning disability or developmental delay involved. Your child’s doctor will be able to refer your son for the proper treatment or therapy.

In the meantime, please do use Sign Language with your son as you speak certain words, as having some signs will help him to learn faster and be much less frustrated. Sign Language is routinely used by Speech-Language Therapists here in the USA for this purpose.

And, it’s important to keep in mind that there is no correlation between late speech and intelligence. As a matter of fact, Albert Einstein did not speak until he was 3 years old and was not fluent until age 9! He was apparently quite an eccentric fellow– but he was famously intelligent!

Below is an example of average toddler speech and language development:


15 Months:

  • Communicates mainly using gestures and sounds.


  • Has a 4-6 word vocabulary (“bye-bye,”      “dada,” “mama”).


  • Plays in a solitary manner with a variety of toys      like cars, stuffed animals, books, blocks and dolls.


18 Months:

  • Has a vocabulary of 10-20 words.


  • Begins to use two words together (“mommy      shoe” meaning “mommy’s shoe”).


  • Produces more than 5 consonant sounds, like m, w,      n, p, and b.


  • Points to some body parts when asked.


  • Follows simple commands (“Give me the      ball”).


  • Pretend play beginning.

24 Months:

  • Expressive vocabulary of 150-300 words.


  • Uses short incomplete sentences.


  • Uses many different consonant sounds in the      beginning of words.


  • Puts many actions together during play like      stirring, pouring, scooping, and feeding a doll.


  • Points to pictures in a book when named and listens      to simple stories.


  • Learns a few new words each week.


  • Understands simple questions (“Where’s your      blanket?”).


  • Uses pronouns: I and it.


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