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Don't worry -- your baby isn't destined for a career as a ventriloquist. Young babies automatically experiment with their voice box. In adults, the vocal cords and lips are working together to form words, but a baby isn't following these rules. Babies don't yet have the motor skills to coordinate sound with lip movement. Before 6 months, an American, Chinese, and French baby will all make the same spontaneous, universal sounds. After 6 months, imitation takes off, and babies from different countries will begin to move toward language-specific mouth movements and sounds. --Hagar Scher
Originally published in Parents magazine, October 2006. Updated 2009
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.