A: Start talking to your baby on day one. Language development starts very early in life, even during the first few months. The more you speak to your baby, the better. No matter what language you speak, as long as your baby is hearing properly spoken words on a daily basis, he will develop good language skills. Some “baby talk” is inevitable because your baby will of course be your cutest chat buddy, and you’ll want to make him smile and laugh. But, make sure you also speak to him like an older child who can talk and respond to you.
Talk to your wee one about anything and everything. Talk about your day, talk about what you are doing at that moment, tell him a story, describe your environment, ask him questions (even though he can’t answer, it’s good for him to hear you), and talk to him about anything else you can think of. Start reading to your baby early on; a good time to read is at bedtime, but you can read to him anytime. You can also sing and recite nursery rhymes. Your baby will get used to the sound of your voice and find comfort in hearing whatever you have to say.
—Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP, practicing pediatrician who founded Calabasas Pediatrics in Los Angeles and author of Baby and Toddler Basics: Expert Answers to Parents’ Top 150 Questions (American Academy of Pediatrics, February 2018)