Although your baby will not be speaking in sentences for a few years, she will begin to communicate using her voice at a very early age. Infant's language development happens very rapidly. Her sounds will develop from cries, coos to babbling, and a few words, all within the first year of life. Keep in mind that while language develops in the same order for most children, it is not always at the same rate, so use these milestones simply as a guide.
For the first month or so, your newborn's primary means of communicating her needs will be through crying. She may cry to tell you she is hungry, tired, needs a diaper change or she simply wants you to cuddle her. Her cries can also mean that she is overstimulated by all of the new sights and sounds of the world, and according to KidsHealth, crying is one way she can shut out stimuli when she's had enough. When you respond to her cries by meeting her needs, she will learn that she can use her voice to tell you something, and that will soon give way to other sounds.
Cooing and Laughing
According to HealthyChildren.org, around 2 months of age, babies usually begin to make cooing sounds and imitating vowel sounds like "ah" or "ooh." These are usually to express pleasure and you will notice your baby doing this when you talk to her face to face. Repeat some of her own sounds back to her and wait for her to respond. This will teach her about the back and forth of conversation. At this age, you might also hear her making other sounds like grunting or gurgling as she experiments with what her voice can do. Between 4 and 6 months old, you will also hear her chuckling and laughing when she is happy, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
By the time babies are 6 months old, they begin to add consonant sounds into their repertoire and make single syllable sounds like "ba" or "ma," according to the Encyclopedia of Children's Health. After 7 months old, your baby will begin to string some of those sounds together, such as "upup tata bibibi." She may stumble upon some real words like "mama" when she is babbling, and continue to use them when she sees that they get your attention. Soon her babbling will begin to have adult inflections and it will sound like she is having a conversation with you, though you will not understand any of the words.
As your baby approaches her first birthday, you may hear one or two real words amongst all of her babbling. These are usually words that she hears often and are the most meaningful to her, such as "hi," "mama" or "dog." At first, she may not speak these words these clearly, but if she is consistently using the same sound to represent an object or idea, then that is a word to her. Just repeat the word back to her when you talk, and eventually she will correct herself. At this age, she will also like to repeat sounds, so continue talking to her often and she will begin to say more words on her own.