Lots of toys make lots of lofty claims, but one new award-winning developmental toy for babies is making one of the loftiest (and most intriguing) claims by any toy ever: People Toy Company's Baby Babble First Words Training Trumpet can apparently turn baby babbles into baby's first words. Endorsed by pediatricians and speech-language pathologists, the toy utilizes its two-way mouthpiece to help develop speech muscles through play to get baby ready for their earliest conversational efforts. Kind of cool, right?
I remember being so concerned that my first baby was a late talker. She'd mastered "mama" and "dada" fairly early on, but other than "dog" (her official first word, despite her parents' pleadings), she did not seem interested in talking for what seemed like a long time. Though to be fair, parents worry about every little thing with their first babies. I can fully admit that I was easily affected by the speech development of other babies around us at music class and our local playground, as in comparison, my daughter just didn't seem to be as far along in that department. (Note to self and parents everywhere: "Comparison is the thief of joy." Thanks for the wise words, Theodore Roosevelt.)
That said, obviously there is nothing wrong with encouraging your baby's speech development, as the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association explained. That's what makes the The First Words Baby Babble Training Trumpet such a fascinating little toy. Meant for ages 7 months and above, the "trumpet" is shaped like a sippy cup, which may already be a familiar item. A handle on each side encourages grasping skills while stimulating baby's developing oral speech muscles as they make music by blowing in or out on the two-way mouthpiece.
"As their speech muscles strengthen, they are able to combine sounds and finally say first words around one year of age.”
Babies will first only be able to suck in air, but with curiosity and practice, they'll soon be able to better control speech muscles; the playful beads contained inside will keep little ones interested and offer another element of exploration. According to the People Toy Company website, parents also love how easy it is to clean and its ability to attach onto a stroller, making it a fun on-the-go toy as well.
In addition to toys like the Training Trumpet, parental involvement goes a long way in helping a child's speech skills to develop. In an article for Parents, talking with your baby and narrating the day ("now we are going to the park," "now we are taking a bath," etc.), reading board books to your baby, listening to music together, telling stories and following their lead (and most importantly, never criticizing) are great ways to enhance language development in babies. If you feel that your baby is not hitting developmental milestones in speech or otherwise, check in with your child's pediatrician and let them know your concerns. According to the Mayo Clinic, speech delays can occur for many reasons, including hearing loss. As Artemenko explains, "Kids can have fluid or wax built up in their ears or have conductive hearing loss. They hear garbled words just as if you were under water and someone was speaking to you outside of the water." Depending on the circumstances, your pediatrician might refer your child to a hearing specialist (audiologist) or a speech-language pathologist.
And remember, every baby is different, mamas. Try not to compare your child's development to others (believe me, I know this is tricky, but just remember what your old pal Theodore Roosevelt said), and be open with any concerns you might have with your pediatrician.