My Toddler Calls Me Babe & I’m Not At All Offended by It!

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Let’s address the elephant in the room here based on what you just read in the headline: yes, my toddler calls me babe! I’m sure this doesn’t come close to the number one weirdest name for a mom. However, it is pretty hilarious to have a two-year-old running around yelling “BABE!” from the top of the stairs when he wants my attention.

There’s no doubt, when a baby starts to talk, it’s an exciting time! You can’t wait to hear the word “mama” come out of his or her mouth.

Unfortunately, many of us mamas have our dreams crushed when out of the mouth of our sweet baby whom we grew inside us, birthed, and nurtured all of a sudden says “Dada” first. Like, what the heck?!

What gives? Why does my baby say “dada” first? Better yet, why is my baby calling me something other than “mama, mommy, ma” etc.? Let’s dissect some baby talk and toddler language development.

My toddler calls me babe & I'm not at all offended by it!
Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash

Baby talk

Babies are pretty fascinating! They attempt to communicate with you very early on in their lives.

In the beginning, their only form of communication is through crying. However, they have been listening to you and others around you conversing since they were in the womb. The sounds may have been muffled, but they were still getting a glimpse into language.

Now that they are Earth side, they can hear these conversations more clearly. Therefore, it is no wonder why they start to coo so early. They want to talk to you, too!

Between the ages of three and six months, baby’s express themselves through cooing and playing with bilabial sounds, such as “b” and “p” sounds. Then their language gets more complex as they develop into saying “ba-ba” or “da-da.”

Baby’s first words

There are different stages of “talking” for a baby. Typically, around the eight month mark, there is a constant babble by baby where they are attempting to communicate. Obviously, this isn’t sophisticated communication, but an attempt none the less.

A more obvious “dada” and “mama” starts to become recognizable around baby’s first birthday. So many things to celebrate at that time! Your baby may give you an early present and start saying mama and dada before their birthday.

Keep in mind, each baby is different and it is important to understand that they all meet milestones at slightly different times. Don’t compare your baby to other babies. The only way to know if there is a need for intervention is by having a conversation with your child’s pediatrician.

Do you need some tips on how to increase your toddler’s language development?

Before moving on, I wanted to make sure you had the resources you might be looking for here. I have developed some helpful expansion tools for you here.

Additionally, here are some letter recognition activities you can implement in your everyday activities for your toddler to learn letters and language.

If baby says “Dada” first

I know the feeling… we go through weeks of growing these little humans, birthing them, nourishing them, and oftentimes staying home with them. All the sacrifices! Yet, they come out looking exactly like their fathers and then their first word is “Dada.” Umm, excuse me?

You might be surprised to learn that a baby saying “dada” first isn’t a reflection of you as a mom. It is more of a reflection of the bond you and your baby have together!

If mom is the primary caregiver, babies are more bonded to mom during that first year of life. Essentially, baby doesn’t see themselves as mom and baby, but being one with mom. Therefore, when they see Dad coming home after work, they recognize him as the first person outside of the mommy/baby bond. Thus, he gets his own name!

It’s kind of sweet when you think of it! Baby looks at Mommy as a “we” unit instead of a separation. So, why would Mommy need her own name? We are one, right?

That’s just my sentimental self wanting to get a little credit for all the work that goes into being a mom.

My toddler calls me babe & I'm not at all offended by it!
Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash

Weird names baby calls you

While we strive for our babies to call us the traditional names, such as “Mama, Mommy, Mom, etc.” sometimes that doesn’t always work out.

For example, of the one name I try to get my son to call me (Mama), he instead calls me “Babe.” Yup, that’s right. My son calls me babe.

At first, it didn’t register what he was calling me. I tried to make it somehow sound like “Mama” in my head, but there was just no getting around it. He most definitely wasn’t saying that.

But he WAS referring to me. I thought maybe he was trying to say “Baby” because we talk to him about me having a baby growing inside of my belly.

Then it dawned on me… He was calling me “Babe!” And it all made sense. My husband calls me “Babe” so he hears what I am being called by others and repeats what he sees me responding to. He was associating this name to meaning “Mommy.”

Isn’t it funny the things kids come up with? When you think they aren’t listening, they really are just taking it all in!

Your takeaway

While we mamas may get a little in our feelings about the fact that our baby doesn’t say “mama” first or doesn’t even call us “mama” at all, I want you to takeaway from this that this is not a reflection on you as a mom.

You are awesome and your baby knows it. He or she just shows it in a different way and you’ll just have to adjust your expectations to fit your baby.

What does your baby or toddler call you?

I am sure being called “Babe” doesn’t reach the top funniest names a baby can call you. It sure is funny to me! But, let me hear it! What name does your baby or toddler call you? How did they come up with this name? Were you surprised when you first heard it?

I would seriously love to see in the comments below what other moms are responding to! I know this phase won’t last with my toddler and I think the name “Babe” is pretty endearing coming from him. So I’ll enjoy it while it lasts!

Samantha <3

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About The Author

First time parent to an incredible little boy residing in Northern California. I hold my M.A. in Education with a Specialization in Culturally Responsive Education. My mission is to consistently provide helpful content for other parents to draw from. Parenthood is ever-changing! I look forward to sharing my experiences with you and hope that my posts are insightful.

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