Having a newborn at home is both an exciting and stressful experience for all new parents. Having a baby of your own comes with new beginnings for everyone. One thing that many new parents are curious about is specific milestones for their child. New parents are often curious about when their baby should meet specific physical, emotional, or linguistic milestones. While language milestones are something that can vary from child to child, there are guidelines and milestone markers various agencies and departments recommend, and collectively the short answer is that a baby should recognize their name at some point between 4-9 months of age.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that it is important to pay attention to how your child interacts with the world. How your child plays, speaks, listens, and even walks can tell a parent a lot of information about developmental growth. It is important to note that not all children will reach specific milestones by recommended ages. The CDC states that their milestones are measured by 75% of children or more.

Many parents are left wondering, still, when the developmental age is when a child should begin to respond to their own name.

Babies should begin to recognize their name anywhere between 4 and 9 months of age depending on various reputable recommendations.


California Department of Education States by 4 to 6 Months

Different studies and organizations recognize different age ranges in which a child recognizes their own name. There are some studies that point out that some children can recognize and respond to their own names earlier than others.

California's Department of Education indicates that a child can recognize their own name as early as 4 to 6 months. According to their research, at 4 to 6 months children respond to a few different things. For one, they indicate that a baby can begin babbling and moving to gain a person's attention. Children can also respond to a change in a person's voice and changes in a person's facial expression.

In addition, babies begin to mimic adults' gestures by this age range. Babies will copy movements and expressions that adults make toward them.

The biggest milestone that the Department of Education points out is that by 4 to 6 months, a baby looks at you or responds to you when you call them by their name.

Happy Baby in Hat and Diaper Lying on Carpet Background, Smiling Infant Kid Boy in White Clothing, Child Six Months Old
Some babies may begin to recognize their own name by 9 months old, according to the CDC

©Inara Prusakova/Shutterstock.com

The CDC Recommends Babies Respond to Their Name by 9 months

By nine months old, babies begin to get comfortable with their parents. They begin to be a bit more shy with strangers and adults they do not know. As well, they begin to express themselves through facial cues to show them when they are happy, sad, angry, and surprised.

The CDC also states that at nine months old, babies begin to react when their parents or anyone else leaves the room. They will cry or grab out for you as you leave the room.

The CDC also recommends that by nine months old, a baby should be able to respond to their own name when being called. However, this does not mean verbally. Instead, by nine months old, when you call your baby's name, they should look at you or toward you.

After 9 Months, Babies Begin to Associate Names With Others, Too

According to Lauren Crosby, M.D., F.A.A.P., babies begin to not only know their own name, but also the names of others around them. This is the age when babies are developing labels for people like their parents and siblings. At 9 to 12 months, babies begin to associate “Mommy” and “Daddy” with their parents, and may even begin to verbally regard other individuals who are in their lives often, such as grandparents or siblings, too.

Babies begin to associate names and labels with others in their lives by 9 months old

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How You Can Help Your Baby Recognize Their Own Name

Not all children may reach this development milestone by 4 to 9 months, so there are a few ways that parents can help their babies in this process.

  • Remember, some names may be easier to remember or recognize than others. Multi-syllable names can be challenging for a baby to recall or even recite. If your child has a longer name, begin with a shorter version of it until they recognize this.
  • Use their name often. When you are giving them something, such as food or changing their diaper, be sure to use their full name. Avoid pet names that are generic that they may hear often or towards others. By using their name often when you speak to them, children begin to associate themselves with the name.
  • Use a mirror. Show your baby themselves in the mirror and say their name while pointing to them. This can allow them to associate themselves with their name, as well.
  • Use photos of themselves. By showing them a picture of themselves, they may be able to recognize themselves by their name, too.
  • If your child is easily distracted, try to take away any toys and other things that can sway their interests. Take them into a room so that you can call them and see if they will respond to you.

If your baby is not quite there yet, do not fret. Practice some of the techniques to help them along their growth journey.

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