Baby caught on video saying first words just 23 days after birth

Odette Odendaal
Jan 30, 2019
04:01 P.M.
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A newborn boy in China stunned his parents and hospital staff when he uttered the word “mama” at only 23 days old.


Way ahead of his peers, the baby boy ‘talked’ for the first time at a postnatal care center while he received a back rub.

The unnamed mother of the newborn thought it likely that the sound came out unintentionally, but it still amazed the nurses and his mother.

The unusual scene got captured by his mother on January 20, 2019, in Changchun, northern China’s Jilin Province, and got shared online shortly after. During the short clip, the newborn is on his stomach on a table while a nurse gently massaged his back.

While the nurse softly worked on his back, the little one suddenly uttered “aiya” as the mother excitedly said, “This child is so funny.” But only seconds later, the 23-day old boy suddenly said “mama,” which left the staff and his mother speechless. 


The mum told Jilin TV Station afterward that her son had just finished a swimming lesson, and only fed him a little bit of milk so he wouldn’t barf while in the water. 

She reasoned that it could have been why he made the unusual sound and elaborated:

“He had been crying before and during the massage. Maybe he was angry (that I didn't give him enough milk), and later suddenly made the sound (of ‘mama’). Although it was not intentional, my husband's family were very happy.”

According to the staff at the postnatal care center, the newborn made particularly tonal sounds for his age in comparison to other babies the same age.


While parents are delighted to hear those first words, which are generally ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ it may be nothing personal, as research done by the Univesity of British Columbia showed an exciting finding.

It would appear that many languages have well-chosen words to describe their parents, as it features patterns of repeating sounds.

The University of British Columbia. | Photo: Shutterstock.


During the study, brain scans got taken of 22 newborns, two or three days of age while they listened to pre-recorded fictitious words.

Words that ended with repeating syllables showed an increase in the baby’s temporal and left frontal lobe areas, while words without any repetitions elicited no notable responses from the brain.

The study also suggested that the brain is hard-wired to recognize repetitive sounds, and would explain why a baby’s first words are often of mom or dad.

Sometimes a baby’s first words are entirely different, as parents of their six-month-old daughter found out while feeding her supper one evening.

The little cutey eagerly awaited her meal, until she tasted the pea puree. Not liking the taste she pulled her face as mom and dad giggled while feeding her, but after a few spoons, she had enough.


Pulling her face to the side, she stated her wishes with her first words, “I done.” Her parents laughed as dad exclaimed, “She said I’m done!”