A mom in Northern Ireland was astounded to hear her son manage to greet her with a tiny, adorable “hello” at just 7-weeks-old.
Toni McCann, of Belfast, Ireland, said her son Cillian, who is now 9 weeks, has said “hello” twice. The first time happened when she had her camera rolling as she slowly pronounced the word repetitively for him.
The infant appeared to try and imitate his mom, unsuccessfully at first until finally managing a quick “hello” for the first time!
“He was making a lot of eye contact and that’s why I started filming him,” she told ABC News. “I realized he was trying to copy what I was saying it and then it just came out.”
Watch the video:
McCann said she first noticed Cillian trying to mimic sounds at just 5-weeks-old when her husband was holding him.
“Cillian’s tongue [was] to come out and … he was trying to imitate to talking,” she said. McCann said her son has said “hello” just one other time when one of her daughters was talking with the baby.
Gail Murray, director of Audiology Services at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, said the video is a great example of how infants begin to learn talking by focusing on mom and dad’s faces.
“This is a perfect example of modeling behavior, mom is coaching him to do what she’s doing,” said Murray. “It’s an important example of what we want all mothers to do with their baby.”
Murray said the Cillian’s first “hello” seems impressive, but it’s part of the normal development for infants as they progress from mimicry to babbling to saying single words with meaning, which usually happens around 11 to 12 months.
Murray said Cillian’s first word is likely not the same as a 1 to 2-year-old’s first word, when they have attached meaning to the word.
“They don’t have muscle coordination of the mouth,” Murray said of newborn infants. “It’s usually a process of both learning what words mean by hearing them and by seeing mom and by trying to imitate mom over and over again.”
Murray said new moms should talk to their babies even though infants can’t say full words yet. She also recommended letting babies “talk back” in the conversation, even if they don’t have full words yet.
While the video of Cillian saying hello has gone viral, McCann said she has already moved on to a new phrase for the baby.
“Now I’m saying to him ‘I love you,'” McCann told ABC News.