The most common ‘babies' first words’ in the UK

There are few first milestones in a child’s early life that are more memorable than hearing their first words.

Whether it’s ‘mum’ or ‘dad’, their sibling's name, or even their favourite animal, chances are hearing your child’s first word will stay with you forever.

In some cases, your child’s first word may be something wholly unique, something you can pull out when they turn 18 to embarrass them. But for most children, their first word is typically shared with millions of other children across the country.

But just what are the most common ‘babies' first words’ in the UK?

Our team surveyed 1,000 parents across the UK, to discover what the nation’s children’s first words are, and how they differ up and down the country. Some came as no surprise, and a few were rather naughty and somewhat unexpected.

UK babies first words infographic desktop

The UK’s top ten babies' first words

When it comes to the UK’s top ten babies' first words, few will be surprised to learn that the top two words were ‘mama’ and ‘dada’.

Interestingly, however, ‘dada’ proved slightly more common than ‘mama’, making up 28% of first words compared to 24% for ‘mama’.

Despite what common sentiment, movies, and TV shows might hint at, it would appear that ‘mama’ isn’t always the most popular parent.

In general, however, ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ proved to be by far the most common first words spoken by babies, the next closest being ‘mummy’, at just 6.2%. This substantial gap might very well represent how we choose to speak to our children in order to help them understand us clearly.

Besides parent words, other popular first words included ‘no’, at 2.9%, something new parents are no doubt thrilled to hear their child say when asked to do something, and both ‘cat’ and ‘doggy’, sitting at 1.8% and 1.6% respectively.

Clearly, the family pet is sometimes a child’s favourite, most likely because they’re so soft and cuddly.

Shockingly, 5% of babies' first words were considerably naughty or cheeky, with parents standing mortified as their angelic child blurted out one or more of our all too common swear words.

How long does it take a child to say their first word?

Within our survey, we also asked respondents how long it took their child to say their first word.

44% of those we spoke with said it took their child 10-12 months to speak their first word.

This is repeated with similar commonality across the country, but in some rare cases, it actually took 5% of babies over 1.5 years before they spoke for the first time.

However, this is by no means an indication of a lack of stimulation; some children simply take longer to start speaking.

Top baby words by UK city

When looking at first spoken baby words across the country, there is a definitive common trend.

Given that ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ were the most common words spoken altogether, they naturally appeared in the top three words for all the cities we focused on.

Mummy’, ‘papa’, and ‘daddy’ also made several appearances, but some more standout words included ‘car’ in Cardiff, with 7% of kids saying it as their first word, as well as ‘cat’ in Edinburgh at 12%: proving to be as popular as ‘mama’.

And proving themselves the opposite of Edinburgh, many Glasgow babies chose ‘doggy’ as their first word, also at 12%. And, of course, for those babies that didn’t want to do as they’re told, 9% of those in Sheffield said ‘no’ as their first word.

Given our survey data, it’s fairly clear that your child’s first word may very well be something along the lines of ‘mama’ and ‘dada’, and while not the most interesting of words, it won’t be long before they’re stringing entire sentences together.

In summary

Naturally, the early years of childhood are always something to be cherished. But if you want to ensure your child has the best upbringing no matter what the future may hold, it can be a good idea to consider applying for family life insurance.

Life insurance acts as a safety net for your loved ones, providing financial protection if you are no longer around to provide.

The proceeds from a life insurance policy can be used as your beneficiaries wish, however, they are often used to cover a mortgage, meet family living costs, provide an inheritance, and pay funeral expenses.

If can be hard to imagine your baby going to university or taking driving lessons in the future, especially when they are only just muttering their very first words.

However, with the cost of raising a child to 18 in the UK estimated at £152,747[1] it's important to provision for the future and life insurance can provide reassuring peace of mind.

Contact Reassured today to find out how we can help you secure the right life insurance cover for you and your other half.

We can compare multiple quotes completely free of charge.


Please note, the data displayed in this article is correct at the point of publication 20/09/22


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