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Dada? Banana? Cheese? Irish mums and dads share their little ones' first ever words

Our Parents Panel tell us what got their kids chatting.


AS PART OF’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way.

If you’re the parent of a young baby, you’ll know there’s a lot of babbling involved (from you, and from your baby). But one day, we promise, those gurgles will turn into real words, and before you know it, you’ll have a full-fledged chatterbox on your hands.

This week, we asked our Parents Panel about that first “wait, did he just say…?” moment. 

What was your little one’s first real word?

Here’s what they had to say…

Parents Panel All 7 - Copy - Copy - Copy Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly

Charlie’s first word was ‘cheese’: As in ‘say cheese’ and also as in the food. Reflective of us always taking pictures of him and his healthy appetite! I can’t remember exactly when, but I reckon it must have been around one year.

- Kait Quinn

Clíodhna was ten months when she said ‘nana’: She was sitting on my lap and reaching for some bananas in front of us. Though initially used when looking for a banana specifically, it then became equated to food in general, and whenever she wanted to eat she would look for ‘nana’. She also said ‘dada’ for everything and everyone, it was months (and several other words later) before she said ‘mammy’ which was hard!

- Ríona Flood

Ellie Mae’s first word took a lot of coaxing: She was about seven months when she eventually said ‘baba’. We were over the moon. Her older brother and sister then started competing with each other over who could teach her her next word. Brian won – the next word was ‘bobo’ which is what she called him. He is 22 now, Ellie Mae is four, and we still call him Bobo.

- Denise Cumiskey

All three kids said ‘dada’ first… I swear: Or some sounds resembling that at least. Whether they were really saying Dada, I don’t know, but I’ll claim it anyway! Once other words arrive, and a sense of self and of stuff being ‘so unfair’, then you fondly remember when it was just ‘dada’.

- Alan Dooley

Tymek’s first word was ‘mama’: It was shortly followed by ‘dada’, to keep things equal…

- Marta Lisiecka

Want to win a copy of psychotherapist Philippa Perry’s new book, The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read? Enter our competition here to be in with a chance! 

Parents Panel: Toys that under-threes won’t get tired of – as recommended by real mums and dads>

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