It’s absolutely fascinating! At around the 8th week, the baby may begin to coo. “Coo” is when the baby makes a small rounded shape of his mouth by protruding his lips a little bit, as if saying “coo!” It’s definitely one of the baby milestones worth taking pictures of.

Cooing is a form of baby communication. It’s one of the feats your baby may start doing once his brain’s frontal lobe begins working. This part of the brain is the speech center and stimulates your baby’s cooing. It is usually accompanied by the baby’s ability to make eye contact and smile at the people around him. Some joke that when these things happen, the baby is ready for college.

How does the cooing sometimes make a sound? Experts say babies use their hind throats to produce vowel sounds, especially the long “o” sound. If people try to talk or coo back, you may see babies try to respond back with another vowel sound. But not always. Remember that babies are still newbies at using their communication skills and the body parts involved. Often, they may just plain stare at you, smile or cry.

Babies are adventurous. They will experiment on their cooing abilities by often imitating the movements of your lips. This is why sometimes the shape of their lips distorts or coos soundlessly as they stare at you with wonder. Experts on baby conversation advise moms to often talk to their babies to encourage them to reply back by making sounds. This can help them utter more words earlier than usual. And anyway, babies love to hear the voices of their moms and dads.

Along with your baby’s cooing, they also imitate facial expressions. If you often smile at your baby, you may soon have a smiling baby. Then the baby discovers how to coordinate facial expressions with cooing. Babies often learn to smile while giggling to get excited, smile while chuckling to laugh, or twist their mouth and produce certain sounds to express disapproval.

As the baby learns more, cooing may soon be accompanied not only by sounds and facial expressions, but also by arm gestures. For instance, if you often clap and cheer in front of your baby, he may soon catch up and imitate the action. Thus, you see the baby actually cheering when he finds delight in something–like when he sees you coming with a fresh bottle of milk in hand or when you hand him his favorite toy. The baby actually claps his hands and shouts and laughs.