The expressive (spoken) vocabulary of many babies seems to explode somewhere between 16 months and 2 years. While your baby may have been using only a handful of words, now she seems to be bursting with new words. How does this happen? All the conversations that you have been having with your baby since birth have been contributing to her receptive (listening and understanding) language abilities. Now that she is becoming developmentally able to use these words in interactions, these receptive abilities are contributing to her expressive abilities. What does that mean? That conversations count! Involving your child in your conversations throughout the day can make a difference. If you are cooking, talk to your child about the process and ask her questions about the ingredients (Is this a banana?). If you are at the zoo, point out the animals and talk about them. This is the beginning of a lifelong process of learning new words, understanding new ideas and putting thoughts and words together!