DD1 was exactly like that at that age and like you I was a first time mom and was very worried. Add into that the fact that not talking was one of the first obvious symptoms that a friend of mine's daughter displayed that led to an autism diagnosis, and it really worried me.
Our family doctor was unconcerned and told me that because she was an only child with limited exposure to other children, she simply wasn't motivated to talk because daddy and Mommy anticipated her needs. She'd talk when she wanted to, her hearing was fine and she understood us well, but to be safe and to assuage my fears he suggested that if she was not making significant progress in her speech by 2 to take her to be evaluated. I also spoke to my friend and she pointed out that her daughter had other symptoms that they noted in retrospect that my daughter didn't have, so I felt better and decided to wait and see until she was 2.
Over the next six months she really didn't improve and she still mostly babbled with a handful of words sprinkled in. Then almost exactly 2 weeks before her birthday something changed. She started really paying attention to what we were saying and watching our faces while we spoke. Bam - she was picking up at minimum a new word a day. She started stringing them together very quickly after that and now at 4.5 she has a great vocabulary and I can't get her to shut up. She literally talks constantly, through meals, while pottying, over other people's conversations and I've even heard her talk in her sleep. She talks to herself, she talks to her feet, she talks to her imaginary friend George and his invisible family. You'd never suspect in a million years she was a late talker.
Now the plural of anecdote is not fact. Just because my child did not need intervention doesn't mean that yours doesn't. I think your little one is a little young to really be worried, but honestly there's no harm in having him evaluated. If there's nothing wrong, you'll feel a little silly, but you'll have that peace of mind, if there are issues to be addressed then you can start down that road, and it is better to address them sooner than later. Don't ignore your iinstinctsinstincts.
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Becca, Wife to B (10/31/09!)
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