An Aussie mum who claims her son uttered his first word at only six weeks old says she wasn’t expecting the hate they’d received from cruel online trolls.
Selaphim Saddharti and her partner Jackson, from Sydney, were over the moon when they apparently heard their son Francis say ‘hello’ at just six weeks of age.
By 11 weeks they claimed he was able to say his first sentence, ‘I love you’.
Now aged three-and-a-half months, his mum says his word bank includes ‘hello’, ‘mum’, ‘I love you’ and ‘blue’.
The startling claim would mean Francis is among the youngest babies in the world to start speaking.
Generally, babies begin to talk between 12 and 18 months old, but there has been one other report of a baby saying hello at just eight weeks.
Selaphim Saddharti and her partner Jackson (pictured), from Sydney, were shocked but delighted when they heard their son Francis say ‘hello’ at just six weeks of age
By 11 weeks Francis’s mum said he was able to say his first sentence, ‘I love you’. Now aged three and a half months, his word bank apparently includes ‘hello’, ‘mum’, ‘I love you’ and ‘blue’
Selaphim said she was enjoying communicating with her son and hoped that he would speak, but didn’t plan for it or have a specific method to teach him.
Her and Jackson intuitively started touching Francis’ face and lips when they said a specific word and they believe this is how he learned.
‘I don’t really feel like it was a written down method,’ Selaphim said.
‘We just wanted to connect to our baby.
‘There is nothing that special about it, it’s barely even a method. It’s just interacting with your child from a loving space.’
To teach a baby to speak, the mum advises people to place your hand on their neck every time you say a word you want them to say, as well as touching their face, nose or mouth gently, then pausing and creating space for a response.
Selaphim and Jackson intuitively started touching Francis’ face and lips when they said a specific word and they believe this is how he ‘learned to speak’ – but they admit they had no teaching plan
As Francis picked up more words, the proud mum began recording him and sharing it online, and the clips quickly racked up hundreds of thousands of views.
Selaphim’s videos are littered with comments from trolls alleging she is lying or just imagining her son is speaking.
The mum said she can’t understand why the videos cause so much anger and hate.
‘Put this energy into your kids instead,’ she advised.
Many accused Francis of ‘cooing not talking’.
‘Talk about hearing what you want to hear,’ another wrote.
‘All I can say is it has zero effect on how well they do later so don’t be thinking they are a genius,’ another commented.
How to teach your baby to speak:
1. Make sure your hand is engaged on their neck.
2. Every time you say a word you want him or her to say you touch the face, nose or mouth gently. Particularly the mouth as it gives them awareness of having the body part that was touched.
3. Pause and create space for a response.
4. Assume they know everything you’re saying and you will get a better response but don’t project standards on to them.
5. It’s best to start teaching them as early as possible.
Speaking about the personal comments she receives from trolls online, the mum said that although it is upsetting, she is still happy she is helping other mums.
Many parents have commented thanking Selaphim for offering her advice and tips, sharing that their children have also learned to speak using her method.
‘My gorgeous little human started saying “I love you” at 10 weeks. I used the same cues,’ one mum said.
‘Omg it worked. Thanks for your tips,’ another wrote.
‘The video sparked a divide between the general audience,’ Selaphim explained.
‘I don’t expect everyone to accept everything they don’t really want to understand, what matters to me is mothers are taking on the tips and commenting and saying they are working.’
Many parents have commented thanking Selaphim for offering her advice and tips, sharing that their children have also learned to speak using her method
She added that even if you don’t think it’s communication, you’re putting in energy and having quality time at the start of the baby’s life which will pay off when the child is older.
The fact she actually used the word talking was what upset people the most as there is a ‘grey line’ regarding what is talking and what is communication.
‘If it sounds like it, feels like it, then it’s right for you and your baby,’ the mum said.
People are making fun of her for saying her baby understands what she says, but Selaphim clarified she means that although he may not understand the words unconsciously it is being understood somewhere.
‘A lot of mothers will know sometimes you have miraculous moments where you swear the child knows exactly what you’re saying. It’s the mother and child connection,’ Selaphim said.
‘Those who get it, get it.’
The first time Francis spoke was with his father, who Selaphim believes he is more responsive to due to his deep voice.
‘His father told me he said “hello” and I was like “what?” the proud mum laughed, recalling the fond memory.
The first time Francis spoke was with his father, who Selaphim believes he is more responsive to due to his deep voice
‘Then I heard it and eventually we got it on camera and knew the other wasn’t being optimistic about cooing.’
She was eager to hear him say “I love you” and practiced with him until he did.
‘I wanted him to say “I love you” because I love him so much and say it all the time,’ she explained.
She says it’s best to start teaching them as early as possible, but advised her followers not to project standards on their kids.
‘What works for my baby may not work for yours, if it doesn’t please don’t be discouraged as all babies learn different things at different times, but you’ll never know if you never try.’
Francis now says “hello” and “I love you” unprompted throughout the day, he will say “mum” if he needs something and says “blue” when he is feeling lonely.
He also says the Indonesian word “nenem” which is a pet word for babies that Selaphim’s own mother used to say to her. She said ‘nenem’ every time she breastfed Francis and now when she says the word he knows it’s time to eat.
Selaphim doesn’t plan to teach him any other words yet.
‘Other than feed, love or hello as a 3-month-old what can you talk about?’ she laughed.
Her next plan is to teach him toilet training. The mum said she learnt a tip from a woman online who uses auditory association to make training easier.
‘Every time he poops you make a distinct noise. The lady in the video makes a ‘ts’ noise, and when it came to training she would hang him over the toilet and make the noise and he would know it’s time to go,’ she explained.
Selaphim always made an effort to not just take generic prenatal vitamins but put lots of thought and effort into her fish oils and vitamins whilst pregnant. She also tried minimise trauma during birth by going to a public hospital that offered water births
‘When I was pregnant I really wanted him to be intelligent, I wanted to heal our generational trauma and give him the best foundation,’ she explained.
She said that as time progressed and they saw how responsive and intelligent he was they felt like the name Francis suited him.
Selaphim always made an effort to not just take generic prenatal vitamins but put lots of thought and effort into her fish oils and vitamins whilst pregnant.
She also tried minimise trauma during birth by going to a public hospital that offered water births.
‘He came out and wasn’t crying at all,’ she said.
‘He looked at me and we were eye gazing, it was a really lovely moment. The nurses need the baby to cry but as a mother you know that they’re responding in their own way.’