There are many articles out there on how to teach your kid to speak French.
However, I couldn’t find a good list of French baby words, and vocabulary useful for childcare in France or with French speaking babies.
So I put this list together.
15 French Baby Words
French doesn’t have that many French baby words.
We tend to talk to our babies in a “normal” way – well, we simplify the tenses, use less French pronouns, and focus on essential vocabulary, but still, babies are amazing at guessing languages, and talking to your baby in a normal way is the best way to build up her/his vocabulary.
Let’s see what are the French baby first words.
- Papa – Dad
- Maman – Mom – Note the French don’t really have a shorter word for Maman, nor a synonym.
Mother, Mommy, Mom, Mum = Maman in French.
- Lolo – this is milk in Kid French.
- Un Nounours – say the final S. A teddy bear. This one is fun because it came from the liaison of the N with the noun “ours” (bear) making it sound like “noors”, then nounours.
- Un doudou – watch out for this one. It means teddy bear or special blankie kid sleeps with: it comes from the French adjective “doux”: soft.
- Un dodo – sleepy time
- Un dada – a horse
- Un toutou – a dog
- Un joujou – a toy
- Un bobo – a boo-boo
- le caca – poop, doodoo
- le pipi – pee
- le prout – fart
- le zizi – weenie
- la zézette – I don’t know the English equivalent! A childish word to describe girl’s genitals. Sometime’s boys. And sometimes Zézette is used like a nickname for Suzanne or Zoé! Ah, the French…
Let’s now learn the vocabulary to talk about babies in French – the vocabulary for childcare.
17 French Words For Childcare
- Une couche – a diaper
- Du talc – talc
- Des lingettes – wipes
- De la crème pour les fesses – anti-rash ointment (there ought to be a more scientific name, but this is what French moms would say :-)
- Une tétine, une sucette, une tototte (colloquial) = a pacifier
- Sucer son pouce – to suck one’s thumb
- Un matelas à langer – changing mat
- Une poussette – a stroller
- Un biberon – a baby bottle
- Un bavoir – a bib
- Un rot – a burp
- Un renvoi (in “mom” talk, we say “un crachouillis”) – a wet burp
- Un vomit – throw up
- Allaiter – to nurse
- Une garderie – daycare, childcare
- Une garde d’enfant (une nounou is “mom” talk) – a nanny
- Une aire de jeu – a playground
I used all this French Kid Vocabulary and much more in context in my French audiobook À Moi Paris L4. Chapter 12. Rosa takes her toddler niece and baby nephew to the “parc Monceau” and interacts with them. She talks about pregnancy and childcare with a friend.
My bilingual novels are recorded at different speeds and enunciation, and focus on today’s modern glided pronunciation used in real-life like situations. My French audiobooks are exclusively available on French Today.
What Sounds Do French Babies Make?
When a baby cries in French, it says: “Ouin-ouin”.
When it coos, it says: “areuh”.
Here is a video – you’ll hear mostly the French Mom saying “areuh”…. but she says it very well!
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