30 French Baby Words 👶

Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Do you talk baby French? Explore the first French baby words and essential French childcare vocabulary + French coo video: a French baby says “areuh” !

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.

  1. Papa – Dad
  2. Maman – Mom – Note the French don’t really have a shorter word for Maman, nor a synonym.
    Mother, Mommy, Mom, Mum = Maman in French.
  3. Lolo – this is milk in Kid French.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Un dodo – sleepy time
  7. Un dada – a horse
  8. Un toutou – a dog
  9. Un joujou – a toy
  10. Un bobo – a boo-boo
  11. le caca – poop, doodoo
  12. le pipi – pee
  13. le prout – fart
  14. le zizi – weenie
  15. 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

  1. Une couche – a diaper
  2. Du talc – talc
  3. Des lingettes – wipes
  4. 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 :-)
  5. Une tétine, une sucette, une tototte (colloquial) = a pacifier
  6. Sucer son pouce – to suck one’s thumb
  7. Un matelas à langer – changing mat
  8. Une poussette – a stroller
  9. Un biberon – a baby bottle
  10. Un bavoir – a bib
  11. Un rot – a burp
  12. Un renvoi (in “mom” talk, we say “un crachouillis”) – a wet burp
  13. Un vomit – throw up
  14. Allaiter – to nurse
  15. Une garderie – daycare, childcare
  16. Une garde d’enfant (une nounou is “mom” talk) – a nanny
  17. 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.

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What Sounds Do French Babies Make?

When a baby cries in French, it says: “Ouin-ouin”.

When it coos, it says: “areuh”. 

Areuh – is for sure the absolute first French word. All the difficulties of the French pronunciation: the French R and the EU sound in the first word said by French babies… isn’t that amazing!

Here is a video – you’ll hear mostly the French Mom saying “areuh”…. but she says it very well!

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Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Born and raised in Paris, I have been teaching today's French to adults for 23+ years in the US and France. Based on my students' goals and needs, I've created unique downloadable French audiobooks focussing on French like it's spoken today, for all levels. Most of my audiobooks are recorded at several speeds to help you conquer the modern French language. Good luck with your studies and remember, repetition is the key!

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