For effective communication, infants must develop the phonology of sounds and the ability to use vocalizations in social interactions. Few studies have examined the development of the pragmatic use of prelinguistic vocalizations, possibly because gestures are considered hallmarks of early pragmatic skill. The current study investigated infant vocal production and maternal responsiveness to examine the relationship between infant and maternal behavior in the development of infants' vocal communication. Specifically, we asked whether maternal responses to vocalizations could influence the development of prelinguistic vocal usage, as has been documented in recent experimental studies exploring the relation between maternal responses and phonological development. Twelve mother–infant dyads participated over a six-month period (between 8 and 14 months of age). Mothers completed the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory when infants were 15 months old. Maternal sensitive responses to infant vocalizations in the previous months predicted infants' mother-directed vocalizations in the following months, rather than overall response rate. Furthermore, mothers' sensitive responding to mother-directed vocalizations was correlated with an increase in developmentally advanced, consonant–vowel vocalizations and some language measures. This is the first study to document a social shaping mechanism influencing developmental change in pragmatic usage of vocalizations in addition to identifying the specific behaviors underlying development.