Dunstan Baby Language Helps You Understand Your Baby

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Dunstan baby languageWhen a baby cries, your instinct is to go to them and make everything better. But figuring out what your little one needs can be a guessing game. Are they hungry? Tired? Feeling bad?

Many parents are tuned in to their baby’s needs. They know when their child wants food or it’s time for a nap. One mom, Priscilla Dunstan, was unusually good at understanding what her baby wanted. She noticed he made the same sounds over and over again, and that each sound corresponded to a particular need such as feeling sleepy or uncomfortable.

Dunstan wondered if other babies did the same, so she conducted research. Based on her experience as a mother and her studies of other infants, Dunstan identified five sounds babies make just before crying.

She found that infants everywhere use the same language. Gender, nationality and locale make no difference.

The only thing that matters is age. The Dunstan baby language (DBL) is said to be most accurate for babies up to 3 months old. The sounds are not a secret language but based on reflexes that all infants have. The reflexes translate to recognizable sounds according to Dunstan.

Some moms and dads using the DBL system have found that it helps them comfort an infant and prevent prolonged crying jags. You can learn more about DBL here.

From the Mouth of Babes

Babies make these sounds just as they begin crying. If you can satisfy them quickly, they won’t erupt into wails. The sounds turn into full blown crying if you aren’t able to calm them.

Here’s what to listen for if you want to try out Dunstan’s theory:

  • Neh: means “I’m hungry.” Babies make this sound when they begin crying while sucking on their tongue.
  • Owh: means “I’m sleepy.” This is the sound of a yawn.
  • Heh: signals discomfort. Your baby may need a diaper change, another blanket or a dry drool bib.
  • Eair: is a clue that your little one is suffering from gas in the low belly. Besides making this sound, your baby may move their legs up and down.
  • Eh: means your baby needs to burp.

You may easily recognize some of these sounds in your baby’s cries. Others are harder to hear. “Neh,” “heh” and “eh,” for example, are pretty similar. Listen closely and pay special attention to the start and end of each sound.

Have you’ve tried the DBL system? Did it help you soothe your baby?


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