I just saw this fascinating clip from Oprah featuring Priscilla Dunston and her secret to understanding your baby’s cry!
To start out with, Priscilla has a photographic memory for sound. She remembers everything she hears. When she was 4 or 5 years old, her mother would play Mozart concertos and after hearing it only once, she could play them back by ear. In school, she didn’t have to take notes because she remembered everything the teachers said!
After she gave birth to her son, she realized that each sound he made signaled something– hunger, tired, needs to burp, etc. By listening to the pre-cry sounds he made, she would know just what he wanted before he got hysterical. At first, Priscilla thought this was just a personal language between her and her baby, but after going out and hearing other babies’ sounds and cries, she realized that she had actually discovered a universal baby language!
You should check out her website, dunstanbaby, to learn more. But for a basic preview of the 5 baby sounds and what they mean, check out this video:
To summarize, these are the sounds to listen for:
“NEH“ This sound mimics the way a baby sucks, and means “I’m hungry!”
“OWH” This sound, similar to a yawn, means “I’m tired!”
“HEH“ (listen for the “h”) signals discomfort- something is bothering him, needs to change diaper, change position, too hot, too cold, etc.
“EAIR“ This sound means your baby has lower gas and needs some help releasing it. You may also notice him pulling his legs up.
“EH“ Baby has an air bubble in his upper chest and needs to burp!
Note that these sound are reflexes that are natural in all babies age 0-3 months. After 3 months these specific reflexes may disappear. If your baby has been responded to according to his needs (and the sounds he makes) he may continue using them beyond 3 months.
I am gonna go out looking for babies to test this on! If you have any experience with the Dunston Baby Language, let us know by leaving a comment below!