As a new parent, the joy your baby brings is often accompanied by the challenges of crying. There are moments in which you would give almost anything to understand, respond to and make your baby’s crying stop. What if we would tell you that is possible to achieve all that? How? By using a universal baby language called “Dunstan Baby Language”.
In the following lines, you can find some highlights of this system.
What is “Dunstan Baby Language”?
Priscilla Dunstan is an Australian woman who possesses a photographic memory for sounds, a talent she discovered in her childhood and practiced during her adolescence while touring Asia and Europe as a concert violinist. Thanks to this talent, she was able to discover in the crying of her son, Tomas, patterns that she investigated further in studies and observations made on more than 1,000 babies. The sounds made by the studied babies confirmed that a specific cry has a specific meaning. After nearly 10 years of research, in Australia and worldwide, the sounds have been formally classified and thus created the “Dunstan Baby Language”, a system which enables parents to listen, understand and respond to their infants’ needs. Researchers have established that “Dunstan Baby Language” is most effective for babies between 0 and 3 months old.
The secret language of babies
Crying is the way in which babies and especially newborns communicate with their parents or caretakers. The “Dunstan Baby Language” (or DBL) teaches parents to listen and decipher the sounds their babies are making before actually starting to cry (these sounds are made in the “pre-cry stage”). By doing so, parents can detect and satisfy their babies’ needs before the crying escalates.
The five cries of babies
The studies conducted by Priscilla Dunstan have indicated that babies make the same pre-cry sounds, no matter their gender, race or nationality. Here are the five cries as stated by DBL system:
Neh – I am hungry
This sound is a response to the sucking reflex, one of the reflexes your baby develops in the wombs. The baby needs to be fed every 3 to 4 hours. However, feeding on demand – meaning when you hear the baby making the “Neh” sound - is essential in order to keep your baby happy and peaceful. Other signs that are associated with the need to be fed are: turning the head from side to side, fists’ sucking, tongue moving in his or her mouth or licking of lips.
Owh – I am tired
This is based on another reflex – the yawning one – and is a sign that your baby is ready to go to sleep. The baby’s mouth takes the shape of an oval as she or he says “Owh”. Responding immediately by putting the baby to sleep will enable her him or her to fall asleep a lot easier. Other signs which indicate baby’s fatigue are eye rubbing, ear pulling or bouncing movements.
Eh – I need to burp
When your baby’s chest is constricting, trying to force the wind up, you will hear this effort signalized by a series of short “Eh, Eh, Eh” cries. Newborn babies need to burp after a feed and also throughout the day and night because they lie flat for long periods of time. “Eh” cry is a very important one as responding to it in the proper manner prevents your baby from crying for long periods of time. Other signs that help you recognize your baby’s need to burp are fussing during feeding or squirming while laid down.
Eairh – I need to eliminate gas
This sound is linked to the “Eh” sound: if you help your baby burp when he or she makes the “Eh” sound (by placing the baby on the stomach or by massaging the tummy), then the “Eairh” sound (which indicates the built up and movement of air and lower wind pain) will disappear taking with it potential long periods of crying that will make you and the baby feel distressed and uncomfortable. You can identify the need associated with “eairh” sound also by the tension of your baby’s body, the face grimaces or the legs pulled towards the tummy.
Heh – I feel uncomfortable
The baby up to three months old uses this sound to signalize that he or she needs a diaper change or that is feeling uncomfortable. Newborns lack the ability to regulate their body temperature and that makes them feel cold or become over heated. The expelling of air will help you identify the “H” from the sound “Heh” and separate it from other sounds the baby makes.
If your baby has cold hands or feet, if he or she is shivering or has a sweaty head or if the baby stops feeding, it’s time to check what is the problem and find solutions.
How to decipher the newborn cries
Deciphering your newborn cries needs some practice, since the babies are slightly different than grown-ups. By actively listening to your baby’s cries, you will start to understand what he or she is trying to tell you. Each sound the baby is making is different and has a special meaning. In the first week after the baby is born, the parents will need to focus on learning the top 3 sounds, which signalize hunger, fatigue and need to burp. Once the parents manage to identify quick and correct these 3 words, they can move to the other 2 words (in the second week).
New parents can use “Baby Notes” as a journal in which they can write about the baby’s day. For example, this journal can contain, at first, notes about the baby’s feed to sleep cycle. Once you get to know better your baby, you will manage to write also about his or her crying periods and crying sounds and activities
By using Baby Notes, you will be able to find solutions that will make your baby feel comfortable at all time.
Basic elements of baby language
The newborn language consists mainly of crying, with a peak during 6 to 8 weeks old. In the first months, the way your baby responds to the changes in her or his routine will give you an idea about the baby’s temperament. You will know you have a sensitive baby if he or she is prone to over-stimulation or if the baby startles easily.
If your baby is easy to settle or comfort, then chances are that your baby will adjust without difficulty to new situations.
In the first 3 months, aside from the sounds mentioned above, your baby’s “vocabulary” will contain also a surprising “ooh”, lots of cooing, gurgling, arms and legs waving (as an indicator of joy) and, of course, plenty of smiles. :)