Understanding the Universal Language of Babies

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Many parents would appreciate a guidebook to understand the language of newborns. Even while each baby is unique, some commonalities might aid parents in understanding the unspoken language of infants. 

While many parents worry when their kids cry, in reality, it’s the best and only way they can tell you that they need your attention, so try not to feel anxious when you hear your baby crying. 

You could have noticed that your child might coo at you when it’s happy and scream when dissatisfied. You may have observed that your baby’s cries occasionally sound different. 

What does each wail mean, though? If only your infant could communicate their needs to you at three in the morning so that you may both go back to sleep. It does seem possible to speak your baby’s language, though. 

Pay attention to the sounds and syllables of the cry, and you will quickly master the art of interpreting their cries. You can start assisting them in resolving the problem once you determine what is causing them to cry.

Parents should try deciphering their baby’s cries using Dunstan’s baby language. No matter where they are born or what language their parents speak, newborns have a universal language, according to the Dunstan method. 

Dunstan baby language 

Australian opera diva Priscilla Dunstan developed the Dunstan baby language. She noticed that every baby made a particular sound before crying. Dunstan claims that by being familiar with these sounds, you can determine what your baby is trying to tell you before their cries escalate. 

Despite not being a speech therapist or baby expert, Dunstan spent eight years researching babies worldwide using her talents as a singer and vocalist. In the end, Dunstan infant language emerged. 

The Dunstan baby language is more of a method than a language. For most babies, it’s straightforward for parents and other caretakers to learn and implement. 

What are the baby’s cries trying to tell you?

Universal Language of Babies

NEH – Baby cries out “Neh” when they are hungry. When a baby’s tongue meets the roof of their mouth, a sucking reflex is triggered, producing the sound. This is an excellent technique to tell whether your baby is starving or just seeking comfort from nursing. 

Watch for signs of hunger to prevent your infant from becoming overly hungry. Hands-in-mouth gestures and clenched fists are examples of hunger indicators. 

Naturally, if a baby makes this sound after eating, you should check their weight and growth milestones to ensure they get enough milk or formula. Prepare to feed your baby when you hear this sound. 

HEH – It might be challenging to distinguish the short “Heh” sound from the longer “Neh” due to their similarity in length. However, this noise is a sure sign that the infant is uneasy. 

This sound is a definite sign of discomfort, regardless of whether the diaper is too tight or wet, the room is too cold, the baby has a rash, is teething, or is lying in an uncomfortable posture.  

Check the baby’s diaper and the room’s temperature after removing them from the seat. Finding the cause of discomfort may require a little more investigation, but occasionally, a baby needs an extra hug or a quick foot massage. 

EAIR – “EAIR” sounds like an extended “Air” sound, typically indicating lower abdominal digestive discomfort. This sound is frequently made by babies experiencing colic, and it can be painful, making parents anxious.

Massaging a baby’s feet or abdomen can rapidly ease any intestinal distress. Stretching and moving the baby’s hips is another option for relieving pain.  

EH – A baby making the ‘EH’ sound has gas suffocating their upper abdomen. Babies are making noise as they attempt to expel air from their chests. Feed the infant carefully and practise burping them while taking numerous breaks.  

Additionally, you can try various techniques, such as the football hold, in which you gently thud their back while applying pressure to their tummy. Another trick is always to burp upward rather than down the back since you want to encourage the baby to expel the gas from their mouth and chest. 

OWH – A prolonged, drawn-out “OWH” sound may indicate that the baby is overstimulated and needs sleep. It resembles an extended “Ouch” sans the “ch,” with the baby’s mouth forming an oval. 

Babies frequently wake up later than expected, which causes them to get overtired and make this sound. Finding a wake-sleep chart for your baby’s age will help you determine when to put your child to bed so they don’t become overtired, even if you don’t want to wait too long to put your child to sleep. 

Find a calm, darkly lit space, go through a fast wind-down process, and put the baby in the cot as soon as possible. Try rocking the infant back and forth if you are away from home. 

If we can recognise these five sounds, it is known as the precry stage. We can comprehend what a baby requires before the onset of full-blown crying, which Dunstan calls the siren, universal throughout countries, races, and ethnic groups. 

Everyone in the family will experience less stress if you can attend to the child’s needs at this precry stage when the sounds are still soft, and you will be building a great and secure bond with the baby. 

Additionally, studies show that newborns whose parents can comprehend their speech in this way sleep more soundly. The Dunstan system may also aid mothers in lowering their risk of postpartum depression because it increases parental confidence and alleviates some of the exhaustion.  

Dunstan also recommends looking at the following baby movements.  

Head turning – Your baby may be about to nod off if she makes this movement without crying. Your baby is probably unhappy or in pain if she is sobbing and moving her head from side to side. 

Arching back –Your kid may be uncomfortable if he shapes himself into a bow. If your baby’s back arches, they may be colicky, bloated, or overfed. When a baby is exhausted or uncomfortable, older babies (those older than two months) may arch their backs. 

Flailing arms – This could indicate that your infant is frightened or startled. 

Raising their legs – Your infant may be experiencing colic or gas if she is elevating or bending her legs towards her stomach. Or perhaps she’s just content and wants to play! 

Fist clenching – Fist clenching is frequently misinterpreted as a sign of discomfort or rage, but it could also indicate that your infant is hungry—or even hungry. 

When your infant is still learning how to create new sounds, Dunstan baby language is most effective. This is because your baby’s normal, reflexive baby sounds may change as she tries to make sounds and speak. 

You can start speaking to them in Dunstan when your kid is born. Even if your kid is a little older, you can still use it because it is most helpful for infants under three months old. 

Baby language development 

Until three months old, newborn babies make sounds that are not speech or language; the baby vocal reflexes employed in Dunstan baby language are called baby sounds. 

This implies that, depending on how it is feeling, the baby will naturally generate certain noises using its voice box. 

Every baby’s language development is unique. When you speak to your baby at the age of two months, it might chuckle and laugh as it tries to imitate your lip movements. 

Your kid might start making sounds and babbling a month later. The infant vocal reflexes employed in Dunstan baby language may alter a little at this point. 

Most infants start using repeat syllables like “mama” and “baba” and duplicate sounds between 6 and 9 months. 

You will learn to speak with your child more quickly as you practise listening to the sounds and phrases of your baby’s crying. You can soothe your baby in various ways, such as by massage, nursing, changing diapers, giving them a dummy, or using soft vibrations.  


When you’re attempting to comfort your crying child, any little bit of understanding is helpful. You can respond to your baby’s cries and movements more quickly and effectively, increasing your confidence as a new parent. 

Dunstan baby language is a method to assist you in comprehending your newborn’s crying. Although many parents have reported that it works for them, but it might not work for other parents. 


1. At what age do babies start using language? 

Most babies say their first word during their first 12 to 18 months.

2. How do babies learn? 

Babies learn through their senses – hands, eyes, ears, nose and mouth. As they start growing, they use their 
body to discover movements.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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