Mix of motherhood, writing, photography and homemaking

Baby Language

January 12, 2012

If you’re a mom you’ve definitely experienced those moments when your baby (or babies) cries or gibbers and you don’t know what to do. You’re pretty sure they’re telling you something you just don’t know what. In 2006, Priscilla Dunstan released a DVD set called The Dunstan Baby Language which covered five universal words babies use.

According to her, the five words (or sound reflexes) used by infants are:


I’m hungry – An infant uses the sound reflex “Neh” to communicate its hunger. The sound is produced when the sucking reflex is triggered, and the tongue is pushed up on the roof of the mouth.


I’m sleepy – An infant uses the sound reflex “Owh” to communicate that they are tired. The sound is produced much like an audible yawn.


I’m experiencing discomfort – An infant uses the sound reflex “Heh” to communicate stress, discomfort, or perhaps that it needs a fresh diaper. The sound is produced by a response to a skin reflex, such as feeling sweat or itchiness in the bum.


I have lower gas – An infant uses the sound reflex “Eairh” to communicate they have flatulence or an upset stomach. The sound is produced when trapped air from a belch is unable to release and travels to the stomach where the muscles of the intestines tighten to force the air bubble out. Often, this sound will indicate that a bowel movement is in progress, and the infant will bend its knees, bringing the legs toward the torso. This leg movement assists in the ongoing process.


I have gas – An infant uses the sound reflex “Eh” to communicate that it needs to be burped. The sound is produced when a large bubble of trapped air is caught in the chest, and the reflex is trying to release this out of the mouth.

Amazingly, as shown in the video above when Dunstan guested on Oprah, different babies make same sound reflexes. With a group of moms and their babies, we were shown that knowing these reflexes helped the mothers determine what to do when they hear any of the words.

There are still moms who claim that this language recognition is not effective for them…Dunstan explained that yes, maybe for 1 out of 10 moms, it may be different. Anyway, I surely hoped that I’ve known this years ago, when I was starting out as a mom.

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  2. As a Mom, we have to be as innovative, as creative in understanding the language of our kids….This post is indeed very helpful for Moms with infants

  3. Haha I’m imitating the sound silently on my mind, and yes they are correct, based on my experiences with my children, nieces and nephews and other babies..

  4. This is so interesting and informative! 😀 I wouldn’t have kids of my own yet, but I’ll definitely remember this. Will try to observe my baby niece din.. hehe.. ^^

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