Here Are Nine Signs To Help You Understand Your Baby Before They Can Talk

Though babies are not able to actually talk, they do try to communicate with their parents and loved ones. While it can be frustrating for parents to not understand what their baby is trying to say, it’s important to remember that these little ones are smarter than we would think and that have their own ways of communicating.

Priscilla Dunstan is an Australian parenting expert who has theorized that babies use recognizable sound reflexes and body movements to communicate different moods and needs. She worked tirelessly to transcribe a body language system that parents can look at to figure out what their babies are trying to tell them. When Dunstan appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show to talk about it, the legendary television host even said, “For any new mother, this could be life-changing. I love this.”

We’ve compiled nine of Dunstan’s body language methods, so scroll through them and see if it helps you understand your child more!

Method 1: Types of cries

The calling cry: Babies crave attention, so if babies cry intermittently by letting out five or six wails at a time, they probably just want someone to hold them. They often use this cry when they have been woken up by something, or heard a noise that scared them.

The hunger cry: If it starts off as a low cry that gets louder and louder, the baby is probably hungry. This cry will likely not stop until the baby is fed.

Environmental cry: If babies are unhappy with the environment they are in, they will likely let out even-toned cries. This cry also can come out when they are hot or cold, or just bored.

Method 2: Types of movement

Head-rotation: This is a sign of relaxation that babies often give when they are falling asleep. If they do this while crying, however, they are probably in discomfort.

Fist-clenching: Parents typically misinterpret this as a sign of pain, but it is actually usually a baby’s way of saying he or she is hungry. The baby will then relax it’s hand when it has been fed and is therefore content.

Arm-jerking: A baby will jerk his or her arms to communicate fear or sudden emotions. A baby’s arms may jerk reflexively when the infant wakes up suddenly or is startled by a loud noise. If this happens, pick up your baby to calm the infant down.

Method 3: Reflexive sounds

Eh’ – A baby makes this sound when trying to burp or release air, and while it can sometimes be inaudible, it can also be very loud.

Heh’ – This sound indicates that the baby is uncomfortable or scared, and it is often made at the same time as a jerking motion. The sound can also be made reflexively when a baby is tired or in need of a change.

Owh’ – This may be the cutest baby sound ever, and it is made when an infant is exhausted and in need of rest. They will make this sound reflexively when tired with their lips pressed open in an O-shape.

Find out more about the Dunstan baby language in the video below.


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