Understanding Your Baby’s Cry: A Personal Encounter with Dunstan Baby Language

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I also earn from qualifying purchases.

If I had a dime for every single thing I felt clueless about during my first pregnancy, I’d probably own a tropical island by now. Yes, my dear readers, being pregnant with my first was quite the roller-coaster ride, punctuated with waves of excitement, fear, and confusion. Amid this whirlwind, I stumbled upon a beacon of enlightenment — the Pregtastic podcast.

While they’ve since turned off the microphone, their profound words of wisdom continue to resonate through their old episodes. If you’re on the journey to parenthood, or even thinking about it, it’s an absolute gold mine that I wholeheartedly recommend.

During one of those enlightening Pregtastic sessions, I was introduced to the Dunstan Baby Language (DBL). A linguistic wizardry of sorts, that unlocks the secret code of baby cries. Created by Priscilla Dunstan, this phenomenon struck me with intrigue and excitement, and of course, I had to get my hands on the DBL DVD.

Looking back now, it feels as though it was only yesterday when I held the DVD in my hands, filled with anticipation. My maternal journey since then has been enriched by this fascinating language, and today, I’m thrilled to share my experience with you.

As it’s been some time since I last watched the DVD, I decided to refresh my memory with the Oprah Show featuring Priscilla Dunstan herself. Let me tell you, the magic was still there. Every nugget of wisdom about the Dunstan Baby Language was encapsulated perfectly in the episode.

I must admit, the DBL is not a universal translator. I’ve heard parents say that it didn’t exactly help them decipher their baby’s cries. That being said, the scales tilt heavily towards the side of success. For my two little ones, it was almost like having a direct line to their thoughts and needs. Perhaps it will ring true for my third as well, fingers crossed!

Now, what’s this Dunstan Baby Language all about, you ask? As Oprah puts it, it’s about “turning cries into communication.” The DBL is a system that Priscilla Dunstan developed after noticing patterns in her baby’s cries and realizing they were consistent across different babies. “We all have reflexes as newborns,” she said, “and those reflexes create sounds.”

The DBL identifies five universal sounds made by babies, each indicating a different need: hunger (‘neh’), sleepiness (‘owh’), discomfort from gas (‘eh’), burping need (‘burh’), and general discomfort (‘heh’).

While I admit that learning a new language can be daunting, especially when you’re juggling nappies, feedings, and lack of sleep, the benefits are undeniable. “It’s about giving parents the opportunity to respond correctly, the first time, before the baby gets upset,” Dunstan says.

It certainly worked wonders for me. I remember the relief I felt when I recognized a ‘neh’ sound and could respond immediately to my baby’s hunger, even before the wails escalated. It felt like a minor victory amidst the battleground of new parenthood.

So, my fellow parents-to-be or seasoned parents, let’s embark on this linguistic adventure and tune into our little ones’ unique symphony of cries. Imagine how much smoother our parenthood journeys could be if we could preempt our babies’ needs before they turned into full-blown wailing sessions.

In my experience, the Dunstan Baby Language has been an invaluable asset. There were days when I felt like an accomplished linguist, successfully translating baby cries into action. It helped me feel more in control, more attuned to my baby’s needs, and yes, even more rested as I could often avoid the tireless guesswork that comes with an inconsolable baby.

If you’re still on the fence about giving the DBL a whirl, consider this quote from Priscilla Dunstan: “It doesn’t matter what your cultural background is. It doesn’t matter the nationality of the mother… The sounds that were coming from the infant were reflex based and therefore universal”.

My parting advice to all new parents or parents-to-be reading this: equip yourself with patience, perseverance, and a sense of humor. Oh, and a copy of the Dunstan Baby Language DVD (which you can find here wouldn’t go amiss either). While parenthood is indeed a challenging journey, remember that you are not alone.


And, who knows? You may be pleasantly surprised by how well you can converse with your newborn, despite them being just a few weeks old. Now, if that’s not a fascinating testament to the wonders of parenthood, I don’t know what is.

Finally, to make your DBL journey easier, I’ve created a handy infographic, a visual dictionary if you will, that you can save to your Pinterest board. Remember, ‘neh’ for hunger, ‘owh’ for sleep, ‘eh’ for gas, ‘burh’ for burp, and ‘heh’ for discomfort. Keep these close to your heart, or perhaps on your fridge door, and you’ll soon be fluent in your baby’s language.

To all the brave souls about to embark on this incredible journey called parenthood, I wish you the very best. Remember, every baby cry is a symphony waiting to be understood. Let’s get deciphering, shall we?

What Your Baby's Cry MeansPin

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top