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Baby Language

Understanding Baby Talk

People say that moms can tell the difference between their newborn's cries. But, I felt like a complete loser when I couldn't distinguish the hunger cry from the tired whimper.

Then, I saw a special Oprah show that had me hanging on every word. Oprah's guest Priscilla Dunstan revealed five infant words and their meanings.

To see what the words are and what they mean,


Priscilla Dunstan was a talented violinist and opera singer who had, according to her father, a photographic memory for sound. She could hear a concert on the piano and play it back note for note.

Dunstan had her own child and became familiar with his language almost immediately. Curious to see if other children spoke the same lingo, she examined thousands of babies with worldly backgrounds. She tested her theory over nine years and through three independent international studies. In the end, her results confirmed what she had believed – there is a universal baby language, which is now called the Dunstan Baby Language. Here are the five basic words:

  • Eh – Burp Me
  • Eairh – I have wind (gas)
  • Neh – I'm hungry
  • Heh – Change me
  • Owh – I'm sleepy

After watching her explain her theory and then applying the lesson to my own child, I quickly realized that she was on to something. My daughter made those same sounds and often, they followed those examples.

For moms struggling to understand their babes, the $49 Dunstan System may be a good investment. For me, it was enough to just know the five "words" in my wee one's vocabulary.

Did your tot use these same sounds?

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