Dunstan Baby Language: Game-Changer for New Parents

As a new parent, one of the most frustrating experiences is listening to your baby cry and not understanding why. It’s a guessing game that can leave you feeling helpless and overwhelmed.

But what if I told you there’s a secret language that can help you decode your baby’s cries? Enter the Dunstan Baby Language, a revolutionary parenting technique that changed my life as a new mom.

Woman holding her crying baby.

Discovering the Dunstan Baby Language

A friend introduced me to Priscilla Dunstan through her appearance on the Oprah show, where she discussed the Dunstan Baby Language.

Within the first 30 seconds of watching, I knew this was the missing puzzle piece I had been searching for.

It became clear that my baby didn’t have colic; I didn’t understand what his cries meant.

Dunstan Baby Words

Priscilla discovered that all babies make five distinct sounds or “words” to communicate their needs.

These words are reflexive sounds that babies make before crying to say if they are:

  • Hungry
  • Tired
  • Gassy
  • Uncomfortable

By learning these five sounds, you can understand your baby’s needs and respond accordingly, reducing crying and stress for you and your little one.

It was so incredibly helpful… I wish I had found it sooner!

A newborn baby crying and upset.  Why didn't anyone tell me about this secret baby language?

Priscilla Dunstan Oprah Winfrey Show Video

After you watch the video, invest some time learning the exact sound of each of your baby’s words.

Understanding Your Baby’s Cries

The basic needs of newborn babies aren’t a huge mystery: they might be hungry, sleepy, gassy, or uncomfortable. Your baby is using words to communicate with you! The problem is just figuring out which one it is ?.

It is estimated that infant distress is the number 1 source of stress for primary caregivers of newborn babies. 

The five sounds or “words” are:

  1. Neh: This means the baby is hungry.
  2. Owh: This is the tired signal.
  3. Eh: This means the baby has upper gas and needs to burp.
  4. Eairh: This means the baby has lower gas and needs to pass gas or have a bowel movement.
  5. Heh: The baby is physically uncomfortable (maybe a dirty diaper or too hot/cold).

By understanding why my baby was crying and responding to his needs quickly, I could decrease the amount of crying…Thus also decreasing my stress as a new mother.

Why your baby is crying. The secret no one is telling you.

Lasting Benefits:

  • Faster response to your baby’s needs.
  • Less guesswork and crying/fussiness.
  • Lower stress and frustration for parents.
  • More confidence for fathers.
  • Stronger bonding between parents and baby.

My Struggle as a New Mom

When my son was 3-4 weeks old, I spent countless hours searching, “Why is my baby crying?” and, “What to do if your baby won’t stop crying?”

I tried all the standard advice: feeding, changing, burping, napping–but nothing worked.

I started to believe my son had colic, which only added to my frustration and stress.

How The Dunstan Baby Language Helped My Baby

The Dunstan Baby Language teaches that babies will make different sounds depending on the gas type they are experiencing.

After learning the sounds, we knew if he was struggling to burp or pass gas, which allowed us to help him before he was hysterical from pain.

We noticed our son was constantly suffering from gas pains (thanks to the words he was saying!), which led us to take him to the pediatrician. He was diagnosed with reflux, began medication that day, and started improving immediately.

Our pediatrician said our son would have been labeled as colicky had we not realized his pain was tied to eating and gas.

She was happy we were able to treat him and get him the help he needed.

While the Dunstan Baby Language cannot be used to diagnose, treat, or cure an illness, it was a tool that let me identify that my son was gassy and in pain.

Dunstan Baby Language For Dads

Moms have a certain intuition when it comes to understanding the needs of a newborn.

Dads can get frustrated because of this.  They want to help but don’t know what the baby needs. The Dunstan Baby Language gives dads an understanding of what different baby noises and cries mean, allowing them to tend to their baby’s needs.

My husband loved being able to identify the big culprit for our son’s cries in those early weeks.

It gave him the confidence to address a situation independently, and in turn, I could relax ?!

Out of the dads surveyed in her research, Priscilla found that 66% of fathers reported less stress, were more involved in their baby’s care, and had more positive relationships with the mothers of the babies.


After more than eight years of research, the studies have found that 90% of mothers have benefited from the system.

Yes. By using the Dunstan Baby Language you can understand when your baby is tired, making it easier to get them to sleep and stay asleep.

Your newborn will make these sounds until they start producing words, babbling, and copying your sounds (between 4 and 6 months).

Priscilla has found that babies might need help passing gas for an hour or longer. Don’t give up on burping, massage, bicycle legs, etc. If they are still making the “eh” or “eairh” sound, they are still gassy.

Priscilla Dunstan noticed her son making these sounds and went on to study over one thousand babies to discover this universal language.

  1. Neh = Hungry
  2. Owh = Tired
  3. Eh = Upper gas pains/Need to burp
  4. Eairh = Lower gas pains/Need for bowel movement
  5. Heh = General discomfort (dirty diaper, too hot/cold, etc.)
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I am the founder of Mommy Maker Teacher and a mom of two toddlers. With a degree in education, 12+ years of experience as a K-12 teacher and curriculum developer, and courses in childhood psychology and language acquisition, I share research-backed parenting tips and advice. I provide helpful content for moms on all stages of motherhood—from trying to conceive and pregnancy to postpartum, breastfeeding, and parenting.