As a first time parents, I was desperately trying to figure out what my newborn son needed. What did his cries mean? I came across a great DVD that explains what your newborn’s cries mean- “Dunstant Baby” I rented it from the library. This DVD taught you how to recognize if your baby was crying because he was hungry, tired, had gas, or was board/ need a change. The DVD shows a number of babies make these particular cries so it is very helpful to see the different cries actually produced. My son Cooper definitely made these cries. The most helpful cries were the ones for hunger, tired, and gas. It helped me to follow my son’s lead when it come to feeding him and following his hunger cues. I was on a baby wise feeding schedule, but if my son let out a cry for hunger “neh” I made sure I fed him. It helped me to not over feed him because there would be times he would cry, but it would be for other reasons such as tiredness, and I would just put him down for a nap at that point.
Here is a quick clip of the DVD from utube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ehv5m9gnu0
Here is what Wikipedia writes about the program:
Between 0-3 months, infants make what Dunstan calls sound reflexes. According to Dunstan, we all have reflexes, like sneezes, hiccups, and burps, that all have a recognizable pattern when sound is added to the reflex. There are other reflexes that all babies experience, and when sound is added to these, a distinct, preemptive “cry” will occur before the infant breaks into what Dunstan calls the hysterical cry. Dunstan claims that these preemptive cries can indicate what the infant requires (e.g., food, comfort, sleep, etc.), and they escalate to the hysterical cry if they are not answered. As the infant matures past 3 months in vocalization, the sound reflexes become replaced with more elaborate babbling.
According to Dunstan, the five universal words (or sound reflexes) used by infants are:
- Neh—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.
- Owh—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.
- Heh—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.
- Eairh—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 that is unable to release and travels to the stomach where the muscles of the intestine 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.
- Eh—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.