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Cracking the code: The secret language of babies

Naomi de la Torre is freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom with two delightful boys, ages three and six. Naomi has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, is a self-proclaimed salsa diva, and can make a killer octopus ...

Is your baby talking to you?

Believe it or not, babies have a secret language, and they are trying to talk to you. Learn how to crack the code and discover a whole new relationship with your baby.

The newborn stage is a miraculous time in the life of your baby. Magnificent changes happen right before your very eyes as your baby grows, coos, smiles and laughs for the first time. But for new parents, it can also be a time of many challenges as you struggle to understand what your baby needs from one moment to the next.

As patient and nurturing as you are, it can be very frustrating trying to calm a crying baby who won't settle down. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there was a simple way to read your baby's mind and understand what exactly he or she needs? Would you be shocked if we told you there already is?

The secret language of babies

Priscilla Dunstan, founder of Dunstan Baby Language, believes she has unlocked the secret to understanding newborn babies' cries. Thanks to her photographic memory for sound, Dunstan was able to hear the differences between the sounds of infant cries and unlock the meaning behind them.

"Because of my gift for sound, I was able to pick out certain patterns in [my son's] cries and then remember what those patterns were later on when he cried again," Dunstan says. "I realized that other babies were saying the same words."

Cracking the code

Dunstan tested her baby language theory on more than 1,000 infants around the world and her hypothesis proved true. There are just a handful of words that babies (age 0-3 months) are saying, and they are telling you exactly what you need to know.

Learn how to understand baby talk

Ready to become bilingual in baby talk? Here's how. There are five main sounds that babies will make when they need something. And they fall into the categories you might expect -- tired, sleepy, hungry, gassy, need to be burped. But the trick is you have to catch them when they are first talking to you before they become agitated and burst into an all-out wail. Here's a breakdown of the sounds and their meanings:

  • Owh
  • Heh
  • Eh
  • Neh
  • Eairh
  • I'm sleepy
  • Change me
  • Burp me
  • I'm hungry
  • I have gas

Communicate with your baby

Want to learn more? Visit the DunstanBaby.com to learn more or order your copy of the Dunstan Baby Language DVD.

It may take some practice to learn how to identify the sounds and their accompanying meanings, but parents who've used the system can't praise it enough. "I am shocked to discover that babies can actually communicate with us in a way we moms can actually understand. The Dunstan method has completely revolutionized my ability to respond to my baby's needs," say Rhonda Wilson, mom of two.

Watch Priscilla Dunstan explain Dunstan Baby Language on Oprah

More parenting advice for new moms

6 Tips for heading home with a newborn
5 Breastfeeding tips for new moms
Baby's first road trip

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