I remember hearing a year and a half or so ago about a mother who had distinguished different types of newborn cries and discovered that each of these newborn basics cries meant that the newborn was trying to communicate different things.
Pricilla Dunstan, an Australian mother who claims to have a photographic memory of sound, used her special ear to truly listen to her newborn son. She quickly realized that he had five different cries. After listening to other newborns she came up with a theory that all newborns, regardless of race, from the ages of zero to three months, had the same five newborn cries, each meaning the same thing. She tested this theory on one thousand newborns and it proved to be true.
I remember hearing about her and being astounded at how quickly she met the needs of her baby based on his cry and wishing that I would have had that information when my children were newborns and newborn cries filled my own household.
There are five basic cries are listed below. To actually hear the cries you can search for Pricilla Dunstan or newborn cries or five types of newborn cries to find videos posted on the internet. This knowledge is incredibly helpful when trying to determine what it is that your baby needs or is trying to communicate to you.
The key to using these five types of newborn cries to determine what it is that your baby is trying to communicate to you is to listen to the pre-cry, not the hysterical cry. Before a baby really gets upset they tend to attempt to communicate their needs, if those needs are not met, then a baby begins to hysterically cry at which point you can’t really distinguish what it is that s/he is needing. After a bit of listening on your own part you should easily be able to identify your own baby’s newborn cries.
Five types of Newborn Cries
Neh – The “neh” sound in the secret language of newborn basics means “I’m hungry”. Apparently as a baby’s sucking reflex kicks in and the tongue is pushed to the roof of the mouth the sound that comes out is a “neh” sound.
Owh – The “owh” sound is made in the reflex of a yawn which means, yep, you guessed it, “I’m sleepy”.
Heh – the “heh” sounds (similar to “neh” so be careful that you hear the beginning /h/ sound) means discomfort. This particular of the newborn cries is to let you know that the baby is uncomfortable – cold, itchy, need a new diaper, need a new position in which to lie, etc.
Eair – The “eair” sound means lower gas. It’s a deeper sound that comes from the abdomen. It is a bit more difficult to distinguish than the rest but is usually accompanied by a newborn pulling his/her knees up or pushing down and out with his/her legs. Baby’s body, not only his/her face, will look uncomfortable.
Eh – The “eh” sound means that a baby needs to burp. It is similar, again, to “neh” and “heh” but remember that you are listening for those beginning sounds, not the ending sounds. When you hear, “Eh, ehhhhh” your newborn is telling you “Burp me, please”.
If we have a third baby, I am definitely going to put these sounds to use when newborn cries fill my household and newborn basics care becomes my daily routine.