After being reinspired by those Signing Time home videos sent in by mothers who taught their babies to sign, I decided to dig out the Sign Language book I bought some time back. I was reading the chapter on “Birth to Three Months”, which I skipped the last time because Gavin was already four months old by the time I bought the book, and there was a mention of something really interesting referred to as “The Secret Language of Babies“.
You can click the link to read more about it, but here’s the gist of it.
From birth to the age of three months, all babies have instinctive sound reflexes that mean specific things. If their parents don’t respond appropriately to the the sounds that they make, they eventually stop using them. These are the five sound reflexes apparently all babies are born with:
1. “Neh” – means “I’m hungry”
2. “Owh” – means “I’m sleepy”
3. “Heh” – means “I’m experiencing discomfort”
4. “Eair” – means “I have lower gas”
5. “Eh” – means “I need to burp”
These are the pre-cry sounds that all babies make before they launch into full scale crying. If you catch them early, you tend to your baby’s needs and head off the crying bouts. The Secret Language of Babies was discovered by a mother from Australia called Priscilla Dunstan.
I’ve read before in books that babies have specific cries to mean specific things that their parents will eventually learn to pick up but never have I ever read a book that told me what specific sounds meant what. One of my biggest concerns as a new Mum was that I wouldn’t be able to figure out what my baby’s cries meant. I sort of figured I would use the old “try until you get it right” tactic that goes something like:
1. “Do you want Mummy to hold you?” If no, see 2.
2. “Are you hungry?” If no, see 3.
3. “Do you need to change your diaper?” If no, see 4.
4. “Do you need to burp?” If no, see 5.
5. “Are you sleepy?”
Well, you get the drift…
I never quite got to the point where I could discern certain sounds with certain meanings. Well, looks like this little gem of information isn’t a complete waste since I’m planning to try it on baby number two to see if it works (Aileen, maybe you can try it first and tell me if it worked for you, or anyone reading this post who’s about to have a baby).