The sounds they make
Australian pediatrician Priscilla Dunstan has been studying and researching early childhood sounds (up to 3-4 months old) for more than 20 years. Thousands of babies of different nationalities have taken part in her experiments. Priscilla thinks that primary reflex sounds are international. After turning 4 months old, babies start to make sounds seeking communication which relate more to physical needs.
Priscilla opened her own school teaching new parents to understand their babies. It’s thought that the ability to recognize these sounds in time can prevent an upcoming crying episode.
The ’dictionary’ of the main sounds includes:
- ’Neh’ – “I’m hungry!” This sound is produced when the baby pushes their tongue up to the roof of their mouth and is triggered by the sucking reflex.
- ’Eh’ – “I’m gonna burp!” This sound is formed when excess air starts to leave the baby’s esophagus and the baby tries to reflexively release it from their mouth.
- ’Owh’ – “I’m sleepy or tired!” The baby produces this ’sound of tiredness’ by folding their lips before yawning.
- ’Heh’ – “I’m feeling uncomfortable!” Unpleasant tactile sensations make the baby move, and jerk their hands and feet. All these movements contribute to producing the ’Heh’ sound, especially when the baby’s mouth is slightly opened.
- ’Eairh’ – ’I have gases and pain in my tummy!’ The sounds they make get distorted and turn into a moan when a baby strains their tummy and exhales while trying to get rid of the pain.