It’s always a frustrating thing, trying to understand what your baby is trying to say and what they want before they can speak. Communication can be problematic or sometimes even impossible between the parent and the baby before they come to an age that they can speak.

However, there are several ways of figuring out what your baby wants or needs. Aside from the laughter and the crying, babies have many tell-tale signs that can help parents understand what the baby is trying to say.

Many parents make an assumption on what the baby’s sounds, gestures and cries mean, but they are usually wrong. There are many practical methods to get that assumption, and transform it into a complete translation.

In November 2006, Pricilla Dustan from Australia appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, to illustrate her ‘Dustan Baby Language’ theory, even though it hasn’t been scientifically proven yet. Even though many scientists may be skeptical about this approach, parents who have followed these methods can see that most of the time, they are right.

So here are 18 ways that parents can observe their babies, and understand what they are trying to say:

The Cries:

Sleepy Cry
All of us get whiny when we are tired. It is no different with babies. When their cry sounds whiny, and they rub their eyes and ears, it means that they want to sleep, but can’t

Hunger Cry
Starting as a calling cry if the baby isn’t fed or answered, it has a tendency to become hysteria. If babies rotate their head, and make smacking sounds with their mouth, it means that they are hungry.

Pain Cry
This is a louder and constant cry than any of the other cries. If the baby is in more pain, the more hysterical the cries are. If they exhaust themselves from crying, their cries will become quiet and tiresome.

Discomfort Cry
When babies are too cold, too hot, or needs a diaper changed, their cry will be intermitted and irritated. There is a chance that they may squirm uncontrollably or thrash and arch their bodies.

Calling Cry
If the baby cried intermittently (baby cries around 5-6 times, then stops, and then continues after 20 seconds), it is probably that the baby wants someone to pick them up. If this happens, the cycle of cries will continue.

Psychological Cry
A whiny and squeaky cry, this is because of the discomfort the baby is feeling from bloating, gas, urination or defecation.

Environmental Cry
This can be a reason for a few different things. But, if the baby is just bored or is unhappy with the place that they are, they will cry to convey their frustrations.

The Way They Move:

Back Arching
This movement is specific for babies under 2 months old, and is done when babies are experiencing colic or pain. If this is done after a meal, it means that they are full. But, if this movement is done in the process of eating, it is a possibility that it is the cause of reflux. Moreover, if a baby is older than 2 months and this movement is done, it is likely that they are tired.

Fist Clenching
Babies usually clench their fists when they are hungry. If you see your baby’s clenching of fists at the beginning, you will save yourself from the outburst of cries that the baby will be sure to convey.

Ear Grabbing
This usually shows that the baby is exploring their features, unless they continuously tend to touch their ears. If this is persistent, it is best that you consult your pediatrician.

Arm Jerking
Babies jerk their arms when startled by bright lights, loud noises or even sudden awakening. It only means that the baby got frightened.

Head Rotation
For most babies, head rotation is a calming movement. They will do this if they are going to fall asleep or are trying to calm themselves.

Leg Lifting
This movement means colic and tummy pain of your baby. With this motion, babies try to ease their pain.

Common Sounds Babies Make

‘Eh’
Your baby will release this sound before they burp as the excess air starts to go up from their esophagus.

‘Neh’
Babies can use this sound by pushing their tongues up to the roof of their mouth, signaling that they are hungry and want to eat. The sucking reflex also starts this sound.

Owh’
Babies use this sound to tell you that they are sleepy and tired by folding their lips before yawning, concurrently making this sound.

‘Eairh’
When your baby feels uncomfortable because of the pain from bloating or gas, they will make this sound. This happens as they try to exhale to ease their irritations.

‘Heh’
Babies show their discomfort by using this sound. Moreover, they will move their hands and feet with this sound if they feel uncomfortable or have any unpleasant sensations.

Even though these movements, sounds, and cries are not that easy to recognize, they can be beneficial once you understand what exactly they look like. By using these approaches, you will get to know exactly what your baby tries to tell you before they grow up and start to speak.