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My Baby is Making Strange Sounds: How Do I Know what’s Normal or Not?

Osteolife | June 13, 2018 | Parenting

From their crying to cooing to their very first laugh, parents are enthralled by their little one’s every move and sound. Take a few moments and search “baby sounds” on YouTube and you will be hit with thousands of videos with these little people exercising their vocal abilities, many of them crying of course. As a new parent, you may be stunned to learn that babies are not only into cute little babbling sounds, but their vocal abilities can present an enormous range of unusual tones and pitches. So, you may be curious whether your little one’s sounds are “normal” or if they should be a cause for concern. How do you know?

Here are 3 things to bear in mind when decoding your baby’s sounds:

Look and Listen—You may sometimes wish you could read your baby’s mind, but that’s simply not possible, is it? So, what can you do? Look and listen! Getting to know your baby’s sounds by being actively engaged and interacting with your child face-to-face is a sure fire way to decode what your child is trying to tell you. In addition to listening to their cries, it’s critical to watch for other (non-verbal) signs such as body position, facial expression, and other movements your baby is making as they make these sounds. Being in tune will help you learn what the baby is trying to say.

Film It—While most parents are known to capture every cute moment with a photo or video when all is going well, you might not realize that capturing those not-so-sweet moments is important, too. Concerned by those unusual sounds your child is making? Get everything on film, especially those times when your child is making sounds that you think are concerning (of course, if you are alarmed by something, put down the camera or phone and tend to your child). By getting some footage of the sounds and/or crying, you’re able to show your child’s medical provider what is actually occurring so they can properly diagnose the cause if necessary or simply put your mind at ease by telling you, “That’s perfectly normal, Mom.”

Know These 5 Cries—According to Priscilla Dunstan, creator of the Dunstan Baby Language, babies’ cries are an important and necessary way to communicate and each of the 5 sounds in the baby language is related to expressing a different need. The 5 primary words in the Dunstan Baby Language are:

  1. neh” for hunger,
  2. eh” for burping,
  3. owh” for tiredness,
  4. eairh” for gassy, and
  5. heh” for discomfort.

Learning to listen to your baby’s sounds and facial expression such as happiness, sadness, distress, fear, and interest could help you understand and know how to respond to, and meet those needs.


  1. David Chamberlain, PhD (1998) The Mind of Your Newborn Baby. North Atlantic Books,
  2. http://www.dunstanbaby.com/every-crying-baby-heard/


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