Dunstan Baby Language

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The new easy way to interpret your baby's cries

What is DBL?

All newborn babies produce 5 different sounds in their cries. These sounds are all reflex based ie when the baby is hungry, it starts the sucking reflex. When you add sound to that, the result is “neh”. When the baby is tired, it starts the yawning reflex, and the sound which is produced with that is “owh”.

There are different sounds for:

  • I’m hungry
  • I’m tired
  • I have need to burp
  • I have lower wind pain
  • I’m uncomfortable.

DBL is a way of interpreting a babies cries.

How do you learn?

DBL can be taught individually in your home, or in small groups in communities. It consists of 2 sessions held a week apart, of 1 – 1.5 hrs.

In session 1, there is an overview of the development, and 3 of the sounds are introduced. You practise producing the sounds yourself – so you understand what your baby is doing. We then watch a dvd showing variousbabies making these sounds. Next we talk about ‘solving’ the baby’s need which we are now able to identify.

In session 2 we do a re-cap, and introduce the last two sounds, practising as above. You receive a copy of the DBL dvd to keep, and view in your  own home, enabling you to develop your ear for this new language, thereby becoming proficient at it.

The ideal is a content baby and a calm parent.

How does it benefit me / my baby?

If you didn’t know DBL, then each time you have to ‘guess’ what the baby wants. Once you’ve learnt DBL, you will be able to identify the baby’s sounds, and then respond appropriately.

Imagine how frustrating it must be for a baby to be ‘saying’: Im tired, and you misinterpret it as they are hungry, and so feed them. Then, the baby keeps crying and you now think they need their nappy changed – you how challenging it is for you to still have a crying baby!

Now, imagine another better picture – one where your baby cries, and you say to yourself: I know that cry – that’s the tired cry! You wrap him, settle him, and he goes to sleep – that’s a much better picture, isn’t it?

Image by mikeschmid

As I already had two older children, I was surprised by what a difference learning the Dunstan Baby Language (DBL) had on my adjustment to life with a newborn again. I felt more competent and confident, knowing that I knew exactly what my son needed – I wasn’t guessing!

The key was having Sonja take me though each sound that babies make, over two sessions. This made it easier for me to take it in. I know I wouldn’t have understood it as well just by watching the dvd alone. Sonja gave me additional information, and I was able to ask questions to make sure I knew what to do.

I wish I had known about DBL with my first 2 babies! I’d recommend DBL to all new parents.

Thanks Sonja,

As first time parents we appreciated resource that would help us navigate this new world of ‘Babydom’.

The Dunstan system of interpreting your baby’s cry’s really helped us to decipher our baby’s needs which built confidence as a new parent. It not only reduced frustration because we understood what our baby needed, it was foundational in bonding and building connection.

We are truly grateful for the Dunstan practical guide and highly recommend it to all of our expecting friends.

When should I learn it?

DBL is taught during the last trimester of the pregnancy or in the first 12 weeks of babies life – the earlier the better, so you can soothe that crying baby, and so avoid a lot of frustration.

It is easy for both Mums and Dads to learn!

Can I buy a gift voucher for myself or others?

Absolutely! Gift vouchers are available for purchase here. They are redeemable within 6 months of purchase.

I can buy the dvd myself – why do I need a DBL Certified Educator?

Yes, you can just buy the dvd.

With the personalised service you receive:

  • tuition in understanding the DBL system
  • practise of the production of the sounds
  • instruction on ‘how’ to settle the baby when you’ve identified their sound
  • a trained educator, to answer any questions you have about DBL
  • 2 home visits or classes, focussed on DBL
  • plus the dvd!

Who provides it?

Sonja Preston is a Senior Parenting Consultant at The Parenting Café.

Sonja is the only Certified DBL Educator in Tasmania, and is also the Regional Trainer for DBL in Tasmania.

If you don’t live in Tasmania, you can find other Certified DBL Educators who can assist you here

How do I arrange to do DBL?

Contact Sonja here, and we’ll arrange for you to join a group if one is available, or if you prefer, a personal home visit.

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