What Do Babies Dream About: What Mothers Think?
What do babies dream about?
Do you ever wonder what goes through your child’s mind while they sleep? Here’s what experts and mothers think about baby dreams.
Watching your little one snooze, I’m sure you wonder what they’re thinking and ask the common question “what do babies dream about?” Do their eyelids flutter, their sighs are loud, their limbs twitches mean anything? It’s comforting to believe they’re dreaming of your warm embrace, but experts don’t know if that’s actually possible. Keep reading to learn if babies dream, what they might experience during REM sleep, and some common myths mothers think or say about a baby crying in sleep suddenly. Before answering what do babies dream about, let’s figure out whether babies actually dream.
Do Babies Actually Dream?
Do babies dream? what do babies dream about? I’ve always wondered these, too. But lately, I’ve seen a few different theories out there as to what babies consider to be real, physical, and conscious existence and have come to believe that there are actually two basic stages of sleep for a baby (or a toddler).
According to most experts/researchers we consulted, the first is a pattern of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep during the first two weeks postpartum, during which parents can feel their baby transitioning into wakefulness. Also known as active sleep, REM is a sleep stage in which the baby may jerk or twitch his legs or arms, and his eyes move under his closed eyelids.
The second is non-rapid eye movement (NREM). Deep non-REM sleep is also known as quiet sleep. Twitching and other movements cease, and the baby falls into sleep that becomes progressively deeper. During this stage, the baby may be more difficult to awake.
So what do babies dream about in any of these stages?
According to a parents’ advisor Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., associate director at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, it is not easy to ascertain if babies actually dream since they don’t talk. Dream research experts usually rely on study volunteers to inform them if, when, and what they dream.
Certain research suggests that adults spend around 20 percent of their night sleep within the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Scientists identify that this state produces the most dreams. Newborns sleep a lot and spend up to 50 percent of their sleep time within the REM state, while premature babies spend up to 80 percent.
Some other research suggests that your baby may even experience this REM sleep when in your womb.
These have led several researchers to highlight that it is likely possible for your infant to have big dreams.
However, some contradictory research argues that babies brain is too busy growing and developing and thus, don’t have the energy to create these dreams. Certain neuroscientists, according to Live Science, doubt that infants can dream at all.
They claim that babies’ brains are too immature to form these abstract thoughts and images. Therefore, they believe that REM sleep serves a different role in little ones, allowing their brains to create pathways and encouraging cognitive development.
Whatever the angle, babies’ little brains are definitely anything but asleep.
What Do Babies Dream About?
We all have dreams. But what do babies dream about? What is the nature of their dreams? How do they differ from adult dreams?
Since babies have a limited sense of self and language skills, it is difficult for mothers to decipher what kind of scenes are playing out in their sleep.
It’s safe to assume, though, that your baby’s dreams would look different from your own. They’d probably resemble their real-life experiences, focusing on sensations (like the feel of breastfeeding) or simple visuals (like their mom’s face).
In his book Children’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness, psychologist David Foulkes writes that children tend to develop dreaming that is structured only when they are about seven or nine years old and have developed self-awareness and improved visualization techniques. Toddlers, preschoolers, and younger children may conjure up simple static images while sleeping.
A research expert, Zadra, says that if babies dream, they probably won’t have the same kind of rich visuals and interactions with other characters that adults have when they dream. He further said that it’s likely that their dreams are very similar to their experience while they are awake, as preverbal consciousness is a part of them from a young age.
A baby’s sleep may be made up of senses, such as warmth, sucking on a breast, or seeing a close-up face. Like adults, an infant processes the previous day while sleeping, but his brain is not so advanced yet.
Now that we have provided some explanation to our topic “what do babies dream about”, let’s answer a similar question- why do babies cry in their sleep?
Why Do Babies Cry In Their Sleep?
What do babies dream about? Why do babies cry in their sleep? Are they really afraid of something? Are they lonely? Or — just maybe — do they just like their snooze button?
Mothers often wonder why babies cry in their sleep. Some say it’s because their mind is still concentrated on feeding, others say it’s because they’re experiencing separation anxiety, and others still say it’s because they’re experiencing separation anxiety from infancy.
Could there be an epitome of truth in any of these theories?
Seeing your baby cry in their sleep can be really upsetting, but it’s quite normal. It’s therefore useful to understand how babies actually sleep, why they may occasionally appear to be disturbed while they’re asleep, and how you can help.
Many babies cry to communicate their needs, including hunger, especially newborns who take a bottle or nurse every few hours.
However, if you have fed your child recently, he may be whining for different reasons.
She is becoming accustomed to milk or formula. Infants are born without a completely developed digestive system.
As babies get older, their imaginations begin to flourish, leading to an exciting phase but also a challenging period filled with bad dreams and screaming at night.
A newborn or young baby may scream, cry, or grunt while sleeping.
It is typical for very young infants to wake frequently or make strange sounds while they sleep since they have not yet mastered the challenges of going through a regular sleep cycle.
For very young babies, crying is their major means of communication, so it is not hard to see why they sob often and may also cry in their sleep.
As long as your infant does not have any additional worrying symptoms, such as other signs of illness or pain, then this is a normal part of the developmental process, and there is no need to worry about it.
Children who cry while asleep, especially while moving in bed or making other sounds, could be experiencing a nightmare or night terror: toddlers and older babies who cry while sleeping may have night terrors.
During random eye movement sleep or light sleep, nightmares happen. Conversely, night terrors occur when the child becomes very agitated during the deeper phases of sleep, making it more likely for them to wake up in the middle of the night.
Night terrors are relatively uncommon and typically affect children between 4 and 12 years old, though people have reported night terrors in babies as young as 18 months. It is possible that night terrors could be more likely to occur if a child is sick or sleep-deprived.
Getting To Know Your Infant’s Sleep Behaviour
During REM sleep, your infant’s brain is active while his body is relaxed.
During the sleep phase, most adults remain still, though babies often appear more unsettled than adults. Their tossing and turning may lead parents to wonder whether their baby has a bad dream.
A child who cries during sleep is more likely to be learning how his or her body works or attempting to learn new skills. Babies who cry during sleep may be processing something that occurred earlier, meaning it is more of a memory than a dream.
Your baby may simply be developing and learning how their body works or developing new skills. Littles infants who cry out during sleep may be processing something they already experienced, meaning that it is more like a memory than a dream.
Babies also have what is referred to as the Moro-reflex when they are born. The Moro reflex generally develops between 28 and 32 weeks gestation to disappear by the third to sixth month.
Moro causes babies to suddenly flail their arms and legs, an involuntary protective reflex. It may look like your infant is trying to fight off a dream foe, but it’s most likely just Moro at play.
You can keep this reflex at bay by swaddling your baby so your baby gets better sleep during the early months.
Why Do Babies Cry At Night?
Like what do babies dream about? Why do babies cry at night is one of those questions that are not really simple or straightforward. You might think decoding it would be simple to understand, but it isn’t.
There are actually dozens of theories that attempt to explain why babies cry at night and a few myths that persist.
Let us examine some of the most prevalent myths and even some studies on the subject to try and find out for sure why babies may start crying at night.
In the first two months of life, the newborn sleeps about eight to nine hours during the day, as well as another eight hours at night, though rarely all at once.
Until your baby is at least three months old, she probably won’t sleep for more than six to eight hours at night. Some babies sleep for less than six hours or so at night.
Therefore, it is reasonable that lots of crying may start when you think she is sleeping comfortably—or when you attempt to sleep.
Babies cry as a way to tell you that they are in need of your help at night. What is she trying to communicate when she wakes up wailing or cries in her sleep?
We explored the main causes of a baby’s nighttime crying and what to do when you are wondering how to stop a crying baby.
Common Myths about Baby Crying In Sleep Suddenly and What Mothers Think
Myth 1 Sleep Cry: Later to bed means Baby will sleep later in the morning
Sleeping in—it’s wishful thinking for many parents. Many parents believe that if they put their babies to bed later, they will sleep later, which is a common misconception. Infants sleep better, longer, and cry less if they are put to bed early in the evening.
Even though they appear to have energy, many babies who go to sleep late into the evening are exhausted.
Look for your baby’s “sleep signals,” which tell you when he’s tired. When you suspect he may be ready for sleep, take action right away.
A baby may begin to show signs of fatigue by rubbing his/her eyes, yawning, slowing down, leading to a transition to the bedtime routine as early as 6:00 pm.
Myth 2 Sleep Cry: Infants should sleep all night
The dream of most parents is to have their baby sleep through the night. Most babies can last eight or more hours without feeding when they are just over four months old and weighing 16 pounds.
Sleeping difficulties for babies at this stage often do not arise because of waking up during the night. It is more likely the lack of ability to return to sleep.
Depending on the baby, they can wake up 2 to 4 times a night. However, some babies cry and soothe themselves back to sleep, while other babies cry to get help getting back to sleep.
The key is getting your infant to sleep on her own. If your child is older, consider offering her a “lovey” (special blanket or stuffed animal). Many babies will use these objects to help comfort themselves and fall asleep. Also, you may hear your infant singing or babbling before falling asleep. Babies use these methods of putting themselves to sleep.
Myth 3 Sleep Cry: “Crying It Out” is not good for babies
When saying goodbye to a lovely mom at bedtime, it is common, understandable, and natural to cry.
You can help your infant learn to fall asleep on her own when she reaches about four months, at which point she should be able to do so.
Researchers and most experts agree that allowing a baby to cry as they go to sleep won’t harm them in the long run.
And the good news is that your baby will probably cry at bedtime only for a few days before learning how to sleep on her own.
Myth 4 Sleep Cry: Crying is not normal
In addition to being perfectly normal in babies, crying also serves an important developmental purpose.
By crying, babies exercise their vocal cords and learn how to use their mouth, tongue, and lips to produce different sounds, all of which are essential elements in communication skills later in life.
Final Thoughts On What Do Babies Dream About
Within the first few weeks and months after birth, sleep is essential to your baby’s brain growth and development.
At any age, sleep helps consolidate memory, which helps us integrate our experiences and increases our knowledge.
As infants go through the process of solidifying information about the world, the importance of sleeping can’t be overemphasized.
Regarding the question, what do babies dream about? You may not know what your baby is dreaming about, or even if he is dreaming at all because you hear sighs and grunts or see their eyelids flutter. But now you know that their brains are actually still conscious (active).