Burning Question: What Do Babies Dream About?
No, seriously: What DO babies dream about? Let’s find out!
-Piper Weiss, Yahoo! Shine
If you’ve ever looked at a sleeping baby and wondered what the heck is going on in her brain, you’re not alone. It’s a question comes up a lot on internet searches, and only a little in scientific research, since babies don’t make the most communicative subjects. To find out what the average baby might be dreaming of, we went to the source: Dr. Edward Kulich, a pediatrician specializing in children’s sleeping habits and author of The Best Baby Sleep Book.
“Since we know that babies experience REM sleep, the stage of sleep most commonly associated with dreams, we can assume that infants assimilate their daily experiences,” Kulich tells Shine. So what parts of their day might come up in their dreams? “Feeding, smelling, eliminating, feeling warm and cozy, hungry, or bored, or the smell of their surroundings.”
Another source of dream inspiration: You, parents. Dr. Alan Greene, a New York pediatrician, believes babies dreams are filled with perceptions of their new moms and dads. Sometimes those dreams are pleasant (fresh milk!) other times, they’re more like nightmares. “Babies can get stress from pain, hunger and being left alone,” according to Greene, “and anything worth crying about is worth dreaming about.”
Some pediatric researchers believe nightmares only kick in at the age of two, but Greene thinks “the peak age of crying, the first 6 weeks, is also the peak age of nightmares.”
Still, most experts will tell you there’s no way of knowing for sure what babies dream about because they can’t express themselves. Some moms would disagree. On mommy message boards, parents who’ve taught their babies sign language have reported breakthroughs in dream communication. One mom in particular recalls her one-year-old daughter waking up crying and signing “mommy broken.” A baby’s nightmare if ever there was one.
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