In a nutshell, yes! They most certainly do! But this question is so wonderful and diverse that is a whole galaxy of new and exciting intelligence!
What is dreaming?
Surprisingly, there is no universally accepted definition of dreaming. We could say that dreaming is the process where we experience thoughts, emotions and perceptions. As this is so hugely broad, there are unlimited ways to describe what exactly is a dream.
The thing is, everything we see, feel, think or imagine creates neural activity somewhere in the brain. When we learn new things, a spiderweb of new neurons in our brains is created forming new connections. The more connections are made, the more our brains are able to process and learn the next new thing.
This is why I think it’s so essential to give babies as many new experiences as possible. Experiences where touch, smell, taste, sound and sight can light up lovely new connections in the brain.
It all starts in the womb…
Most amazingly, even in the womb scientists believe that babies are capable of dreaming! Babies can hear, smell and are in tune with the world that is going on around them in the womb.
When we enter REM sleep (rapid eye movement) this is when we dream.
When all the brainwaves of an unborn baby are measured, it turns out they get around 10 hours of REM sleep in a 24 hour period. It is well-known that it’s also REM sleep that helps to make memories.
This is the time when babies could possibly be dreaming. There’s no actual way of recording exactly what they might dream about, however, it’s fair to say that their dreams are helping them make sense of everything they are experiencing.
A very clever process of understanding her amniotic world!
Do Babies Dream?
The only true way of telling you about a dream I had last night would be for me and you to have a wild and wonderful chat. Babies can’t do that yet so it’s hard to work out what exactly their dreams would consist of. But it’s not impossible. The world of childhood development as we know is it constantly changing. Babies brains are far from dull! How their brains mould and grow is so staggeringly magical I could literally sit here all day and blabber to you until your ears fall off and run away!
Some of the answer is down to personal belief. Groups of people do reject the idea completely and think it’s impossible for babies to dream as they aren’t like us yet. Some people believe they are capable of more and dream of angels.
I think it would be naive of us to believe solidly in either direction without considering and learning more.
Remember at the start of this article I said there are unlimited ways of describing what a dream is?
Well, I think that babies, even unborn babies, totally do dream! Although these dreams are vastly different from ours due to brain development at that point and time.
What do babies dream about?
I believe that babies do dream but it’s important to note that they won’t be as graphic and storylike like ours are. According to Foulkes (a physiologist and psychoanalyst), children’s dreams don’t fully develop until they are aged 7 when they have a clear sense of their own identity.
While I might have had a dream last night about flying around the world like a bird flapping my wings and feeling free, the reality is that babies brains are not yet mature enough to imagine and dream something quite so vivid and complex.
It could be that babies dream about something super simple that happened during that day. Perhaps Mummy was looking in the mirror with her baby and laughing or there was a moment when little one experienced a new and intense emotion and this was remembered and dreamt about to make sense of it all. The little one might then randomly dream about these experiences that happened in an incredibly basic way!
It’s not until the child is around 2 years old that dreams are developing and growing just as they are. This is when the child might start to have nightmares. The brain is starting to set up scenarios to help them cope with dangerous situations. As Babies are not born with the ability to fear, it’s not until this age that emotions become so complex.
Check out this article if you are struggling to get your little one to sleep in her own bed!
Often these emotions and feelings are expressed in a crazy burst throughout childhood. Everything is explosive as it is so new and children do not have the tools to process big emotions at this age the way you and I know how to.
Children need understanding at this age. The meltdown in the supermarket isn’t always just to be naughty or make your day difficult. It’s sometimes just a cry for help that everything is so new and overwhelming. Sometimes a cuddle is all they need.
Signs to tell if your little one is dreaming
There is nothing more peaceful than a sleeping baby! While you pop your head over the top of the crib you might want to look out for signs that little one could be dreaming.
- Eye’s fluttering
- Smiling and noises
- General mood when she wakes up
- Slow regular breathing, sometimes with a big sigh
- A peaceful body
A little shout out to amazing bloggers!
I hope you guys loved that post as much as I did writing it! I find it fascinating talking and learning about baby’s dreams! Please do let me know what you think! Do you think babies can dream?
I just wanted to share with you some amazingly talented bloggers too! I think they are really special and you should check out their articles this second!!
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