Do babies have nightmares?

United States
August 27, 2009 1:02am CST
I have been wondering lately if it is really possible for babies under two years old to have nightmares? All babies have different cries for different things. i.e. hungry, wet, mad, sad, etc. But the other night my fourteen month old daughter woke up at 1:30 am screaming, I mean screaming! She was so upset that nothing I did would console her, no bottle, rocking her etc would work. Until she got in bed with us and burried herself in daddy's back. She was so upset that once she stopped crying she sniffled for a half hour before falling asleep. I have never seen her like that and never saw my other two cry in that way. So I guess my question is this, Do babies have night mares or was she just missing her daddy? I know its a wierd question but the tears and the loss of her voice today due to the crying really has me wondering what's up?
7 people like this
22 responses
@sblossom (2170)
27 Aug 09
I watched a program about baby sleep. The research showed baby does have many dreams including nightmares. Even the baby before birth already can have dreams. Dream seems a basic nature fellow our human being. Because it is a part of our life, so now people still can not explain many items connecting with these dreams. I also read a article about how to avoid nightmares. The main point is to take a warm shower before going to sleep. However I did not try it yet. I prefer taking shower in the morning. If you are interested you can give it a go. Happy mylotting.
1 person likes this
@Maggiepie (7821)
• United States
29 Aug 09
[b]Yours seems to be the only definitive answer here to the question! That said, one small tweak on your remark re dreaming being a human thing. I almost wrote that same thing, then realized we're not the sole owners of the trait; animals dream, too. I've often watched them "run" in their sleep, try to bite, nurse, wag tails, whimper or mew--clearly reacting to some imagery found only in their minds. I find it just one of the heartwarming connections between we humans & our fellow animals. Maggiepie "WHERE'S THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE?"[/b]
@vingyan06 (2489)
• Malaysia
27 Aug 09
Hello Groesbeck, It is possible, I think it happen to most of the babies too. I had this experience before where my baby suddenly cried in the middle of nigh. I can heard the cries is so different from the normal cries. And they will just cry out loudly and they are not demanding anything at all, not a sucker or hungry or diaper wet. My mum told me that this is called scared. The babies was too scared in the nightmares hence they cr out loudly. And my mom also remind us not to play to excited with the babies or else they will have nightmares.
1 person likes this
@kmaram (2535)
• Philippines
27 Aug 09
Hi there, i guess so when my daughter was still a baby i saw her laughing or smiling. So for me she was having a nightmares or maybe playing with an angel. Well not really sure no one can tell what the babies on mind because they still an innocent baby, anyway keep on mylotting
1 person likes this
@underdogy (700)
• Thailand
27 Aug 09
Hmmm. This question is good and i can barely find words to say. In Psychology we have this term called tabula rasa meaning that individuals are born without built-in content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception. Since a baby doesn't have experience or expose to the world yet, he doesn't know what good or bad is. I don't think they are capable of having nightmares since they don't know what to be afraid of. I guess there was something wrong with the sleeping position or maybe a mosquito or insect bit the baby. Just a thought.
• Indonesia
27 Aug 09
i also don't know what is nightmare for newborn baby.... so i agree with you, a baby will crying if they fell thirsty or anything else that make him felling not good... maybe a baby will have nightmare after one or two years old after they watching monster or other scarry movie :D
• Thailand
27 Aug 09
That is exactly what I'm saying. Once they are exposed to scary movies (not the funny movie lol) or have been told about monsters and all that, they may have nightmares because their brain will work and analyze what scary is and what to be afraid of. I wish there will be something of some sort that can verify if babies do really have nightmares.
• United States
28 Aug 09
I have an answer to your question and the answer is yes. My son started doing the same thing when he was about eight months. He would have his eyes closed and just scream for what it seemed like was forever, but actually was probably was about 2 to 4 minutes. At his checkup the doctor said it's called night terrors (nightmares). He said it usally doesn't happen until babies are around 1 to 2 years, but for my son it started early. The doctor asked me to describe everything and how long it lasted, wehther or not his eyes were open when it happened, etc. It happens to my son every couple of months and I noticed it happens if he gets very over tired. Once he did it with his eyes open and that was scary. It was like he was looking right through me. The doctor said if that happens, let him know as it could be something else other than night terrors. Also let him know if it lasts long like a half hour, or if they become more frequent. Have you spoken to your doctor about it? Do a search for night terrors and you can get some info. Hope this helps.
• United States
28 Aug 09
by the way, my son is only turning one year old this weekend and has never seen a scary movie. The doc also said, like you did, they have night terrors for many reasons, remembering loud sounds, them falling, being hungry, wet, etc. He also said if the baby is not awake when he/she is crying don't try to wake them, that way they won't remember it in the morning.
@AKMEDIA2 (328)
• United States
8 Sep 09
I think babies do have nightmares and happy dreams. A lot of times you see them cry or laugh or smile in their sleep. I think it 's probably like a dog where you observe them in their sleep but have no idea what they are dreaming about.
@daeckardt (6245)
• United States
29 Aug 09
I think they probably do have nightmares, but we have no way of know about what. I don't think that is something that happens only after we are able to speak. I think it would be doubly scary for someone who is not able to express what is going on because they have no way of knowing what the pictures they see mean. As the child gets older, there may still be nightmares, but they are able to speak about them which helps them understand what they are about so makes them easier to console. I hope that your baby is able to get over it soon.
@Maggiepie (7821)
• United States
29 Aug 09
[b]What an interesting question! I do know that I had horrendous nightmares as a small child, & scientists tell us we all dream, whether we remember doing so or not. I also know, however, that science has claimed that children's brains are different than adult's in many ways. Supposedly children are incapable of understanding how to make choices based on projected possible consequences, but I KNOW that's not so! Else how could a child learn?! If you told a child he would get a time out if he was naughty, & he did something bad & GOT his time out, you honestly don't think he'd remember that punishment the next time he considered breaking a rule? I think babies're more likely than not to dream. It's something all other humans do. It's a natural process. A "nightmare" is just a dream written in poison ink. Why shouldn't a child's fears turn up in his dreams? A better question might be how do children distinguish dreams from reality at all--or do they? Maggiepie "WHERE'S THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE?"[/b]
• Canada
29 Aug 09
I don't really know but it sounds like a bad dream. I've never heard of babies that young waking up like that . I think that it's great she has such a plugged in mother though. Maybe it would be wise for your husband to spend time with her too
• United States
28 Aug 09
I believe that they do. I think that they have regular dreams as well. I've seen my kids moving around and making noises and faces while they were sleeping. A nightmare is just another type of a dream, so I must imagine that they do have them too.
@kitty42 (3912)
• United States
28 Aug 09
Hello groesbeck Wow thats a god question, how sad it that I could imagine how hard that must have been for you, I don't know maybe, but then you wonder what could they dream about that will care them this much, I guess it could be possible unfortunately at that age how will we know
@quinnkl (1668)
• United States
28 Aug 09
I am convinced that my son had nightmares as a baby and toddler. When I asked our Pediatrician about it, he said "I hope not".... what???!! But I really do think babies dream and can have bad dreams and nightmares too. Sad and makes my heart ache to think about it, but all we can do is comfort them and give them our love and security!
@olepmis (843)
• Philippines
28 Aug 09
Yes, I think babies have nightmares, too. When I was 5-6 years old, I have so many nightmares that even my mother could not explain to me. She just told me that I was growing up that's why I was having nightmares.
• Philippines
28 Aug 09
I used to take care of my nephew when he was still a baby and there were times that I would watch him while sleeping. I can see him having different facial expression, he would smile and even nearly cry while sleeping. So I think babies also encounter nightmares while they sleep thats why my nephew cry sometimes.
@Hatley (157523)
• Garden Grove, California
27 Aug 09
hi groesbeck Ihave wondered the same thing.I know they dream as'I have seen both my kids when they were bAbies giggle and smile while asleep'and even laugh.Yet they are definitely asleep.so would it 'not seem logical that a baby could have a scary dream and not' really understand it? Unless someone had done a study and reported'it I guess we will just have to guess about it.
@mikeysmom (2094)
• United States
27 Aug 09
i am sure they do but it would be hard to prove since they cannot talk much before a year old and after that they still do not tend to "discuss" things so i have to say it would be a hard thing to prove one way or the other. my baby niece was sleeping yesterday and she is almost one and she was wimpering in her sleep a bit so i would equate that to having a nightmare.
@med889 (5958)
27 Aug 09
I believe even babies do have nightmares and I have seen my niece when she was a baby she was sometimes restless in her sleep and she sometimes even do gestures and cry afterward so I think many she had a nightmare.
• China
27 Aug 09
Yes.Baby baby willbea dream:one is that we do not know their little heads in the end what has been done dream.He he.To make baby the dream of doing a good job..We parents should pay attention to:Before going to bed to keep baby in good health,not fullness,dinner,a glass of milk,is conducive to better sleep,2,the appropriate boby to reduce all kinds of stimulation,a hot bath help the body to relax,3 Do not give your baby to wear when you sleep too much,the temperature of bedding to be appropriate,4.Maintain an appropriate distance from the parent-child,so that the baby feel happy and feel safe,the parents in time to take care of the baby sitting,5.The best lights are turned off to keep quiet sleep environment.
@jashoaf (298)
• United States
27 Aug 09
I know they have nightmares before the age of two; just how young I can't say. But I had a son and a granddaughter who had nightmares. I could always trace it back to something they saw or heard that frightened them, or they couldn't understand. You say your husband is not there? Maybe this is the first time he's been gone, or the first time your son noticed him gone? TV is a huge culprit. Sometimes seeing parents make love, or other things that we don't think about but that may look frightening to a small child, keeps their brain working overtime and results in bad dreams. My granddaughter witnessed a shooting. She dreamed for months. I agree with the other reader, I would make sure there is no physical cause; if it keeps happening go to the doctor for a checkup. But nightmares are not uncommon at all.
@srganesh (6349)
• India
27 Aug 09
Haven't you seen babies smiling in their sleep.If that could be a nice dream they respond with a smile,then they can have nightmares too which scare them to scream like that.But also check whether there are any ants in her bed which would have bitten her.Cheers!