Why Do Babies Have Nightmares?

Filed under: Babies, Feeding & Sleeping

Nolan will occasionally wake up in the middle of the night with a piercing howl, a cry tinged with fear that suggests he may have been experiencing a nightmare.

 This always perplexes me.  What would cause a baby to have a nightmare?  It's not like he's been exposed to scary movies or scarier news headlines.  Although, I have dreamed that my legs were stuck in pails of cement while waitressing in slow-motion, and I have never been exposed to this scenario.  So I suppose nightmares aren't necessarily based on experience.

I wonder, is he going back to that time he was yanked from a warm cocoon and brought naked and befuddled into the arm of a scary yellow-smocked man?  Is he dreaming that his food supply is dwindling?  Is there something I should be feeding him to promote good dreams only?

 Some experts say that nightmares are just one part of the learning process.  Perhaps, but I do wish he could tell me what he's learning that is so scary so I could assure him he's safe.  But since our young babies can't talk, this website suggests we talk to them.  It offers advice on soothing infants during a nightmare by gently talking to then, and using visualization to wrap them in warmth and love.

I'll keep that in mind next time my baby wakes up fearful, I just hope I don't have to use the advice too often.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.