What Do Babies Dream About?

How can somebody so small and new have dreams? New parents are often surprised when their child coos, talks, cries and screams during dreams. They twitch, react and overall look like they are having dreams. What do babies dream about? Let’s dive in.

Sleeping Like A Baby

The term ” sleeping like a baby never makes sense to new parents. Most babies wake up many times through out the night or sometimes have “cat naps” , where they sleep for fifteen to forty five minute increments. As far as parents are concerned, sleeping like a baby means having a restless sleep. Sometimes, a restless sleep can be because of dreams. What babies are dreaming about can be a mystery to some.

What we do know is that sleep plays a role in memory, no matter how old we are.Though we will never know for sure what each baby is dreaming about during sleep, we can make some excellent guesses as to what they are dreaming about.

Why Sleep Is So Important For Babies

Sleep is important for all human beings. It helps our body rest and relax from a day’s work. Our muscles get a chance to heal and relax, our brains break and process the day, while our mind goes through the activities it has experienced. This is no different for babies. However, babies also process all of the experiences that they have had through out their first day. Remember, for a baby, this is the first time they are experiencing these feelings, emotions, people and places.

A baby needs their sleep!

Sleep Patterns of Babies

The importance of dreaming relies on REM or rapid eye movement. This is the deepest of sleep for human beings. Newborns get about 50% REM time during their daily sleep routine. As babies age to adults, they receive less and less REM time. During REM time, a human being dreams.

Signs Your Newborn Is Dreaming

There are many signs that point to your newborn dreaming. These include but are not limited to:

1. Rapid Eye Movement

Your child’s eyes look like that they are twitching. You can see your babies eyeballs moving underneath their eyelid.

2. Movement of limbs

Your baby’s fingers, toes, arms and legs may twitch from time to time.

3. Baby’s mouth is moving

Your baby seems to be eating, suckling or drinking, in their sleep.

4. Baby makes suckling motions

Your baby seems to be imitating breast feeding.

5. Your baby may smile, frown, make a crying face

They change their facial expressions as if they are practicing emotion while they are sleeping.

6. The may lightly cry in their sleep

Something is upsetting them but its their dream! Some babies may whimper, make a sad face or even cry in their sleep.

What Could Babies Be Dreaming About?

Though some experts claim that babies dream about nothing, parents may disagree. Babies are seen to be suckling, drinking and eating.If this is not a reflex, it is possible that babies spend a lot of their sleep dreaming about one of their favorite things.


Babies are often seen making movements in their sleep. From suckling movements to chewing movements while sleeping, they are dreaming about their favorite thing, food! From precious milk that fills their bodies and gives them energy, to their mushy goodness of pureed food when they are older, babies may love to dream about eating.

One can guess they are dreaming about what they learned while feeding and dreaming about studying you while feeding. As your little one expands their palate and starts eating solid foods, they may dream of reacting to their favorite dishes… and the not so good ones. If babies dream, eating would definitely be a part of their dreaming experience.

New Experiences

Babies may dream about new experiences while they are sleeping. From going to a new place or being placed in a stroller for a walk outside, your child may remember the happenings of the day. It may not be in the same way that adults dream, with such detail. Babies may dream about feelings, shapes, colors and faces that they can see. As they grow, the details become more clear. At first, one would theorize that they begin to decipher shapes and shades.

Facial Studying

When your baby is very young, they study your facial expressions. From laughter to smiles, they absorb it all. They also listen to your tone of voice and try to focus on your face. These learning experiences may appear in your child’s dreams. As your baby grows, they learn and absorb information, which often times appears in their dreams! Your baby may be dreaming about what they have learned studying faces of family members.

Why Do Babies Smile In Their Sleep?

Babies do often smile in their sleep. Older babies even giggle or laugh in their sleep. Why do they do this, are they having a funny or pleasant dream? Many doctors believe that a baby who is smiling, giggling and laughing in their sleep is simply their brain showing reflexes. It is discovered in 3D and 4D ultrasounds that babies do practice their facial expressions in the womb!

Do Babies Have Nightmares?

Some parents will say that one their child is a year and a half, some notice that their children have nightmares. Some of the symptoms of nightmares include but are not limited to: crying in their sleep, screaming in their sleep, sweating profusely,  thrashing and more. These are considered uncommon occurrences.

Luckily, many babies soothe themselves whilst sleeping in only a few minutes. If it continues, parents will lightly pet their child’s chest or back and speak softly to them until they calm again. There is no better comfort than a parent to their child.Wait a minute to make sure that your child can sort out their night terror or nightmare on their own.

Why Some Say Babies Do Not Dream

Many doctors believe that babies do not start dreaming until around the age of two years old. Doctors think a babies brain is still developing and do not develop the movement that many children and adults have in dreams. According to doctors, a child’s brain is not developed enough to sustain REM dreams through out the night. This can change once they hit toddlerhood.

Some doctors think otherwise, that babies do display the effects of dreaming, even nightmares. Though we will never know for sure, we can only tell by brain development of babies and, lastly, whether a child’s reactions while they’re dreaming is a reaction to dreaming or just reflexes.

Babies Dreaming

Sleep is so important for babies. Depending on their age, they often get twelve hours or more each and every day. Babies hit REM which is known as the dream stage. There are many conflicting reports of babies dreaming verses just experiencing reflexes. Many doctors believe that babies do not start dreaming until the age of two. However, others believe they have some form of dream, usually to do with the routine of their day. Whatever the case may be, if a baby is to dream, here is some things that they would dream about.

Other Great Posts on Baby Sleep

Babies sleep is always a big topic for parents. From if your child is getting enough sleep to nightmares to napping, parents have the questions and we have the answers. Check out what our sleep experts have said about sleep!

Why Is Sleep So Important

Dr. Armin from Texas Children’s Hospital explains why sleep is so important.

How To Help Children With Sleep Issues

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