Newborns and nightmares

Newborns and nightmares
January 26 08:02 2017

The baby is finally here, you obviously thought the anxiety cedes right after childbirth but here you are dealing with anxiety still. Most mothers are prepared only until childbirth, hardly anything after childbirth is talked about, especially outside of the baby’s physical health. That leaves a lot of mothers feeling rather lost and alone because no one talked to them about the many things that follow when the baby is born. One particular thing that you will notice as a new parent is that the welfare of your baby and your state of well-being depends on the baby’s sleep. When the baby does not sleep well, he or she becomes cranky. Part of what causes babies not to sleep well is the issues of nightmares. Yes, babies do dream too, now imagine how scary nightmares can be to you as an adult, it is much worse for babies.

Many people do not know that babies dream, according to experts and published research, babies begin dreaming from the time they develop the brain in the womb. It is said that at this stage the dreams are not intense, they only become more pronounced as the brain develops further after birth. In fact, according to scientific studies dreams are more frequent in infants than in adults. So if you did not know, your baby dreams a lot and could very well experience some nightmares.


Newborns and nightmares

Is your baby having nightmares?

Yes, it is most likely that your baby is having some nightmares. But why? Like most people, dreaming happens at a very particular sleep phase called rapid eye movement period (REM), this is the phase that the baby spends most of his or her time in whenever they are sleeping. This causes the baby to dream a lot and as such, exposed to nightmare risks. When your baby is dreaming, you will see them making some movements, having facial expressions and even making some low sounds. It is not known exactly what causes babies to have nightmares but It may be because they are still trying to adjust to their environment or even because they can pick up on your own stress. Ever heard of a mother’s intuition? Well, your baby also has one and that alone is enough to make the baby restless during sleep time. In most instances a stressed mother equals a stressed baby. If you pay close attention, you will notice that your baby is most restless during sleep when you visit an unfamiliar place or when you spend a lot of time around unfamiliar people. They can also become restless when the the parents are fighting or when they are in distress.


Is there a link between baby blues/postpartum with my baby’s nightmares?

Baby blues wear off faster, usually wrapped around fatigue, however postpartum sits longer and translates into deep depression that is not only bad for the mother but for her baby and all around her. New mothers will experience a wide range of fears, including fear of their own death, fear of the baby’s death, fear of leaving the baby with a sitter, fear of being a bad mother and not being able to take care of the baby. So while all this is going on, your baby is getting neglected and feeling alone and not cared for as days keep going, and that feeling warrants night terrors and nightmares in humans regardless of age. You might think your baby is too young to actually be having nightmares (because to establish nightmares, communication is important) but the baby is most certainly having night terrors.


How to help your baby avoid nightmares? 

The first part involves putting the baby to sleep well, the notion of tucking a baby in is not just a fancy thing parents do, when you tuck in your baby they fell safe and comfortable and that helps a lot in as far as the baby having a restful sleep is concerned. Also make sure that the environment the baby is sleeping in is safe and try to maintain a bedtime routine that you can keep up with.

Playing soothing music like that of soft rainfall or twinkles has been known to induce peaceful sleep for babies and adults. To help your baby fall into peaceful sleep you can play some soft lullaby sounds and leave them on until the baby is in deep sleep.

If you are experiencing any postpartum depression, get help for yourself so you can help your baby. You are an integral part to soothing your baby and all that newborn babies need is around the clock attention and reassurance. Most mothers who complain about their babies being restless or having nightmares also say the baby falls right back to sleep in mommy’s arms. It will also help if you establish a definite routine for the baby from the onset so your baby stays calm through his sleep.


Newborns and nightmares



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