What is it about a sleeping baby that makes you want to curl up and let it all go?
And, what money I wouldn’t pay to know what on earth babies are dreaming. I say that about once a week – so I decided to look into it for once instead of continuing to wonder. According to the psychologist David Foulkes, one of the world’s leading experts on pediatric dreaming, people often mistakenly equate their babies’ ability to perceive with an ability to dream. “If an organism gives evidence that it can perceive a reality, then we are prone to imagine that it can dream one as well,” Foulkes wrote in “Children’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness” (Harvard University Press, 2002). Since babies’ have limited experiences to pull from and a lack of language, Foulkes and other neuroscientists think they are actually dreamless for the first few years of life.
I’m no neuroscientist, but I am a dreamer. My kids are dreamers. Heck, even my dog is a dreamer. I remember when he was just a puppy and his little paws would run in his sleep until he fell off his pillow. Then off he’d go to chase a squirrel. It was obvious what he was dreaming about. I know, I know . . . dogs are so advanced?? And when babies smile they are “passing air” right?! I really don’t see it that way at all. Any time I’m watching a baby drift into REM sleep – that is exactly when they start to smile. Almost every time. Reflexive? Maybe. Ask any newborn photographer who gets to observe babies slip into REM sleep as often as we do. I think even with their limited experiences, they dream. I imagine it’s super psychedelic and enjoyable most of the time. Like the sweet memory of floating in amniotic fluid or being held and rocked, or a lullaby they know from the womb and beyond. I’ve watched a lot of babies “learn” good experiences and bad experiences quickly. So, you can’t convince me they don’t remember their experiences well enough to dream.
But, hey, what do I know;o) I will say, I think they forgot to ask all the mom’s their opinion on the matter before they started studying the REM cycles of Sheep and babies (proving that they were in fact in REM sleep just like adults with the same brain waves adults have when dreaming – they just assume they don’t dream because they don’t have experiences or language). And for that matter, I do have a degree or two in communication disorders and normal, delayed, and disordered language development. So, let me tell you – babies can communicate and they do have their own developing language waaaaay before a few years of age. That is prime time for communication and language development. Now, they probably don’t have the metacognitive skills to retell their dreams until after that language better develops, but I am completely convinced if my puppy can dream, these baby humans can too;o) Just in case you were wondering what I thought about the matter – now you know!!! ;o)
In my world, we will dream on . . . so shhhhh! Let a girl dream;o)
Houston area newborn photographer.
Houston area favorite newborn photographer, Allison Parker, specializing in posed and lifestyle newborn photography, baby portrait photography. Located in The Woodlands Tx, serving north Houston, Spring, Magnolia, downtown Houston, Bellaire, The Heights, Montrose, River Oaks, The Medical Center and West University.
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