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Do Babies Dream?

Do Babies Dream?

Have you ever noticed your baby smiling or giggling while they are sleeping, and thought to yourself, "I wonder what they're dreaming about!", or "Can babies even dream?!".
We asked eumom Sleep Expert, Fiona O'Farrell, Paediatric Occupational Therapist Specialising in Baby Sleep and Development, to explain all about baby's dreams. Fiona says, "when your baby is sleeping, they progresses through what are called sleep cycles. These sleep cycles consist of different phases. Phase 1 to 3 are during what is refereed to as 'Non rapid eye movement phases' and consist of drowsiness and light sleep, progressing into deep sleep."

"Phase 4 is during rapid eye movement phase. This is the phase for both children and adults where the brain is ‘active’. In adults, this is when we dream."

"For young babies and for children up to the age of 7, Neuroscientists believe that this phase serves as a different purpose. Phase 4 allows the developing brain to build pathways for brain connections and helps these pathways become integrated. This development is important for the development of language."

"Studies indicate that as baby brains are still developing and have limited experiences, they are dreamless for the first few years. It is believed once a child has developed the cognitive ability to imagine things visually, that this is when dreaming begins."

"Neuroscientists believe at around age 7 children begin to develop awareness of self and this awareness is necessary for inserting self into dreams."

So there you have it! Next time you see your little one smiling, frowning, or fluttering their eyelids during sleep, they may not be dreaming, but they are busy building up pathways in their brain to help their overall development and language.

Help your little one get to sleep with our Baby Bedtime Lullaby Playlist on Spotify: 
For more great expert advice, visit Fiona’s website fionaofarrell.ie

About the Author

Editor of eumom.ie, Mairéad Cahalan is a creator of content, a lover of music, red wine and coffee, and a part-time wedding singer! Find her on Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud and LinkedIn.

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