Can a newborn have nightmares? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 10-16-2006, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 6 week old daughter has been having what I think might be nightmares since she was 3 weeks old.

She'll be asleep, and then suddenly for no apparent reason, start screaming, and then wake up. She seems dioriented, and then just melts into my arms crying this relieved little wimper, and calms own. usually she goes back to sleep, but not always.

I mentioned it to my friend, and she said "what does a newborn have to dream about?"
I really have no idea what she is having nightmares about, but I do worry about her.

Am I right? do you think it's nightmares? Is it even possible?
Thoughts? suggestions?

TIA

~Moose
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#2 of 14 Old 10-16-2006, 04:12 PM
 
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I think that my daughter had nightmares. Of course they aren't about ghosts, or monsters coming from under the bed, but they are "feelings". I have very vivid dreams, and so does my husband, so I think our minds are just wired that way.

For the first few months of her life I sensed that she should be held most of the time, even when she was sleeping, because she seemed to be very aware of being exposed and outside of the womb. Even now, at 10 months, she is going through a phase of needing to be physically in contact with me when she sleeps, and for a few nights I even had her sleeping on my chest.

Congratulations on your beautiful baby! You are going to be her greatest comfort, and it is amazing to grow into that role.
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#3 of 14 Old 10-16-2006, 05:10 PM
 
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I agree.

My DS would, from birth, go from fast asleep to crying full out. But only when he was napping (not next to me). He also startled out of sleep alot.

I also have vivid dreams, nearly every night.

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#4 of 14 Old 10-16-2006, 05:14 PM
 
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thanks for posting this. I thought I was silly to assume she had a nightmare. I thought a more reasonable explanation was her having gas. but you are right, it definately seems like she is having a nightmare.

Mama to a 3.5 yo dd
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#5 of 14 Old 10-16-2006, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Am glad to know that my daughter isn't alone in this. I was beginning to think that maybe somehow I was traumatising her, and giving her nightmares!

I wonder how common it is?....

~Moose
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#6 of 14 Old 10-16-2006, 06:51 PM
 
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Yep, I think babies, newborns (infants!) have nightmares, but agree also that its feelings...memories.

You wondered what they would have to dream about.

Its not always known that babies can remember their experiences - before birth, during birth, early infancy, last week when they bonked their head, etc...but they can. Science is supporting it now (finally!).

Little things to us can be HUGE to a new baby - I think babies have memories of birth/prenatal triggered more than we think.

And even if something is upsetting US, it affects them, and depending on the severity of our upset, can be a reason to have "nightmares."

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#7 of 14 Old 10-17-2006, 09:41 PM
 
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I have wondered: is it possible babies are born with intact memories of a past life? ok I know its WAY out there but we don't remember our infancy ... perhaps there is a lot more going on in there than we know????

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#8 of 14 Old 10-17-2006, 10:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Cherie2 View Post
I have wondered: is it possible babies are born with intact memories of a past life? ok I know its WAY out there but we don't remember our infancy ... perhaps there is a lot more going on in there than we know????
oh i totally agree! sylvia browne says there's no "new" souls anymore. everyone that's born now has lived before.

congrats on being a new mommy, by the way! i understand completely, when my babe was a newborn, it seemed as if she had nightmares too. in fact, i posted about it on here, because i was so worried about her. it passes. just pick her up and comfort her when it happens, of course you do that already, but that's all you can do. just keep it up.
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#9 of 14 Old 10-17-2006, 11:00 PM
 
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Mine did that too. I actually posted around that time asking if anyone knew if night terrors could start that early. I had them pretty badly when I was young, and my mom thought I'd had them from pretty early on, but couldn't put an age to when she thought they started. Of course I slept all the way downstairs in a crib by myself, so she just might have missed me screaming!! Anyway, I think the consensus was that normally the earliest would be around 6 months, but that there wasn't any reason to assume that they had to be that old to have them.

I think, after being through that, that babies have a more difficult time controlling their emotions, and thus might be more likely to react to an "emotional" dream. Who knows though! I just used to give mine lots of hugs and nurse and such to make her feel more comfortable. I'm not sure what would have happened if we hadn't coslept, she would have woken up alone.

Amy, mama to "Pumpkin" (DD1, 5/16/06) and "Squashy" (DD2, 7/10/09)
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#10 of 14 Old 10-18-2006, 07:50 AM
 
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My DD did that too in her early weeks. She'd wake up with a ear piercing wail. I guess because they haven't got that many memories anyway so the ones they do have stick with them and I can imagine that being born is quite the ordeal to a little mind.

She hasn't done it in quite a while now and she is 2½ months. But sometimes when she wakes up she does look very disoriented like everything is alien to her and it takes her a little while to snap out of it and if I make too much of a fuss then she'll freak out - I think she gets it from her father. Poor sprout.
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#11 of 14 Old 10-18-2006, 11:42 AM
 
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Aidan does this also.
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#12 of 14 Old 10-18-2006, 11:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kungfumoose View Post
I mentioned it to my friend, and she said "what does a newborn have to dream about?"
I really have no idea what she is having nightmares about, but I do worry about her.
Past lives are always a possibility.

Syrinx, Soulmate to Pan, Mama to Zion (5), River (3), Silver (1) and expecting a baby Storm...
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#13 of 14 Old 10-18-2006, 12:28 PM
 
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I believe it is simply a developmental stage of sleep - not necessarily bad dreams or remembrances of past lives or sleep terrors. As babies are growing in their sleep, their cycles are changing. They are developing more adult like sleep patterns. As adults we go in and out of sleep phases very differently than babies do. I believe it is uncomfortable/very disorienting to go through these changes in sleep stages or patterns. I know that if I awake during a certain stage of sleep, I become a raving lunatic. I am completely out of sorts and it takes me quite a while to realize who, what, where I am. (This is usually about one hour after falling asleep). I also know that I get very upset if I am just about to fall asleep and something suddenly wakes me. Babies are constantly in a state of flux with their sleep until they do develop adult like sleep patterns (sometimes this takes until age three to fully get there). I believe that much of the crying outbursts we see is really simply a disorientation or a change in sleep pattern.
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#14 of 14 Old 10-18-2006, 12:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lkg4dmcrc View Post
I believe it is simply a developmental stage of sleep - not necessarily bad dreams or remembrances of past lives or sleep terrors. As babies are growing in their sleep, their cycles are changing. They are developing more adult like sleep patterns. As adults we go in and out of sleep phases very differently than babies do. I believe it is uncomfortable/very disorienting to go through these changes in sleep stages or patterns. I know that if I awake during a certain stage of sleep, I become a raving lunatic. I am completely out of sorts and it takes me quite a while to realize who, what, where I am. (This is usually about one hour after falling asleep). I also know that I get very upset if I am just about to fall asleep and something suddenly wakes me. Babies are constantly in a state of flux with their sleep until they do develop adult like sleep patterns (sometimes this takes until age three to fully get there). I believe that much of the crying outbursts we see is really simply a disorientation or a change in sleep pattern.
I agree, and I personally think that the "night terror" label is a term that is applied to exactly what you describe, waking up and taking a while to actually wake up to reality. Modern medicine insists that we create a term, or a name of a disorder to describe behaviors or feelings that are potentially still on the spectrum of 'normal' but in order for the 'treatment' to be covered by insurance (or even considered legitimate in some cases), it has to be named. I think what is termed 'night terrors' is a wide range of things and most are 'normal' and are just what happens when we sleep and have events change the typical sleep cycle. As we get older, we generally learn to deal with these changes on our own, but occasionally (as in my case), it's not so easy to snap back to reality even as an older child. I would expect a baby that's no longer able to rely on the environment of the womb to help calm themselves to be likely to have to have help 'coming to' after waking like this. I don't think there's anything wrong with me (or was), or anyone else who has that issue, it's just that that's how I was wired you know? Some of us are wired in such a way that it isn't an issue, babies or adults.

Amy, mama to "Pumpkin" (DD1, 5/16/06) and "Squashy" (DD2, 7/10/09)
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