When Do Babies Start Remembering Their Dreams?
It's fun to speculate about the inner lives of infants. After all, imagining the world from a baby's point of view is one of the more entertaining parts of being a parent. For instance, what do they dream about, and when do babies start remembering their dreams? It seems like babies would have the most trippy dreams of anyone.
This is one of those simple questions that can be difficult to answer definitively. You can't just ask a 6 month old to start keeping a dream journal, after all. Thankfully, though, researchers have come up with some clever ways to deduce information about your baby's dream world.
In fact, it's possible that babies have dreams before they're even born. According to Psychology Today, by week 32 of development, a sleeping fetus can dart his eyes back and forth during REM sleep, just like an adult. This suggests the presence of dreams, although the content of those dreams is anybody's guess.
On the other hand, it may be difficult to think about infant dreams in adult dream terms. For most adults, dreams consist of dialogues, stories, and images, as noted in the Baby Sleep Site, and infants don't yet have the ability to construct such nighttime dramas. Adults and older children are basically creating mini movies each night, but babies may only dream about their sensory impressions of the world as they have experienced it. Or, perhaps babies don't dream in the traditional sense at all. (Again, those preverbal infants are notoriously difficult to interview.)
With that in mind, your kid may be well into childhood before dreams are more memorable. According to New York Magazine, the youngest dream research subjects are 2 years old, as this is gauged as the earliest point at which kids can self-report their dreams. (The reliability of these dream reports may also be somewhat unreliable, as anyone who has conversed with a toddler will understand.) Whether children under the age of 2 are able to recollect anything from their dream world is anyone's guess.
After all, dreams can be slippery things to remember for most everyone. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most people forget 95 to 99 percent of all dreams. You've likely become engrossed in a real-seeming dream, only to have the whole drama vanish as soon as you wake up. So knowing whether your baby dreams, and when he'll be able to recollect those impressions in his waking life, is still kind of anyone's guess. In the meantime, here's to hoping that whatever dreams your baby may (or may not have), he'll enjoy peaceful slumbers.