13 answers

Do Babies Have Nightmares?

My three month old baby keeps crying out in his sleep. He doesn't stop crying until we wake him up. He has always done this since he was born, but it is getting more frequent. He will just start crying, when we go to him he is still sleeping. He will even stay sleeping (and crying) when we pick him up and hold him, sometimes it takes a few minutes for him to wake up. He ususlly goes right back to sleep after we sooth him. My mom thinks it is gas, but then why would he go right back to sleep without burping? Do babies have nightmares, and is there anything we can do to help?

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My twins used to do that quite frequently and they found out they had acid reflux. It's very painful for babies, but they have medication to help with that. It was a life saver for us for about 6 months and then they didn't need it anymore!

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M.; we dream cause of our surroundings, i would not think at that age, that they dream, but we dont know for sure, i know that one of my sons would wake up screaming, sometimes, their little muscles are developing and will flail a bit, sometimes their little jerky movements can startle them, and they can cry and wake up, or partially wake up, he might need to be swaddled at night more to help prevent him waking up, but if he is moving throughout the night, he might move out of it, but it could help, and if it is nighmares, or bad dreams, i always envoked the power of prayer, not sure if it helps but it sure made you fell better, any way enjoy life and have a good day , D. s

My son started having night terrors when he was about 4-6 months old. They occur about 1-1.5 hours after he falls asleep. He never wakes up during them but cries hysterically for up to 20 minutes. He then goes back to sleep for the rest of the night.

We've noticed a pattern to his night terrors. They occur on days when he is either overstimulated or overtired.

I would still bring this up to the ped. and ask his/her opinion. It took us a while to figure out what it was (at first we thought it was his reflux). Eventually we figured it out and now we try to make sure he doesn't get overtired.

Also, my husband and I both had night terrors as children and they are hereditary.

Well, I'm going to throw in my 10 cents (it's no longer 2 cents due to inflation). I think they have nightmares. Think about how traumatic it must be to not be able to see anything except blurry blobs in your face and noises going from soft to sudden loud bangs that literally scare the poo right out of you. Why couldn't that give a baby nightmares? Who are any of us to say what is going on in a baby's brain? I could be wrong, but hey, I could be right too. There is no scientific proof either way, so I'm just going to go with what makes sense to me...they have nightmares cause some annoying person with really bad breath has been bouncing them too hard and blabbing on and on about God only knows what for too long, too loud in the poor baby's ear and burping poor baby way too hard and their stupid phone went off right next to baby and literally scared the poo out of baby, so when baby finally went to sleep, NIGHTMARE! LOL!

my daughter has had night terrors since she was a baby the doctor said it was normal and soon they will grow out of it

Yes, they are just little people, so they do everything we do except pay the bills. lol. my daughter sleep walks, she just turned 9yr. she was begining to scare us walking around at night, we prayed at bed time and she did not sleep walk for several months. Some people think the nightmares are from the actual trama of birth, you both worked hard for him to be here, try praying about it, I will pray for you as well. They say not to wake them, tho what choice do you have, sing to him, or just talk to him mabie when he hears your voice it will calm him. Best of luck to you.

My twins used to do that quite frequently and they found out they had acid reflux. It's very painful for babies, but they have medication to help with that. It was a life saver for us for about 6 months and then they didn't need it anymore!

Isn't it a horrible feeling? My first son did this. My pediatrician at the time suggested he was suffering from what is called Night Terrors. Quite unusual for a newborn to have it but not impossible. Unfortunately there wasn't much to do for him. He did grow out of it, but I don't remember it taking him 18 months!
If I remember correctly, the night terrors is linked to the kind of sleep they are getting and not getting enough of it. I do recall that I found myself using more "attachment" techniques that allowed him and I to sleep. During the day I wore him whenever I could and at night we co-slept. He also loved being swaddled, which seemed to help him sleep better.
Good luck.

I don't think a 3 month old baby has the capacity to "download" daily events, comprehend, turn into logic or non logic, enough to have the complications of nightmares. 3 months old. Hasn't lived long enough to develop fears.

This is very normal stuff, Marc. Very very normal. A baby of this age cries. For whatever reason. And mom/dad picks it up and it knows the 'scent' and the feeling of being held, talked to, protected feels good so it stops.

Maybe it is gas. Maybe it's just what babies do. Nightmares are not the problem tho.

Hi M.! My son does this. He is now almost 14 months but he has been doing it since he was born. He screams in the middle of the night or deep-sleep naps and sometimes more than once. He will cry out spontaneously, like 4 short bursts, in his sleep. Medicine doesn't know enough to call them "nightmares," but the current term is "parasomnia." Or I saw someone else say "night terrors" in response to you: same thing. It is very common in children and even some adults. Like sleep-walking, they don't even know it is happening, so don't worry! My husband is a long time sleep-walker/talker, so we weren't surprised by it. That knowledge might help you too if those things run in your family...

I never had to wake him up though to get him to stop...he just would on his own.

It could be gas, and when he is in an upright position it releaves the pressure.

Babies' sleep patterns are different than adults. They have periods of active/inactive sleep instead of the stages that we have. He is probably just in active sleep and dreaming of sensations, feelings, etc. since he really can't have a nightmare at this point. Keep an eye on any pattern that you see and bring it up to the ped. That way it will be charted and if it does end up needing treatment, you will have documentation to warrant the studies needed.


My daughter used to scream in terror up until about 18months old we would ruch in to her and she would be fast asleep. We never picker her up or woke her up and she just grew out of it. I don't know what was going through her mind and it was horrible to think of her as being so scared but I think it is just a stage and your son will grow out of it.

It sounds like night terrors. Our son went through this. The pediatrician will tell you he's too young; however, we disagree. Our nurse told us her child went through it and we did some research and found it to be true. At this point it is more frightening for the parent than the child as they are not aware they are doing this. It will eventually turn into sleep walk/talk. What we learned is not to wake them during the episode. We did notice a pattern and it happened w/in 1 hr. to 1 1/2 hrs. after falling asleep. If we gently woke him prior to that time then he would go back to sleep without difficulty and no episode.

I have more info and would be happy to discuss with you more if you determine this is what is happening. Just reply to this message.

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