When you look into your baby's eyes, you likely see a world of possibilities. You think about who they are and who they will grow up to be. You might even wonder if they will take after you or a loved one. Still, in all the daydreaming, most parents wonder what their child is thinking.
Is your baby looking back at you, wondering who you are, or thinking about some random encounter with the family pet? Is your child thinking anything at all since they cannot speak? The answer to all of the above is likely yes, at least at some point.
Is My Baby Thinking?
Babies are aware. An infant constantly takes in information, trying to make sense of it all. According to cognitive psychologists, babies interpret patterns to understand their environment and their place within it.
While an infant is not performing self-reflection or posing philosophical questions, they are thinking and observing. Their observations will contribute to their understanding of the world and their family and serve as the foundation for their development.
The primary concerns for babies are food, water, and safety, as with every other living thing. They will grow accustomed to patterns quickly, and as their bodies and brains develop, babies will begin to interpret things more complexly through language and interaction.
Can Babies Differentiate Between People?
According to experts, babies as young as three months can differentiate between men and women. While differentiating between biological gender does not indicate awareness of mom and dad, several studies suggest that a baby can tell the difference between a parent and a stranger, especially its mother.
Studies have proven that babies are aware of a mother's voice and know her touch. Still, the distinction and connection between child and parent are not easily discerned. Infants tend to show a preference for either men or women, but the partiality tends to involve the gender of the caregiver.
What Do Babies Dream About?
While researchers assume babies dream, it is impossible to know what they dream about. Dream studies depend on participants to tell them if, what, and when they dream; a baby cannot share these sentiments.
Still, based on research, scientists know that dreams tend to occur during rapid eye movement sleep. Infants spend about 50% sleeping in the REM stage, meaning it is safe to assume they dream. The scientific consensus is that sleep involves brain development, supporting the dreaming theory.
The good news for parents is that their infant is likely not having nightmares. Most researchers believe nightmares do not occur until a child is two or three years old. During toddlerhood, children develop imaginations and understand the concept of fear.
Can a Baby Know Its Name?
From newborn to about three months, your baby responds to your voice and face. They do not yet understand their name. When your child is between five and six months, they will probably begin responding to their name.
Still, even when a child can discern the syllables of their name, they will not understand what it means. In essence, a name begins as an association with them. They know that when you speak the word, they should pay attention.
Wondering If Your Baby Is Happy
Many researchers believe that babies can express happiness. Still, others think babies must learn emotions through experience. Regardless of your belief, newborns show little emotion other than frustration and satisfaction.
A newborn does not have the same experience as you. They do not understand the concept of emotions, and they lack self-awareness. In the early stages of your child's life, all that matters is that you are there for them and provide for them.
Babies are fragile and curious beings. A parent only needs to provide for and care for them to ensure their wellbeing.