By now you've certainly seen your baby scared, whether in response to an unexpected noise, a stranger, or even an angry tone of voice (hey, you're not the first mom to let loose on her partner!). Unfortunately, those experiences could literally come back to haunt her and give her nightmares -- the terrified, piercing scream will be hard to miss. Even watching or hearing the sounds from action-packed programs on TV could contribute to nightmares; you may think she's too young to understand what's happening, but in fact babies can recognize adult-style fear -- what they don't know is that what they're seeing and hearing isn't real.
Want to say goodbye to the bogeyman? If your baby's had a passing fright, chances are the bad dreams will subside with time. But if exposure to the source of her terror continues, she is likely to keep having bad dreams. If you can't remove the offending object or event, help her adjust by showing her that these things won't hurt her. Calmly soothe and remind her that she's safe. She may not exactly understand the words, but she'll get the message from your actions. And soon, her sweet dreams will return.