A Newborn’s Reflexes

Posted on 15. Nov, 2011 by in Birth, Doctor's Visits, Pregnancy Education

Newborns are helpless in so many ways and they need constant care and attention to survive once they enter into the world.

However, nature has ingrained several reflexes that help foster them into highly functioning beings. These survival reflexes have stayed with us humans for thousands of years. While some are more pronounced than others, these inherent reflexes are key components that will be checked individually once you deliver your child.

Rooting Reflex: Probably one of the most well-known of all the newborn reflexes, the rooting reflex happens when a newborn’s cheek area closest to their mouth is brushed with a finger or other object. The baby will open its mouth to attempt to find food, if you place your finger in his mouth, your baby will immediately start to suck in hopes of receiving food.

This helps the baby to breastfeed and find its food source – be it a bottle or breast. This reflex will start to diminish around four months of age but can stay around for up to seven months.

Palmer & Planter Grasp Reflex: Palmer refers to the hand, this reflex occurs when an object, like your finger, is placed inside your baby’s palm. They will curl their fingers around you and hold on tight.

The Planter Reflex alludes to the feet. When you stroke or touch your baby’s feet and toe area, they will attempt to curl their toes around whatever is there.

The Palmer Reflex (also known as the Babinski reflex) begins to fade around three months but can last until around six. The Planter reflex diminishes around a year of age.

Moro’s Reflex: This is known primarily as the startle reflex. Newborns that hear a loud sound get startled, this means they extend their arms and legs to their outermost position and fan their fingers out as far as they can go.

This reflex can also happen if the baby’s head and neck aren’t supported fully or in the correct way, giving the infant a sense that it’s falling.

There are more reflexes associated with newborns but these are the most prominent and well known. Essentially, infants are equipped with these innate reflexes to help them thrive in their early months of life.

If you are concerned in any way with your child’s development, bring your cares and concerns to your doctor and do your own research online. While every baby develops differently, nothing is ever a trivial concern when it comes to caring for your child. Your child’s pediatrician is there to help you every step of the way and so are your maternal instincts.


About the author: Danielle is a freelance blogger and editor specializing in parenting, family, pregnancy, social media, and entrepreneurial topics. To learn more about Danielle, please visit her website at www.PenPointEditorial.com.

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