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Week 6: Your baby's reflexes explained

Week 6: Your baby's reflexes explained

Newborn babies won't have much control over their bodies for a couple more months, but luckily Mother Nature gave them some pretty incredible survival skills. One of these skills is the involuntary movements your baby might exhibit in response to stimulation.

These reactions will lead your baby to kick, twitch or make jerky movements - sometimes without warning, but that only means your baby's brain and nervous system is developing normally.

Most of these reflexes are only temporary and will disappear when your baby reaches his first birthday.

Rooting reflex
This reflex starts when the corner of the baby's mouth is stroked or touched. The baby will turn their head and open their mouth in the stroking direction. This helps the baby find the breast or bottle to start feeding and is beneficial for those midnight feeds.

How to check?
Stroke your baby's cheek gently. He should turn his head in the direction of the touch and open his mouth, even if it's just slightly.

When does it go?
This reflex only remains for the first four months.

Moro reflex
The Moro or startle reflex usually occurs when a baby is startled by a loud sound or movement. When your baby is scared, he will throw his head back, extend his arms and legs, cry and pull his arms and legs back into his chest.

How to check?
In response to a loud sound or disturbance, your baby will throw its head back, stretch out its arms and legs, cry, and then withdraw its arms and legs.

When does it go?
This reflex only remains for the first two months.

Grasp reflex
This is easily one of our favorite reflexes! The grasp reflex is the baby's way of holding on to its mother and can be seen when you place your finger inside your baby's hand, and they grab on to it.

How to check?
Gently rub the baby's open palm with your finger, and it will immediately grasp your finger. This will also allow you to place a rattle or soft toy in your baby's hand. Gently stroke the back of their hand to release the toy.

When does it go?
This reflex will gradually go away after the third month. By then, your baby will be able to let go of objects more easily.

Stepping reflex
This reflex, also known as the dancing or walking reflex, makes it seem like your baby is taking steps when held upright with his feet touching a solid surface.

How to check?
Hold the baby in the air with his legs dangling and then gently bring him down till its feet begin to touch the floor or a tabletop. You will notice that the baby will put one foot forward as if trying to walk.

When does it go?
This reflex will remain for the first two months.



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