Baby Reflexes

Babies are born with a variety of different reflexes. You should be aware of these so that you do not worry when everything is normal but you do notice if your baby is not displaying something that he or she should. The following is a list of some of the main reflexes, according to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.

Root reflex

If you touch the side of your baby’s mouth, you might notice that he or she will turn towards your finger. Your baby’s mouth will open as he or she tries to get to your finger. This root reflex makes it easier for babies to feed. It is a reflex that has your baby searching out the mother’s breasts so that he or she can nurse.

Grasp reflex

Your child will automatically grasp something that is put in his or her hand. If you touch your child’s palm, then he or she will try to wrap his or her fingers around yours.

Suck reflex

If something touches the roof of your child’s mouth, he or she will suck. This reflex helps your child know to suck when on the mother’s breast. It may not fully form until the baby is 36 weeks gestation, which makes it difficult for some premature babies to feed correctly.

Moro reflex

Also known as the startle reflex, the Moro reflex describes a child being startled by a sudden movement or a sound. The baby will push his or her head back, push out his or her arms, cry and pull back his or her limbs. It ends at about six months of age.

Step reflex

If you hold your child and place his or her feet on the ground, your child may look like he or she is trying to walk or dance. The step reflex is sometimes referred to as the dance or walking reflex.

Babinski reflex

Until approximately 2 years, babies show the Babinski reflex. If you stroke the bottom of the babies foot, he or she will extend his or her big toe and fan the others.

Tonic neck reflex

When the baby is facing one direction, that arm will splay out. The arm on the other side will go up.

There are many different reflexes that a baby is born with. These all last for different amounts of time. If you have any concerns about reflexes, contact your pediatrician.