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Newborn Reflexes

Moro Reflex or the "Startle" Reflex
This reflex is a response to a surprisingly loud noise or when an infant feels like it is falling. This newborn reflex disappears when babies reach their second month of life. It is also known as the startle reflex. The presence of this reflex and its three steps lets the baby's doctor know that the baby's brain is appropriately communicating with the bodies. The three steps are:
 
  • The startle
  • The little arms swing out quickly as if to balance or catch herself
  • The arms swing back in to grab onto something directly in front of her, as if to prevent the fall.
     
Galant Reflex
You can see this reflex by placing your baby face down across your lap. If you run your finger down the left side of his spine, you will see him seem to curl in sideways to the left. The same should happen on the right side as well.
 
Extrusion Reflex or Tongue-Thrust Reflex
A newborn baby is not developmentally ready to eat solid foods. Her throat muscles will not be developed enough to swallow solid foods until she is at least four months old. It is roughly around this time that she will be able to use her tongue to transfer food from the front to the back of the mouth to swallow safely. To see this in action, touch her tongue -- she should react by pushing her tongue outward or forward to resist.
 
Plantar Grasp or the "Babinski" Reflex
You can see this newborn reflex in action by running your finger down the center of the bottom of your baby's foot. His toes will spread apart and the foot will turn slightly inward. If you do the same thing to an adult's foot, you will see the opposite happen. The toes should clench together tightly.
 
Stepping or Walking Reflex
If you hold your baby upright and place her feet on a flat surface, she will place one foot in front of the other and appear to "walk." Of course without strength, coordination, and balance, she could never really walk at this point. This reflex should disappear after around three months.
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Newborn Development Information

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