Your baby's reflexes

Some reflexes are present from birth but most disappear after two or four months. Reflexes develop to ensure evolutionary survival. What are the most important reflexes you will notice in your baby?

Moro (startle) – disappears after about four months:
When infants are startled by loud sounds or by being suddenly dropped a few inches, they will first spread their arms and stretch out their fingers, then bring their arms back to their body and clench their fingers.

Tonic neck – disappears after about four months:
When infants’ heads are turned to one side, they will extend the arm and leg on that side, and flex their arm and leg on the opposite side, as in a fencing position.

Stepping (walking) – disappears after two or three months:
When infants are held upright with their feet against a flat surface and are moved forward, they appear to walk in a coordinated way.

Placing – disappears after two months:
Similar to the stepping reflex. When infants’ feet are placed against a table edge, they will attempt to step up onto the table.

Grasping (palmar) – disappears after about five months:
When a pencil or finger is placed on infants’ palms, they will grasp it tightly and increase the strength of the grasp if the object is pulled away.

Babkin – disappears after four months:
If objects are placed against both palms, infants will react by opening their mouths, closing their eyes, and turning their heads to one side.

Plantar – disappears after nine months:
Similar to the grasping reflex. When an object or a finger is placed on the soles of infants’ feet near the toes, they will respond by trying to flex their feet.

Babinski – disappears after six months:
If the soles of infants’ feet are stroked from heel to toes, infants will spread the small toes and raise the large one.

Rooting – disappears after three or four months:
If infants’ cheeks are touched, they will turn their heads toward the stimulus and open their mouths as if to find a nipple.

If a finger is put in infants’ mouths, they will respond by sucking and making rhythmic movements with the mouth and tongue.

Swimming – disappears after six months:
Infants will attempt to swim in a coordinated way if placed in water in a prone position.

Ocular neck – disappears after six months:
Infants will tilt their heads back and away from a light shining directly into their eyes.

Pupillary – permanent:
The pupils of infants’ eyes will narrow in bright light and when going to sleep, and will widen in dim light and when waking up.

Source: Human Development

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