Acting on instinct

What makes a baby suck or grab your fingers? These are instinctive reflexes that are part of what makes a human baby.

During the first 3 months of your baby’s life, reflexes control most of his behaviour. While some survival reflexes disappear within weeks to come, like the stepping reflex, while others will last a lifetime, like sneezing.

Rooting reflex Baby turns towards cheek stimulation looking to suckle.
Sucking reflex Baby sucks on anything that is put in his mouth.
Moro reflex Fright to sudden movement and noise.
Grasp The hand grasps when you touch the palm of the hand. The toes curl when soles of the feet are tickled.
Walking His legs will pull up when they touch a surface.
Spontaneous reflexes Swallowing – follows sucking, gagging, yawning, sneezing, hiccupping, and stretching.

As newborn reflexes fade, more purposeful movements replace them.

Physical development can be split into:
  • Gross motor skills as moving arms and legs, sitting, crawling and walking.
  • Fine motor skills such as holding an object, eating with a spoon, drinking from a cup or grasping a toy.

Physical skills develop from head to toe and from the centre of the body outward, children learn gross motor skills before they learn fine motor skills.
Your child is an individual and each human being develops at his own pace. Don’t feel anxious if your infant isn’t sticking 100% to the programme. Take each new skill one step at a time. Use milestones as a guideline and consult your doctor if you are concerned.

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