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Newborn Reflexes

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 27-11-2006

Babies have special reflexes that last only a few
months. It helps to know what the reflexes are so you are not alarmed when they occur.

The
following reflexes are normal for newborns:

  • Moro or “startle” reflex: This occurs when
    your baby’s head shifts position quickly. Or when her head falls backward. Or when your baby is
    startled by something loud. She will react by throwing out her arms and legs and extending her neck.
    Your baby will then quickly bring her arms together. She may cry when doing this. This reflex should
    go away after two months.
  • Rooting reflex: This is how your baby hunts for her mother’s
    breast. If you gently stroke the side of her cheek with your finger, she will turn her head toward
    your finger. This lasts for three to four months.
  • Grasp reflex: Your baby will clench her
    fist around anything pressed into the palm of her hand. You can show this to a big brother or
    sister. Say, “The baby wants to hold on to your finger.” This reflex goes away at five to six
    months.
  • Stepping reflex: If you hold a newborn baby upright under her arms with her feet on
    a hard surface, her feet will make a stepping action. This happens even though it is a long time
    before she is ready to stand or walk. This usually lasts a couple of months.

Ask your
doctor if you have any questions about your baby’s reflexes.

This
content has been provided freely by CMC. Click Healthy Start,
Grow Smart—Your Newborn
for your free download. Click GreatDad Free Ebook to download the entire Health
Start, Grow Smart series.

Note: For info on sex after delivery, subscribe now to the GreatDad newsletter for new dads.

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