||A newborn baby’s movements are generally uncontrolled but she is born with certain reflexes that are key to her survival.
- Rooting Reflex (to four months) If you brush your baby’s cheek with your nipple or a teat she will turn towards it mouth open ready to feed.
- Stepping or Walking Reflex (to 11 weeks) If you hold your baby upright under her arms and lower her onto a flat surface she will make a walking movement with her legs. If you hold your baby upright near a step, she lifts her foot to ‘step up’.
- Grasp reflex (to 5 months) when you put your finger or an object in your baby’s hand, she will grasp it tightly but is unable to hold an object.
- The Moro or startle reflex (to 16 weeks) If startled your baby will arch her back, throw her arms and legs in a star shape with her fingers outstretched and open her eyes wide.
- Sucking Reflex: Babies are born with a natural sucking in reflex, which ensures that they are able to feed. She will suck when a soft object is placed in her mouth. You may also find that she sucks on her own fingers or on yours. Babies practise sucking in the womb.
- Babinski’s Reflex (until able to walk) If you stroke the sole of your baby’s foot from heel to toe, her big toe bends backwards and her other toes will spread out. This disappears when she learns to walk.