Newborn Reflexes

Posted by Lovebly Team on

It is quite evident that babies are spectacular from the very inception of life. It is a fact that they are in a position of performing various reflexes such as rooting the breast and firmly grasping a finger. The following are startle reflexes that will be evident during the first stage of birth.

Types of Startle Reflexes

Trigger- This reflex is a response to a sudden movement within the house or an expected loud sound. However, it is vital to consider that some babies just startle without a significant reason.

Response- this reflex will make the infant tighten its body, throw its little arms up and open the usually closed fists. Its knees will hang in the air and quickly draw its clichéd fists close to his/her body, in a way like giving itself a super hug. This reflex only lasts for some few seconds.

Reason - it is extraordinary as this portrays the first effort of protecting itself from any harm.

It is essential that these reflexes are evident just after birth.

The Moment When You Won’t Notice Startle Reflexes

After six weeks, your baby will have adapted to the surrounding environment including sounds and movements. The infant’s sensitivity to reflexes will gradually decrease and automatically disappear after 4-6 months from birth. It is advisable to offer your baby enough support when moving around the house or the garden.

In some cases, the infant can startle itself awake during a nap, and you can comfort them to ensure that they feel safe.

Is The Presence Of Startle Reflexes Healthy?

Yes. If your baby is not experiencing any reflex like the ones mentioned above, then it is time you visit your pediatrician for advice. With no evidence of noticeable reactions from your baby, it means the infant may have complications on the spinal cord or brain. In such a scenario, only your pediatrician will be in a position of testing and determine the cause.

Root Reflex

Trigger - effective upon applying a tender stroke on the baby’s cheeks.

Response - the infant responds to a touch by turning towards it with an open mouth

How long does these reflex last? – Noticeable during birth and can last for 3-4 months.

Reason: Crucial in making the infant eat food


Suck Reflex

Trigger: yearns for a breast or a bottle or a mother’s finger

Response: when an infant sucks on the nipple

Duration: Noticeable at birth and lasts for 2-4 months

Reason: aids the infant to eat

Walking Reflex

Trigger: hold and support your baby upright on a flat surface

Response: the infant moves one foot after the other in the way of initiating the process of walking

Duration: appears at birth and lasts until when the baby is two months old

Reason: in preparation for the walking process


Neck Reflex

Trigger: the baby lies on the back with a tilt of the head sideways

Response: the baby assumes “a fencing position.”


Grasp Reflex

Trigger: positioning your finger on the infant’s palms

Response: baby tries to initiate a grabbing and makes a fist

Duration:  you will notice this at birth and will last for 3 - 6 months

Reason:  vital in the infant’s development of grasping objects in the future

These reflexes are noticeable at home and significant in the health of the infant. However, there are instances where your baby may fail to affirm these reflexes. Don’t panic – your baby may be hungry, tired or there is a lack of initiating a stimulus. If there is no definite response from your toddler, consider contacting your pediatrician for more advice.


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