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Newborn Reflexes

There are some things that babies just naturally do after they’re born. These are called reflexes.

Sucking And Rooting
If you stroke your baby’s lip or cheek, she’ll turn her head toward your touch, open her mouth wide, and attempt to suck. This reflex is strongest when she’s hungry. Although sucking and swallowing are instinctive, don’t be surprised if your baby seems pretty uncoordinated during the first days of her life.

Babies, just as adults, have a gag reflex. When something is inserted too far into your baby’s mouth, along the back of his tongue, he’ll gag. This is actually a protective reflex to make sure his airway does not get blocked.

When an object is placed in the palm of your baby’s hand, she’ll automatically curl her fingers and grab hold of it. This reflex gradually disappears, and your baby will be able to purposefully grasp and hold objects by the time she’s approximately four months old.

Startle Reflex
You may notice that your baby startles easily when he sees a sudden movement, or hears an unexpected or loud noise, even his own crying. His arms fly outward, palms open, and circle around back toward his body like a giant arm circle. This reflex is most frequent during the first weeks of life and normally disappears by the time your baby is three months old.

Stepping Reflex
When you hold your baby upright with her feet touching a table or flat surface, she looks like she’s stepping or walking. This reflex normally disappears by the time your baby is a month old, and it won’t return until your baby is getting ready to walk.