I: What Are Infant Reflexes?

15/12/2009 17:24 | Updated 22 May 2015

Newborns automatically make some involuntary actions that don't have to be learnt, they are innate.

All babies are born with a number of these infant, or primitive, reflexes.

Some reflexes may last only days, whereas others may last for months. We have listed some below.

The rooting reflex - she will turn her head if you stroke her cheek. This is to help her to find the breast.

The sucking reflex - she will suck anything that is put into her mouth. This reflex, with the rooting reflex, allows her to feed.

The Moro reflex – she will react to a loud noise, or the sensation of falling. She will extend her arms, legs and fingers, arch her back and probably cry, before bringing her arms back against her body.

The stepping reflex - if you hold her up vertically and put her feet against a flat surface, she will put one foot in front of the other, as if she is walking.

The swimming reflex – she will make swimming motions if placed into water tummy down (she is likely to swallow water at the same time so don't test this at home).

The Galant reflex – if you stroke her back along one side of her body, she will curve towards that side.

The Palmar grasp reflex - she will grip something put into the palm of her hand, like a finger. This grip can be very strong.

Plantar and Babinski reflexes – she will curl her toes inwards if the bottom of the foot is stroked from heel to toe. If the side of her foot is stroked, she will fan her toes out.

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