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Health Information For Parents
Babies are born with some reflexes. They respond naturally to things like light or touch in certain ways. If you put your finger in your newborn’s hand, for example, the baby probably will take hold of it. If you lightly touch around the baby’s mouth, your little one will likely make a sucking motion.
Babies usually display rooting, sucking, startle, grasp, and tonic neck reflexes soon after birth. These reflexes are involuntary movements that are a normal part of infant development. These early reflexes gradually disappear as babies mature, usually by the time they are 3–6 months old.
The rooting and sucking reflexes help a newborn get nourishment. Rooting prompts an infant to automatically turn in the direction of a food source, whether that’s a breast or a bottle. You can see this response if you gently stroke your newborn’s cheek near the mouth with your hand. Your infant will turn in that direction, mouth open, ready to suck. When a breast or a bottle nipple is placed in the baby’s mouth, the baby will reflexively begin to suck.
A baby is also born with a startle response called the Moro reflex. An infant who is startled (for example, by a loud noise) or abruptly moved may respond by throwing out his or her arms and legs and curling them in again.
Your baby also may show a grasp reflex by taking hold of your finger when you place it in his or her palm. If you touch the sole of your newborn’s foot, it will flex and the toes will curl.
A baby will also likely show the tonic neck reflex, or fencer’s pose. This happens when a newborn’s head is turned to one side and the infant automatically straightens the arm on that side of the body while bending the opposite arm.
As your baby grows, these reflexes will become less noticeable and more purposeful movements will develop.
Give your baby space to stretch and move the arms and legs. Let your baby spend some time on the tummy when awake and alert to help strengthen back and neck muscles. Always stay with your baby during tummy time.
Your baby’s doctor will check these reflexes as part of your baby’s routine physical examinations, making sure they’re present and the same on both sides, and taking note of when they disappear.
Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s movements.
Advice and information for expectant and new parents.
A newborn’s growth and development is measured from the moment of birth. Find out if your baby’s size is normal, and what to expect as your baby grows.
By the time you hold your new baby for the first time, you’ve probably chosen your little one’s doctor. Learn about your newborn’s medical care.
Play is the primary way that infants learn how to move, communicate, socialize, and understand their surroundings. And during the first month of life, your baby will learn by interacting with you.
Your newborn is taking in first sights, sounds, and smells while learning to explore the world through the senses. What are your baby’s responses to light, noise, and touch?
From birth, your newborn has been communicating with you. Crying may seem like a foreign language, but soon you’ll know what your baby needs – a diaper change, a feeding, or your touch.
From scooting to crawling to cruising, during these months, babies are learning how to get around.
At this age, kids are learning to roll over, reach out to get what they want, and sit up. Provide a safe place to practice moving and lots of interesting objects to reach for.
The reflexes they had just after birth start to disappear as babies this age gain more control over movements and interact more with their environment.
You might think of babies and toddlers when you hear the words “babyproofing” or “childproofing,” but unintentional injury is the leading cause of death in kids 14 and under.
Choosing baby products can be confusing, but one consideration must never be compromised: your little one’s safety.
Doctors use milestones to tell if a baby is developing as expected. Here are some things your baby may be doing this month.
Doctors use certain milestones to tell if a baby is developing as expected. Here are some things your baby may be doing.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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