Inborn baby reflexes

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Reflexes are an involuntary reaction of a muscle or a group of muscles to an external irritant. Many parents are surprised when they realize that their baby can do a lot during first days of his life


Reflexes are an involuntary reaction of a muscle or a group of muscles to an
external irritant.

Many parents are surprised when they realize that their baby can do a lot
during first days of his life. Even if some of so-called primitive reflexes, according
to scientists, are an atavism of past
times of human development, some of them have reasonable meaning: for
example, suckling and grasping reflexes serve for eating and protection
of small organism. While some reflexes are kept for the whole life (for
example, respiratory reflex), other reflexes disappear, giving way to
voluntary, controlled motor habits and skills. Modern neonatology
(science, studying baby), treats reflexes like a peculiar temporary
“equipment” for the first period, as baby`s organism should know how to
fulfill some vital functions right after birth, as there`s no time to
learn. It is very important for a podiatrist to know whether a baby has
these “archaic” reflexes, as their presence proves that nervous system
is working, and also shows a level of baby development.

Spontaneous, inborn motions and behavior of a newborn:

- When a baby is lying on a belly, he turns head on one side, to have a possibility
to breathe.

 This motion is vital and is kept for the whole life.


-    If you touch a baby`s cheek, he turns his head
towards you and opens mouth (searching reflex). This way he searches
for food source.

-    During first nursing a mother can notice that a
baby`s suckling reflex is highly developed. A baby begins suckling
strongly, when he feels a nipple or even finger in his mouth.

-    Babies know how to swallow (swallowing reflex) and so they can suckle colostrums
at once.

-    If you raise a newborn the way that his feet would
be below, he begins “walking” automatically (running reflex). This
reaction disappears in 3-6 weeks.

-    Grasping reflex - is a striking biological
phenomenon: if you touch a baby`s palm with a finger or some object, a
baby will grasp it in his fist so strong, that you will be able to
raise him a little. This reflex will disappear when a baby learns
taking objects, on about 4th month of life. Feet also have grasping
reflex. When you press a baby`s feet, his toes begin bending and remain
in this position until irritation stops. When a baby learns standing
and walking, this reflex will disappear.

-    All newborns have also a crawl reflex. Lying on a
belly, a baby pulls legs under his body, moving forward slightly. In a
minute his legs weaken and he remains lying motionless.

Gripping reflex (also called Moro`s reflex) is a protective reaction of
organism. Noise or change of position frightens a baby and he reacts
with rough motions to it. He tosses his arms and legs up with lightning
speed, like he wants gripping something. On 4th month of life this
reaction disappears.



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