Breastfeeding

The newborn baby ~ primitive reflexes

Your baby has many primitive reflexes – the startle, or Morrow reflex. Your baby also has a sucking reflex. When the nipple stimulates the baby’s tongue, he will suck and swallow, suck and swallow. It’s a primitive urge to live, so the baby will drink and sustain life.

The baby also has the rooting reflex. If you touch the baby on the side of his face, he will turn instinctively to that side and seek out the nipple. That’s why we don’t need to hold the baby’s head and jam them onto the breast like midwives in some hospitals do. A baby knows where to find the breast.

Babies have a stepping, or walking, reflex. If you hold a baby upright under his arms, when he has no clothes on, with his feet touching the floor, he will stand and walk along the surface with your support.

All these reflexes are highly toned when the baby is born and slowly decrease, as the baby gets older.