Baby Care

What Are the Common Newborn Reflexes?

Common Newborn Reflexes and Surprising Facts


Most people are crazy about babies because they are such joys who bring a whiff of innocence to life. Watching a baby alone can, indeed, bring a refreshing feeling to an adult, although it is not always easy. Most parents will probably have a hard time juggling their time between work, romance, and domestic duties.

Babies also have special needs, that’s why it’s important that these needs are met so the little ones can be eased through their development process. And one of the ways a parent or caregiver can help in this process, aside from changing diapers and feeding, is understanding the various reflexes that these infants exhibit within their first few months of life.


A reflex is defined as an involuntary and almost automatic response to a particular stimulus. In newborns, many reflexes may be observed at certain stages of their development. These reflexes are also expected to go away after a certain period, but even so, they serve a purpose for the newborns themselves and also for pediatricians. Infant reflexes are normally used as indicators of developmental progress, and while there are many that one may observe in a single baby, the following are the ten most common.

Common Newborn Reflexes

Rooting reflex

This is one of the first reflex actions one may observe in a newborn. It is responsible for the baby’s nearly instantaneous tendency to move his face and open his mouth towards any object that makes a stroking motion on his cheek.

Suck reflex

Along with the rooting reflex, a baby exhibits a sucking reflex that allows him to latch on to a pacifier or a bottle or breast nipple for feeding.

Moro reflex

Some parents are concerned about babies jerking their bodies or crying in response to a loud and abrupt sound or movement. This is a reflex action that is perfectly normal at certain stages in a newborn’s life.

Tonic neck reflex

One of the most interesting automatic answers is the tonic neck reflex, also called fencing posture. You may notice that when the head of your baby turns to one side, his arm is raised on that side, while the opposite arm is bent like a fence.

Grapes the reflex

When an object (or your finger) is squeezed into or near the palm of the baby, it immediately closes its fingers around the object, very carefully. Surprisingly, this grip can be firm enough to support all its weight.

Stepping reflex

Most human beings display an inborn tendency to walk or run from the time they are born. This is manifested by the stepping reflex which makes a baby lift his legs and make stepping motions when he is carried up in the air or upright on top of a surface.

Babinski reflex

A slight stroke on the soles of your baby’s feet (heels) will activate the rotation of his foot with his toes stretched out. This reflex can be useful to protect the baby from falling.

Newborn chin quiver

If everything else seems reasonable, the shake will automatically disappear at the age of four months. If your baby seems normal, with the usual appetite and alertness that can be attributed to this age, do not worry. If you see that it is strange as a baby should be, or if you have a history of convulsions in your family, I would suggest that a visit to the pediatrician does not hurt, if something can relax you.


More interesting facts about newborns

Vision development involves learning to focus on nearby and distant objects, color discrimination and using both eyes for “stereo” viewing. As soon as a baby sees well, he can start acquiring visual knowledge. She learns how her parents look, the difference between day and night, and how you can say far away. The eyes must coordinate their movements to provide information that is similar to the brain.

Rolling and wandering eye (birth-3 months)

Newborns are legally blind. If their vision were measured, it would be about 20/500. In other words, a baby can only see objects of the size and shape of a breast. It is complex to understand from evolution: it is everything that a newborn needs to see. The vision goes to 20/50 for six or seven months.

Newborn’s eyes might look wander or occasionally cross during the first few months of life.

Eyes crossed

There are two main reasons why your baby may have crossed eyes:

  • Newborn’s vision not yet completely developed – in the few first months the newborn babies practise on focusing, eye-hand coordination, and team their eye movement. Therefore, an immature eye check causes the wandering of the eyes and sometimes seems to cross.
  • Pseudoesotropia in babies is a condition that causes an optical illusion caused by their flat nasal bridge. The newborn babies have flat noses, so they can breastfeed easier. This shape of the nose and the wide set of their eyes makes it look like their eyes are crossed when they are looking at a certain object.

If the cross is an optical illusion caused by epicanthic folds, the parents cannot do anything. As the child gets older, his eyes are usually less crossed.

Newborn Sneezing

Newborn baby sneezes a lot during the first few weeks, but it is not because he/she is cold or sick. It is simply a way to clear their nasal and respiratory passages.


Newborns are amazing creatures with one primary goal as they transition from the womb to the world: survival. Your newborn’s reflexes are in place during those first crucial weeks to help do just that.