Babies are born with reflexes and behaviors that prepare them to engage with the world around them. Learning to read your baby’s body language will enhance your ability to see when your baby is ready to respond to you, or when your baby is a bit over-stimulated and needs time to regroup.
Some newborn reflexes promote transition to this world. The following are some of the most obvious reflexes:
- Crawl Reflex helps baby get to the breast after delivery.
- Rooting and Sucking Reflex. When you touch the corner of a baby’s mouth the baby turns toward that side. When then put your finger or nipple into baby’s mouth, baby will suck. As baby develops her suck-breath-swallow pattern, mother learns this first language of communication.
- Moro Reflex or startle reflex. In response to a sudden sound or movement, a baby throws back his head and first extends, then brings back to midline, both her arms and legs.
- Fencing Reflex. When a baby’s head is turned to one side, the arm on that side stretches out and the opposite arm bends up at the elbow. In this position the baby can see her hand and practice her eye-hand coordination.
- Grasp Reflex. Stroking the palm of a baby’s hand causes the baby to grasp a finger. This seems to stabilize the baby. The grasp reflex lasts until about 5 to 6 months of age.
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Tummy time helps the baby move out of the flexed, inter-uterine position.
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The first month is often spent eating, sleeping and filling a diaper. Now, at one month, the baby is more prepared to engage with the world. Babies develop from the top of their head to the bottom of their feet; from the middle of the body toward the outside of the body.
- Brings hands toward mouth.
- Keeps hands fisted.
- Moves with some jerky movements.
- Moves head from side to side when on back.
- Though eyes still wander and sometimes cross, baby focuses 8-12 inches from face and loves to look at a human face.
- Sees bold, high-contrast patterns such as black-and-white.
- Hearing is fully developed, and baby responds best to a high-pitch voice, repeating sounds, and raised eyebrows.
- Baby can distinguish her mother’s breast pad from that of another woman.
© HUG Your Baby 2018