Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

December 16, 2014

Developmental Reflexes in 1st Year of Life: Birth to 3-4 months

Posted by: childandfamily

Our physical therapy team provides this summary of reflexes that begin to develop at birth and take a couple of months to fully integrate.

It describes what to do to elicit the reflex and what you should see your child do in response.

Reflex

Timeline

Description

Response

Spontaneous Stepping

Birth to 1-2 months

While supporting the infant in the standing position with your hands under their arms and around the chest and their feet touching the surface, incline the child forward and gently move them forward to accompany any stepping.

Child will make alternating, rhythmical and coordinated stepping movements.

Rooting Reflex

Birth to 3-4 months

While child is lying on back with head in the middle and hands on the chest, use finger to stroke from the corner of the mouth out towards the check, upper lip and lower lip.

Stimulation of corners of mouth will result in a directed head turning toward the stimulated side. Stimulation of upper lip causes mouth to open and head to tilt backward. Stimulation of lower lip cause mouth to open and head to tilt forward. Infant tries to suck the finger.

Sucking Reflex

Birth to 3-4 months

While child is lying on back with head in the middle and hands on chest, place a finger or nipple in infant’s mouth.

Will result in rhythmical sucking movements.

Palmar Grasp

Birth to 3-4 months

While infant is lying on back with head in middle and hands free, place your index finger into the hands of the infant from the pinky finger side and gently press the palm surface.

Infant’s fingers flex (grasp) around your index finger.