Baby's Motor Development: From Rolling Over to First Steps
Baby's reflexes and motor skills in the first 12 months—and beyond
Bringing home a new baby can be an exciting, overwhelming, and nerve-wracking experience for a new parent. Often it feels as though this tiny little creature demands so much time and energy—as if all your little baby is capable of is eating, sleeping, and crying. But that’s not really the case. Your new baby is so busy growing, and what’s going on in that tiny little body is fascinating.
Baby Reflexes at Birth
Every infant is born with certain reflexes that help prepare for the extraordinary physical development that takes place over the first year of life. Even though a baby may be hours or just days old, these reflexes are already present and demonstrate that Baby is prepared to grow and develop gross motor skills.
|Rooting Reflex||If you stroke a newborn’s cheek, she will turn to the side of the stroke, opening her mouth ready to suck. This is the baby’s way of saying “I’m ready to eat.”|
|Babkin Reflex||If you put pressure in a newborn’s palm, he will bring his fist to his mouth and possibly try to put a finger inside. This reflex will eventually help the baby suck on his fingers.|
|Crawling Reflex||If you place a newborn on his tummy, he will flex his legs underneath him and possibly even pick up his head. This reflex prepares him for crawling.|
|Babinski Reflex||If you hold a newborn’s foot and stroke it from heel to toe, she will spread out her toes and turn her foot inward. This is a normal healthy response to this type of touch.|
|Walking or Stepping Reflex||If you hold a newborn upright on a flat surface, such as a table or a bed, she will lift one foot, then the other as though trying to walk. This reflex shows that the baby is already “wired” to take real steps, a year or so down the road.|
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