The Startle Reflex and Why Babies Get It Done


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If you want to see the startle reflex in action simply observe newborns when they feel as if they might fall down or when they hear an unsettling or loud noise, such as a dog barking or a door shutting. 2  When newborns are exposed to startling environmental stimuli, they will instinctively extend their arms and legs, open their fingers and arch their backs. This is an involuntary startle response called the Moro reflex. Your baby does this reflexively in response to being startled.

It’s something that newborn babies do. The reflex — also known as the startle reflex — reaches a peak when your baby reaches 1 month and begins to disappear when they turn 2 months old. Why Babies Startle. The moro reflex can be stimulated by several things. Motorically, it can be stimulated by dropping the baby’s head back slightly, or any sudden movement to the baby, such as holding the baby under her back and then quickly dropping your hands a few inches, so she is quickly lowered.

When the baby feels like he is falling, the reflex kicks in. Also called the startle reflex, this is said to occur when the baby suddenly wakes up from his sleep. The action might seem unnatural and even harmful, as it is not anywhere close to the way the child wakes up normally, he might pull his knees, and raise his arms, only to go back to the fetal position again.

What Triggers Baby Startle Reflexes? The startle reflex is triggered due to some external stimuli, and some of them are given below. Know why they occur: Auditory: If there occur any sudden noises like a slamming door or a clang of a pot, the reflex may kick in.

Visual: Changes in the amount of light in the room can also cause the reflex to kick in. The Moro reflex, also referred to as the startle reflex, is one of several reflexes that newborn babies naturally exhibit; it’s one out of nine to be precise. The Moro reflex occurs when a baby is sleeping and is suddenly started awake.

What does the Moro reflex look like?The Moro or startle reflex causes your baby to extend their arms, legs, and fingers and arch when startled by the feeling of falling, a loud noise, or ​other environmental stimuli. Babies will typically exhibit a “startled” look. Pediatricians will typically check for this response right after birth and at the first baby check-ups.

All healthy babies startle at surprise sounds or surprise visual stimulation. Newborns are born with this startling habit, technically called Moro Reflex.What happens is your baby hears a sudden sound or notices a sudden movement and she’ll fling out her arms, open her eyes a little wider, spread her fingers, and instinctively reach for her closest caregiver usually her mama. The Moro reflex, or startle reflex, refers to an involuntary motor response that infants develop shortly after birth.

A Moro reflex may involve the.

List of related literature:

Infants who are confronted with a loud noise or some kind of physical shock will throw their arms outward and arch their back; this is the startle reflex.

“A Textbook of Children's and Young People's Nursing E-Book” by Edward Alan Glasper, Dr Jim Richardson, James Richardson
from A Textbook of Children’s and Young People’s Nursing E-Book
by Edward Alan Glasper, Dr Jim Richardson, James Richardson
Elsevier Health Sciences UK, 2010

Also known as the Moro reflex, the startle reflex occurs more frequently in some babies than in others, sometimes for no apparent reason, but most often in response to a loud noise, jolting, or a feeling of falling—as when a newborn is picked up or placed down without enough support.

“What to Expect the First Year” by Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel
from What to Expect the First Year
by Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel
Workman Publishing Company, 2014

The Moro (or startle) reflex results when the infant is exposed to a loud noise, causing the infant’s legs to draw up and arms to fling out.

“Counseling the Nursing Mother” by Judith Lauwers, Anna Swisher
from Counseling the Nursing Mother
by Judith Lauwers, Anna Swisher
Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2010

The Moro reflex, also called the startle reflex, is a protective mechanism that fades by the fourth to fifth month, when the infant can roll away from danger.

“Lippincott Review for NCLEX-PN” by Barbara K. Timby, Diana Rupert
from Lippincott Review for NCLEX-PN
by Barbara K. Timby, Diana Rupert
Wolters Kluwer Health, 2020

The other is the Moro reflex, which occurs either when babies are startled by a loud noise or when they suddenly lose support (as when one holds their head from underneath and then suddenly lets it drop).

“Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications: Concepts and Applications” by William Crain
from Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications: Concepts and Applications
by William Crain
Taylor & Francis, 2015

The startle reflex can be elicited very early in the infant’s career; Landis and Hunt found it in babies in the first month of life.

“The Meaning Of Anxiety” by Rollo May Ph.D.
from The Meaning Of Anxiety
by Rollo May Ph.D.
Hauraki Publishing, 2015

The reflex tends to be more likely to be elicited when the baby is awake and alert,

“Human Motor Development: A Lifespan Approach” by Greg Payne, Larry Isaacs
from Human Motor Development: A Lifespan Approach
by Greg Payne, Larry Isaacs
Taylor & Francis, 2020

Newborns react to loud sounds with a startle (Moro) reflex or acoustic blink reflex and react to low-frequency sounds by quieting (see Table 14-6).

“Advanced Pediatric Assessment” by Ellen M. Chiocca
from Advanced Pediatric Assessment
by Ellen M. Chiocca
Lippincott William & Wilkins, 2010

Newborns • Newborns react to loud sounds with a startle (Moro) reflex or acoustic blink reflex and react to low-frequency sounds by quieting (see Table 14.6).

“Advanced Pediatric Assessment, Third Edition” by Ellen M. Chiocca, PhD, CPNP, RNC-NIC
from Advanced Pediatric Assessment, Third Edition
by Ellen M. Chiocca, PhD, CPNP, RNC-NIC
Springer Publishing Company, 2019

Moro reflex (startle reflex) a primitive reflex seen in newborn babies in response to the stimulus of a sudden noise or movement: the baby will fling its arms and legs wide and will appear to stiffen; the arms and legs are then drawn back into flexion.

“Concise Medical Dictionary” by Elizabeth A. Martin, Oxford University Press
from Concise Medical Dictionary
by Elizabeth A. Martin, Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press, 2015

Oktay Kutluk

Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG is one of the world's foremost experts in fertility preservation as well as ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization for infertility treatments. He developed and performed the world's first ovarian transplantation procedures as well as pioneered new ovarian stimulation protocols for embryo and oocyte freezing for breast and endometrial cancer patients.

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  • There are many components to guides for babies to sleep. One place I discovered which successfully combines these is the Calmer Fixer Blueprint (check it out on google) without a doubt the no.1 resource that I’ve seen. Check out all the extraordinary info.

  • This was really helpful. When I don’t swaddle my baby, she starts doing these reflexes and it looks like she’s going out of breath. When I swaddle her, it makes it more easier, and I’m able to sleep.