A newborn's behaviour is largely governed by innate reflexes. These help your baby to adapt to life outside the womb before he or she is consciously able to make decisions.
Newborn reflexes include:
- Rooting reflex - this causes your baby to turn their cheek in the direction of touch and helps them to orient their mouth towards their mothers breast.
- Sucking reflex - this causes your baby to suck any object that touches their lips or enters their mouth and enables them to feed from birth.
- Moro reflex - this causes your baby to fling their arms outwards, arch their back then bring their arms together as if they were holding something and occurs in response to a loud noise.
- Grasping reflex - this causes your baby to curl their fingers tightly around any object placed in their palm
- Tonic neck reflex - this causes your baby to turn their head, arms and legs to one side when laid on their back, they flex the limbs on the opposite side
- Stepping reflex - this causes your baby to lift their legs as if about to walk when held upright.
- Babinski reflex - this causes your baby to fan then curl their toes when the bottom of their foot is stroked.
The majority of these reflexes will disappear or become voluntary over the first few months of life, however your baby is also born with innate reflexes such as breathing and blinking - these will be maintained throughout life.