newborn reflexes

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  • Created on: 01-11-12 17:44
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Newborn Reflexes
All healthy babies are born with natural reflexes that may help them survive as they
develop. These reflexes are very basic and may seem meager to us but they are
extremely important to a newborn child and help its survival success greatly. Here
are a few examples of newborn reflexes:
Breathing Reflex: this may seem really obvious and basic but the baby would not be
able to live without the breathing reflex. The breathing reflex applies to, as the name
states, naturally breathing and also hiccups and sneezes. When there is something
covering a baby's face the breathing reflex will kick in and the baby will move its
arms and legs in an attempt to get that something off its face. The breathing reflex
also works together with the swim reflex (when baby is placed in water it will move
its arms and legs). When the baby goes underwater it will hold its breath until it
again submerged from the water. It is obvious how vital the breathing reflex is to the
baby as it would not be able to survive without it. Some aspects of the breathing
reflex stay with the child all its life e.g. hiccups & sneezing but some aspects of it
disappear like the holding breath underwater, although it may appear that we do
that that throughout our lifetime it is not a reflex for that whole of our life and at
some point becomes part of our sub-consciousness.
Body Temperature Reflex: infants can maintain their
body temperatures by using the body temperature
reflex. A baby will utilize the body temperature reflex
by crying and shivering, when they are too cold, in
order to alert their parent/carer who may be able to do
something in order to warm up the child. Another way
the baby will use the body temperature reflex in order
to warm up is by tucking their arms and legs in which
may provide extra warmth. In order to cool off a baby will use the body temperature
reflex and automatically push off any blankets and decrease their movement. This
reflex is very useful to a baby, as it will possibly prevent it getting extremely cold
which will prevent illness, which may increase its survival success. It will also
prevent the baby from overheating.
Sucking Reflex: this reflex applies to breastfeeding. The sucking reflex occurs when
the roof of the baby's mouth is touched by something, usually a nipple or a finger,
then they will proceed to suck it simulating the way
they naturally eat. This reflex is very useful in very
young babies and for their mothers as it allows the
child to breastfeed or feed from a bottle easily meaning
that they will not deprive themselves from food, which
will allow them to develop into a healthy strong child.
This reflex disappears 4 months after birth and will be
replaced by voluntary control.


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