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Normal reflexes

Your baby has many reflexes, or movements, she makes without realizing it.

  • Moro (startle) reflex: when your baby is startled, she will fling her arms and legs to the sides and arch her back
  • rooting reflex: baby turns her head toward the cheek that is stroked
  • Babinski toe reflex: baby fans her toes when the heel is stroked toward the ball of the foot
  • plantar toe reflex: baby curls toes when the ball of the foot is pressed
  • grasp reflex: baby will grasp your finger when the palm of the hand is stroked
  • tonic neck reflex: when your baby’s head is turned to one side, the arm on that side stretches out while the opposite arm bends up at the elbow
  • walking reflex: baby will mimic walking when held under her arms.


Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5 Years Old, fifth edition

To avoid awkward sentences, instead of referring to your child as "he/she" or "him/her," this guide will alternate between "he" or she" and "him" or "her."

First published: 02/01/2010
Last updated: 01/01/2014

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts, including the Pediatric Department of Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic