At first glance, it seems that the newborn is completely helpless, but it is not. As soon as the baby was born, the child immediately began to search for her mother’s mouth with her mouth, and, having seized the nipple, she began to actively empty it. So “get” his food, he just in the state.
But this is not the only vital skill.
Congenital reflexes are a legacy inherited from distant ancestors by the will of evolution. They are laid in the first weeks of pregnancy during fetal development and manifest in the first hours, days or weeks after birth.
All innate reflexes are considered unconditional, that is, they arise against our will and are not amenable to conscious control. In essence, these are involuntary reactions of the nervous system to irritation that occurs either inside the organism itself or outside. They are regulated primarily by the midbrain, which develops in the first place.
When the cerebral cortex begins to develop (a more perfect gray matter), it takes control of the main part of the nervous system. As soon as this happens, the innate reflexes give way to conditioned.
Moreover, the extinction of most involuntary reactions occurs already in the first year of life.
Knowing the timing of the manifestation and extinction of unconditioned reflexes, parents can notice deviations from the norm in time and ask for help from a doctor. But arranging the baby exam, you must follow some rules.
Much depends on whether the crumb is hungry or full. In the first state, it will react to irritation vigorously, and in the second – sluggishly. So it is better to arrange testing not earlier than half an hour after feeding, with natural light, that is, in the morning.
It is desirable that the temperature in the room was 22−24 ° C.
Oral reflexes are the most important unconditioned reflexes, because thanks to them the child can “find” food and eat it. Arise in response to irritation of the lips of the baby.
Sucking. One has only to give the newborn a breast as it begins to make rhythmic sucking movements. The same reaction will be on your own or someone else’s finger, pacifier, toy.
The reflex appears almost from the first hour after birth and passes by 12–18 months.
Proboscis. If you quickly and easily touch the lips of the crumbs with a dummy or a finger, it will stick out the sponge with a straw. Such a reaction manifests itself in the first hours of life and disappears by the end of the 2nd-3rd month.
Search engine. Carefully and gently stroke the corner of your baby’s mouth or touch the cheek next to the lips with a pacifier and he will instantly turn his head to the direction from which the stimulus was coming. And if you press a little on the middle of your lower lip with your nipple, your mouth will open, your neck will bend, and the baby will try to grab the pacifier with her lips.
This reflex indicates the coordinated work of deep brain structures. On its basis mimic reactions are formed.
The skill manifests itself in the first day of life and lasts up to 3-4 months.
Palmar and mouth. If you put the baby on his back and, taking his hand, gently push his thumb into the center of the palm, he will open his mouth and push the head forward. Do the same with a different pen. The reaction should be the same on both sides.
The reflex prepares the base for conscious movements of the mouth and hands, with the help of which the baby will soon begin to explore the world. This ability appears in the baby in the first 2−3 days of life and dies away by 3 months.
Spinal reflexes are motor reflexes regulated by the spinal cord. With their participation, our body takes different poses and moves in space.
Checking the strength of these “reactions”, the doctor can assess the motor activity of the child.
Grasping. Put a handkerchief in the baby’s palm, and immediately he unconsciously squeezes it into a fist. Sometimes the grip is so strong that if a child takes hold of mom or dad’s fingers, it can be lifted into the air.
Reflex contributes to the development of fine motor skills and speech activity. It appears in the first week of life and disappears after 3-4 months.
Reflex support and automatic walking. Turn the toe face to yourself, take under the arms, fixing the head with your fingers.
If you lift it, it will hold down the legs. If you lower it to the floor, it will stand, leaning on the foot.
If you lean forward, it will begin to “step over” with your legs. This is automatic walking.
If the baby’s legs intersect, do not worry: in the first 1.5 months of life, this is normal. Reflex prepares to walk.
It manifests itself in the first weeks of life and by 3 months dies away.
Reflex crawling. Put the baby on your tummy and touch your palms to its soles.
He will immediately push off from the support and move forward. Reflex activates almost all areas of the brain, developing coordination of movements. “Crawl” so the children begin on the 3-4th day of life, and after 3-4 months they reach the already conscious level.
Reflex Galanta. Put the baby on the tummy and slide your finger along the spine, retreating to his left 1 cm and moving from top to bottom. In response, the baby will kick the back to the right.
Do the same on the right side. The child should bend back to the left. The reflex prepares the nervous system for conscious coordination of movements and strengthens the connection between the hemispheres of the brain.
Manifested from 5−6th day and passes to 3-4 months.
Protective. Put the baby on the tummy – and he immediately turns his head to the side and tries to lift it. The reflex helps to keep the torso, head, arms and legs in the most comfortable position for breathing (and during childbirth allows the baby to not drown).
It is expressed already in the first hours of life and dies away by 1.5 months.
Reflex Perez. Put the baby on the tummy and run your finger along the spine, moving from the tailbone to the neck and slightly pressing on the vertebrae. In response, the baby will raise his head and pelvis, bend his back and bend the knees.
In doing so, he may scream, urinate or poop. Reflex helps the doctor to evaluate the work of the spinal cord.
It manifests itself in the first week of life and evaporates by 3-4 months.
Reflex Moro. It is checked in different ways. You can put your child’s back on the table and suddenly strike your palms right on the tabletop at a distance of 15 cm to the right or left of its head.
In response, the crumb will first spread the handles to the sides, open the cams and straighten the bent legs. After 2–3 seconds, the hands will either return to their original position, or the crumb will embrace them. The first and second phases of the reflex can be expressed with different strengths – this is considered the norm.
It is called from the first days of life and disappears by 4−5 months.
Plantar. Press your thumb on the sole of the baby at the base of the index or middle finger – and they will press against the foot. If you also stimulate the outer edge of the foot, moving from the heel up, the big toe will be unbendable, and the rest will disperse like a fan.
Reflex prepares the basis for conscious control of the toes. Manifested in the first days of life and fades to 12−14 months.
Cervico-tonic reflexes are responsible for the ability of the muscles to fix and hold the desired body position. They allow you to assess the muscle tone of the baby and the development of the medulla and medulla.
Asymmetrical. If you turn the baby’s head to the right, he will straighten his right arm and right leg and bend his left arm and left leg. The reflex helps the baby to “find” and see the pens in the first months of life, coordinates the eyes and brain and contributes to the development of the vestibular apparatus.
It manifests itself in the first days of life and passes to 3-4 months.
Symmetrical. Gently bend the head of the baby so that the chin touches the chest: the arms will immediately bend and the legs will open. If you straighten the head, everything will be the opposite: the handles will unbend, and the legs will bend. Such a “chain reaction” prepares the child for conscious crawling.
It manifests itself in the first days of life and fades away by 3-4 months.
Labyrinth. In the “lying on the stomach” position, the head of the baby falls on the chest or is thrown back, the back is arched, the hands are pressed to the chest, the fingers are compressed into fists, the legs are bent at the knees and pressed to the stomach. After a few minutes, the child begins to perform swimming movements that become spontaneous crawling. The reflex helps to train the muscles, so that later the child can sit down and stand on his legs.
It appears in the first days of life and disappears by 3-4 months.
Congenital reflexes, the doctor checks the baby at every inspection and without fail. This routine procedure allows you to simply and effectively track the development of the central nervous system: deviations from the norm become immediately noticeable. So, reflexes can be weak, too strong or asymmetrical.
Premature babies are most often at risk; children who have suffered hypoxia, asphyxia, intrauterine infection or birth trauma; infants with certain hereditary diseases (myopathy, phenylketonuria, etc.). In a child who has suffered any disease in the first weeks of life, the reflexes, as a rule, temporarily weaken: at this age, each failure causes a decrease in the activity of the nervous system. As a treatment in all three cases, neurologists prescribe a classic therapeutic massage and gymnastics, and, if necessary, prescribe nootropics – drugs that improve brain activity.
The same tactic is used in the late extinction of unconditioned reflexes.