Mother Nature has equipped your baby with many innate survival skills and reflexes. You can keep tabs on his development by performing these fun and fascinating little check-ups.
To stimulate the rooting reflex, stroke the side of your baby's cheek with yoru fingers or breast. He'll turn his head toward it, open wide and begin to make sucking movements with his mouth. This can be a big help to nursing moms trying to teach their babies to latch on.
Next is the Moro, or startle relfex. Sit your baby upright for a few seconds with your hands lightly gripping his underarms, and your fingers supporting his neck, then suddenly, but gently, lower his back. He'll throw out his arms and legs, and extend his nack as if to say "Pick me up!" Loud, unexpected noises may elicit this reflex and he may even cry when especially startled. Just pick the baby up and soothe him when this happens.
You can stimulate the grasp reflex when you stroke your baby's palm with your finger. He'll immediately hold on so tight you might have to pry his little fingers off.
To see the stepping reflex, hold your baby under his armpits with his legs dangling, then lower him down so his toes touch the floor. He should immediately place one foot in front of the other and start to step in place.
Another common reflex is the tonic or fencing position. When your baby is placed on her back, gently turn her head to the right. her right arm will shoot out in front of her and she'll raise her other arm above her head. This helps your baby focus on the hand that's out in front of her.
More Baby's First Year Videos
Baby's First Checkup
Breastfeeding -- Latching On
Breastfeeding -- Positions
Caring for Cradle Cap and Baby Acne
Caring for the Umbilical Cord
Creating a Bond with Sibling
Installing a Car Seat
Picking Up Your Baby
Leaving the Hospital
Recovery For New Moms
Helping Baby Be a Good Sleeper
Using a Thermometer
Changing a Diaper
See all Parenting.com videos