My 4-month-old baby will be laying on the bed and suddenly throw out his arms like something has frightened him or he’s fallen and start screaming hysterically?? I’m not sure why? Is something wrong with him?
Baby Help Line:
The Startle Reflex In Newborn Babies
What beautiful children, and such a lovely photo.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with your son. What you are seeing is a normal reflex present in all newborn babies. This startle reflex is called the Moro reflex. Because they have not yet got voluntary control over their little bodies, they can startle themselves by a jerk or sudden movement or a loud noise.
Some babies have the reflex movement but don’t seem to be concerned, others think the world is ending!
Babies startle with a sudden noise, or unexpected movement or sometimes even being touched when asleep. As they get more control over their bodies, around 5 – 6 months of age, the reflex disappears. Babies are usually tested for the Moro reflex after birth, as it is a really good indication of normal motor development.
This fear reflex is the only unlearned fear, all others we learn as we develop and experience the world. The reflex will make the baby tighten the body, fling his or her arms up and out and open up his or her usually tightly clenched fists. He or she will draw up the knees, and then bring the arms and re-clenched fists close to his or her body — almost as hugging himself.
You can see a short video clip of the Moro reflex in a newborn baby here below.
Your little boy should grow out of it in the next couple of months, so I wouldn’t be concerned, just comfort him when it happens.
Enjoy your lovely family,
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