Stepping Reflex in Babies Definition
January 18, 2023
When you have a new baby, it’s hard not to be amazed by everything they do. Experts call the funny little movements babies to make when they are very young “newborn reflexes” or “neonatal reflexes.” Many parents find these movements to be charming.
Reflexes are automatic responses to things that happen. Your baby doesn’t think about what to do when something happens; they act. And your response to how they act could be anything from a moment of panic to grabbing your camera.
How does the stepping reflex work?
You’ll know your baby has the stepping reflex if you hold them up straight and watch the little legs move. If you hold your baby upright right above a flat surface, your baby may stretch its legs toward the surface.
Watch as your baby puts one foot down, lifts it, and then puts the other foot down.
Your baby isn’t trying to walk, but their movement is similar to what our legs do when we walk.
When and why the stepping reflex happens
Most newborn reflexes, like the one that makes them step, can be seen soon after birth.
The different newborn reflexes won’t all go away at once. Some people stay longer than others.
The stepping reflex usually goes away between the second and third month, so knowing this may help you relax if you notice that your baby is no longer showing signs of it.
You can be sure it will be done on purpose and with weight when stepping back. Some reflexes that start when a person is a young stay with them into adulthood. For example, the reflexes to cough, sneeze, blink, and gag stay with you into adulthood. You’ve had the yawn reflex if you’ve ever yawned when you were tired or right after seeing someone else do it.
When you think you know your baby well, they change and grow. Those cute little newborn reflexes are vital signs of development. They won’t last forever, but they set the stage for more fun things to come.
Before knowing about it, your baby will be walking and running, and you won’t even remember the stepping reflex. But if you think something is wrong, don’t be afraid to call your child’s doctor. They can check to see if your baby is developing typically.