Moro Reflex and Swaddling

Updated: Feb 27, 2020

Hi there! I'm so excited to start writing little blog posts discussing all the wonderful and interesting things about newborns, babies, and toddlers. I graduated with my degree in Early Childhood Development and Child Psychology, so naturally, any information about little humans and their development just fascinate me! Lets chat about the Moro Reflex - or as most of us know it, the Startle Reflex. All babies are born with a series of involuntary responses, one of which is called the Moro Reflex (first described by Austrian pediatrician Ernest Moro). You'll know when your baby is exemplifying this by a sudden jerking of the hands outward, followed by bringing or curling the hands back toward the body. The Moro Reflex happens when baby is startled by any number of things. Most likely the cause is from loud noises, sudden touch (especially with cold hands or a wet wipe!), movement, positioning, but other triggers can be quite minor and unnoticeable by an adult (for example, change in lighting). Baby has been floating in a warm pool of water for 9 months, any small change is bound to be noticed at this point! The reflex itself might look scary, but it is in fact a great thing for your baby to have this! This means that their little nervous system is functioning and developing properly. The Moro Reflex will fade with time and is typically gone by the age of 6 months. Swaddling your little one can be a big help with this reflex and can offer a cozy, womb-like experience to help calm them. If you have ever had a newborn session with me, you most likely watched me "wrap up" your baby at the beginning of the session, or once baby starts getting unsettled. This is done entirely to keep baby 1) calm 2) happy 3) safe! Although the type of swaddling I do is best for temporary and artistic use, there are so many wonderful resources you can find to help comfortably and safely swaddle your baby at home! Always make sure to chat with your pediatrician before following the advice of non-professionals. I have found YouTube to be a fantastic resource for learning how to swaddle these little ninjas! Another great resource that I trust and read religiously is Charleston Moms, a collaborative online resource by some seriously amazing Charleston moms! (And no, this is not sponsored in any way, I just love this site!). Sending you lots of sleepy, calm, vibes. Happy swaddling!

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