You’ve gotten the baby to sleep. “Finally!”, you say. You lean over, and are just about to place them into the cot when all of a sudden, your baby flings their arms and legs into the air and starts to cry! But why does this happen? We’re here to tell you about what’s known as the ‘startle reflex’ in babies - what it is, how long it lasts, and how we at Babocush can help you. Coping with startle reflex in your baby isn’t something you have to go through alone.
What is startle reflex?
The startle reflex, also known as the Moro reflex, is an involuntary reflex present in new-born babies in response to the feeling of loss of support. It can be caused by a loud noise, or the baby experiencing a sensation of falling. Babies often fling their arms and legs into the air, and become distressed quickly. It can be startling (literally!) to any new parent dealing with it, and a major annoyance in trying to get your little one over to sleep.
How long does it last?
The startle reflex will likely disappear between 3 and 6 months old, when your baby starts to gain more control over their movements, and their little reflexes won’t be quite as jerky. To help combat the Moro reflex, it’s important that you give your baby space to move, as this will help them to tone and flex their muscles; just make sure to support their neck and head.
What Does Startle Reflex In A Baby Look Like?
After a loud sound or sudden movement occurs, your baby is likely to respond in a few ways. In a baby, startle reflex typically involves:
- Throwing their head back
- Extending their arms and legs
- Pulling their arms and legs back in
How To Reduce Your Baby’s Startle Reflex
1. Babocush Comfort Cushion
The Babocush Comfort Cushion helps to minimize the startle reflex in young babies by holding them in a more natural position, lying on their tummy with their head, torso and legs in contact with the cushion.. Babies in this position do not experience the startle reflex, which means that your baby can rest peacefully without you having to worry about them getting upset. Our Comfort Cushion is designed to securely hug your little one (this ‘swaddling’ effect has also been known to help babies suffering from startle reflex), and the Babocush Comfort Cushion’s gentle vibration even helps to mimic Mum’s heartbeat, which is soothing for the baby. The baby’s body, hands, feet, side of the face and head are in contact with the Babocush Comfort Cushion, and this helps not only to prevent startling, but also offers great relief from wind/gas, reflux and colic.
2. Reducing Outside Triggers
To reduce the chance of your baby experiencing the startle reflex and to help ensure they get a good sleep, it’s important to create a peaceful environment so they can rest well. To do this, try to minimize any outside distractions like bright lights or loud noises, such as traffic. If you can’t avoid outside noise, you can try a white noise machine or play calming music to help drown it out. And if you need to move around your baby while they’re sleeping, do it as quietly as possible. Keep an eye out for anything that might be causing your little one to startle and see if there’s a simple way to fix it.
3. Babocush Ergonomic Bouncer
The Babocush Ergonomic Bouncer is a great option reducing your baby’s startle reflex. Its natural bounce can help soothe anxious babies and create a more calming environment, while its engaging design allows your little one to play with toys and interact with you while they do so. The bouncer’s lightweight, foldable design makes it easy to move around and use in different rooms, while its ergonomic shape and soft cotton fabric ensure that your baby’s weight is distributed evenly, reducing pressure on any one spot and making them more comfortable overall. When paired with the Babocush Comfort Cushion, the Babocush Ergonomic Bouncer can provide an even more soothing and supportive environment for your baby to rest and play.
Not only effective for calming your baby and getting them ready for sleeping, swaddling can be a great way to counteract the startle reflex. Swaddling keeps your baby’s arms securely tucked against their body, preventing any sudden jerking movements that can startle and wake them up. And, since the swaddle creates a warm, snuggly environment that mimics the womb, your baby will feel right at home and less likely to get startled by the falling sensations that often trigger the Moro reflex.
5. Holding Baby Close As Your Lower Them
When it’s time to put your little one to bed, try holding them close to your body as you lower them into the crib. This will make them feel more secure and less likely to startle. As you lay your baby down, try to do so gently and with care. Once they’re in their crib, try keeping your hands on their body for a few moments to help them settle in. Then, gradually take your hands away one at a time, moving slowly to avoid any sudden movements that could startle them. This will help your baby feel more comfortable and avoid the sensations of free-falling.
Coping with a baby’s startle reflex can be challenging, but there are several strategies that you can use to help promote better sleep and reduce your baby’s startle response. From swaddling to creating a peaceful environment, there are many simple steps you can take to make your baby feel more secure and comfortable. Additionally, products like the Babocush Ergonomic Bouncer can provide a soothing environment for your little one to rest and play, thanks to its natural bounce and ergonomic design. By using these strategies and tools, you can help reduce your baby’s startle reflex overall.