Coping with startle reflex in your baby


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 it?

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. Scientists think it’s caused by an evolutionary leftover – but 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 heads while they do this.

How does your baby respond?

The startle reflex often happens when parents are putting their baby into their cot, as leaning over the baby and setting them down can give them the sensation of falling, and may even wake a baby that was sleeping soundly. If you’re putting your baby to bed, try to keep your baby as close to you as possible, and not let go until the baby’s back is solidly on the mattress, as this can minimise the chances of the startle reflex taking place.

Why the Babocush can help

Babocush helps to minimise the startle reflex in young babies by holding them in a more natural position, lying down on their tummy. Babies in this position do not experience the startle reflex, which means that you baby can rest peacefully without you having to worry about them getting upset. Our baby 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’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, and this helps not only to prevent startling, but also offers great relief from wind, reflux and colic.

You can see the effect the Babocush has on restless babies here. We hope our cushion will help you and your little one cope better with startle reflex.

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