Moro Reflex

Moro Reflex

This baby sports a bit of manky material safety pinned to her top. I asked mum what it was, but she wouldn’t answer, very embarrassed. I asked the nurses but they didn’t know either. I asked if it was traditional medicine – remember the baby with the blue tikka to prevent hiccoughs? Finally, mum told me that it was a traditional way of preventing the baby’s startle reflex. This is known as the Moro Reflex, after the Austrian paediatrician, Ernst Moro, who first described it. The reflex occurs when the baby is freaked out by a noise, or being allowed to drop back onto the couch by the examiner. The arms open out, then come back together over the body. Some people suggest it might have been helpful to allow baby to cling on to the mother.

The talisman is not working very well at the moment. I wonder if mum will have removed it tomorrow.


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