Baby Stepping Reflex

Baby Stepping ReflexArya showed off her baby stepping reflex this weekend.

The stepping reflex is one of the primitive reflexes displayed by newborn babies.

In the case of our daughter, she likes to step off of adult thighs when being carried from her upper body. While she has shown the stepping reflex before, Arya never stepped as hard as she did yesterday afternoon.

The traditional baby stepping reflex involves holding a newborn baby from under her armpits. While supporting her head with the opposite hand or your body, you can “walk” your baby along your thighs.

Despite not being able to support their weight or even hold up their head, newborn babies display a stepping motion when their feet come in contact with a hard surface.

My baby did not show the normal walking motion of her stepping reflex. Rather, she kicked downward against my thighs every time.

Though there is some debate about the technical meaning of a stepping reflex, most research suggests that the baby stepping reflex differs widely based on factors such as handedness or weight.

In most cases the baby stepping reflex should disappear by two months of age.

Arya never displayed a normal baby stepping reflex. She is heavy for her length and it took her longer than average to be able to support the weight of her head.

Although she never walked in the traditional fashion of a baby stepping reflex, she always liked pushing off with her feet. She was never able to “walk” with one foot in front of the other. Sadly, we think her enormous thighs were always too heavy relative to her leg muscles.

Yesterday Arya was finally able to coordinate pushing with both legs at the same time to “hop” in the air.

Both our friend — who was carrying baby at the time — and Arya enjoyed her odd form of the baby stepping reflex. By the strict definition of a primitive newborn reflex, Arya did not show a baby stepping reflex. Academics would likely place it in the undefined space between a newborn reflex and a purposeful, coordinated motion.

At least we all loved watching our baby enjoy a new experience.