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Rooting Reflex


Definition: If you stroke your newborn’s cheek, he will open his mouth and turn his head toward the side that was stroked. My son’s rooting reflex was so strong; I swear a gentle breeze could get him worked up and searching for a meal. It did come in handy, however, since sometimes he was distracted with noises or lights at feeding time. All I had to do was touch his cheek with my nipple and he was ready to go.

The problem came when well-meaning friends and family would touch his sweet cheeks when he was asleep and close to a feeding. He’d root around and sometimes wake up, eager to eat. After about 4 months this reflex disappears but it can last up to a year.

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