Newborn Nursery at LPCH

Protective Reflex


video by Janelle Aby, MD

Even at birth, a newborn is equipped with a protective reflex. When the eyes and nose are gently covered with a cloth, the infant arches and make efforts to push the offending item away with her hands. Babies will respond to objects that obstruct nasal breathing in a similar way. At times new mothers are concerned that their infants cannot breathe while breastfeeding because the nose appears to be blocked by the breast itself, but this reflex prevents that. An infant who cannot breathe will pull away from the breast.

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