Newborns stop breathing automatically when they’re submerged under water. That’s called the “diving” reflex. We were all born with reflexes, and doctors check these to take a peek at what’s going on with the nervous system and keep track of them to follow their nervous system growth and development. This all occurs at the base of your brain, the “brainstem,” and this is where all of your autonomic (automatic) nervous system functions originate.


When we’re born we’re fully able to regulate your heartbeat, breathing, blinking, and so much more. There’s also a set of reflexes that newborns should have, that slowly go away after a few months time and allows for the rest of the brain to start learning higher functions- walking & talking, running, speaking in full sentences, thinking.


What happens if your mom has a hard pregnancy, hard labor, or you just decide to come into the world “too early”? You might not be able breathe on your own. We might have to wait for more growing and developing to happen. Some of these infants can’t suck, the reflex to suckle and nurse isn’t there like it should be. These are our survival skills, if we can’t eat, we won’t live. We are lucky to have so many other tools available to help put weight on these little ones- but this doesn’t help the neurological missing link. And if we wait long enough kids may skip the crawling stage and get right into walking, but this isn’t ideal for brain development.


So what if these reflexes aren’t there? And what if some of these early reflexes don’t disappear like they should? These kids have a harder time with higher functioning- paying attention in school, reading, and writing because some of these reflexes may be a source of distraction and may be delaying further development.


Parents may want to know- what to do about this? Moms, and moms to be- get adjusted, bring your kids in to be examined, ask if they’re on the right track neurologically.

Signs your kids may need to be checked and adjusted:

  • Should be crawling, instead are doing the army crawl, bear crawl, scooting on butt
  • Gets frustrated with reading
  • Very easily distracted
  • Asymmetries: high/low shoulder, high/low hip, prefers looking left/ right, prefers nursing on one side, frequent head tilt to one side
  • Difficulty nursing
  • Infrequent bowel movements
  • Major falls
  • Frequent ear infections


Want to talk Parenting? Join our next Pathways-Moms Parenting Group on Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 6:30pm. Information on kids nutrition and Webster technique will be shared, with plenty of time for parenting discussion, asking questions, and sharing experiences.