What is the Moro reflex?

Ines was only a few days old when she started sleeping in her Cocoonababy. My mother, a physiotherapist, had heard about this product which was really popular in French maternities and already had a great reputation across Europe. So as a birth gift, she offered her first grand daughter the present that all parents dream of… sleep!

Before sleeping in her Cocoonababy, when we were still in the maternity, Ines was sleeping on one of the maternity’s standard mattresses. Unfortunately, although being close to me and well fed, she was often quite agitated. I thought she was having nightmares, perhaps as a result of the trauma of birth, I was wondering. But the nurse assured me that this was totally normal. “Most babies go through this”, she said to me, “It is called “startle or moro reflex. Babies feel like they are falling”.

What is the “Moro reflex”? 

Dr Rebecca Lehman, an American neurologist explains it in these terms: “The Moro reflex is one of many reflexes that are seen at birth. It normally goes away after 3 or 4 months. The normal response is for the baby to have a startled look. The baby's arms should move sideways with the palms up and the thumbs flexed. The baby may cry for a minute. As the reflex ends, the infant draws its arms back to the body, elbows flexed, and then relaxes.”

For more information on the Moro and other newborn reflexes, visit What to Expect.

What can be done to reduce the occurrence of the Moro reflex?

- It is known that swaddling your baby makes him feel safe and secure. Swaddling is a technique that mimics the close, cozy quarters of the womb. It can also help your baby sleep longer.  

- You can also roll a small towel and place it just under your baby’s knee.

- Thanks to its shape, the Cocoonababy is a good solution to reduce the occurrence of the Moro reflex. It helps to reduce involuntary jerky movements which wake babies with a start and make them cry.

Keep your baby as close to your body for as long as possible when you lower him into his Cocoonababy. Gently release your baby only after his back is touching the mattress. That support should be enough to prevent him from experiencing a falling sensation, which can trigger the Moro (or startle) reflex.

The Cocoonababy's origins video explains how the Cocoonababy was originally designed in a French maternity by a team led by physiotherapist Danielle Salducci to help premature babies to adapt from their mother's womb to their new life, and how it helps reduce the occurrence of the Moro reflex.


Did your baby sleep in a Cocoonababy? We would love to hear about your experience! Please leave a comment in the comment box below.

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