The Rooting Reflex

When babies are born, they are born with a primitive reflex called the Rooting Reflex. It’s in place to ensure that they survive by being able to find food.

A light touch on baby’s cheek, or stimulation of the edge of the mouth will cause a baby to turn its head toward the side of stimulation and open its mouth with an extended tongue in preparation for suckling. It helps baby put the nipple in its mouth.

If the Rooting Reflex is retained, there may be hypersensitivity around the lips and mouth. The tongue may remain too far forward, resulting in speech and articulation problems, dribbling, difficulty swallowing and chewing. They may also be fussy eaters or thumb suckers. Thumb sucking is my big indicator that this reflex is still engaged.

Once corrected, normalisation of hormonal functions in children and adults can occur. Typical outcomes are balancing of the Thyroid and Adrenaline and Cortisol (stress hormones).

Retained Rooting Reflex may lead to:

  • Hypersensitivity around lips and mouth
  • Tongue sits too forward in the mouth
  • Dribbling
  • Speech problems
  • Poor manual dexterity when speaking
  • Hormonal imbalances

How to test for the Rooting reflex at home

Run your finger gently from the corner of your child’s mouth out towards the bottom of the jaw. Also run your finger gently from the middle of the bottom lip down their chin.

Look for a response in your child – jump, twitch, laugh (ticklish) moving of the head (towards you or away).

 

What to do about it?

A Kinesiology balance can identify and rectify retained primitive reflexes. If you think your child may have a retained Rooting Reflex, you can give me a call or book online for an initial appointment where I test for many of the primitive and postural reflexes.

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