Babies usually start walking between 9 – 12 months. But one precocious tot is clearly too impatient to wait that long — he took his first steps just after being born!
Facebook user Arlete Arantes of Brazil posted a stunning video of a newborn attempting to walk in his hospital cot. Tottering on uncertain legs, the baby is supported by a doctor but seems filled with determination to keep going.
The video was posted on May 26 and has since gone viral, with more than 84 million views. Here’s the amazing clip:
What a little trooper! Now that he’s already ‘walking’, his parents will sure have a handful to keep up with!
How is this possible?
Though this baby’s feat may seem miraculous, it actually has a very simple explanation. Babies are born with a variety of reflexes which form the basic building blocks for their motor development. When one particular reflex — the dancing or stepping reflex — occurs, it makes a tot appear to ‘walk’ or even dance.
According to physician-reviewed health site Verywell, the stepping reflex prepares babies to take their real first steps in a few months’ time. When you hold a newborn upright with his feet touching a flat surface, the reflex will kick in, causing his little feet to lift one after another.
Here’s another incredible video of a 6-day-old newborn ‘walking’:
Due to the importance of neonatal reflexes in newborn development, doctors check on their strength to determine if the brain and nervous system are working well. So the babies in these videos are definitely in the pink of health!
Other newborn reflexes
Some newborn reflexes last into adulthood, such as the kneejerk reflex—the automatic jerk your knee gives when someone taps the tendon beneath your kneecap.
However, most of them fade after 3-6 months, and can be pretty adorable while they last! Here are some other reflexes you might find in your tot, according to health information site Healthline:
This is the classic reflex that makes all mums’ hearts melt. As your baby reaches out to you, place your finger in his open palm. Your baby will grasp on with his little fist.
This newborn reflex kicks in when you stroke the corner of your baby’s mouth. Your baby will turn his head and open his mouth, ‘rooting’ in the direction of the touch. This helps him to latch onto your breast or bottle.
Stroke the underside of your newborn’s foot from top of sole to heel, and you’ll see his toes fan out. As adults, this is the same reflex which makes it ‘ticklish’ when someone touches our soles.
Tonic neck reflex
When your baby is laid down with his head with his head turned to one side, this causes him to take up a ‘fencing’ position. For example, if his head is facing the left, his right arm will flex and his left arm will reach straight out from his body.
Carefully hold your tot face-down in one hand, and use the other to stroke the skin along either side of his spine. This causes your baby’s spine to curve, his head and feet ‘squirming’ towards the side you stroke!
Disclaimer: Parents are not recommended to test out the reflexes at home without the guidance of a medical professional.