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What is the Rooting/Suck Reflex?

  • By Nageena

Introduction

When a baby’s cheek and lips are stroked they will reflexively turn their head, open their mouth with the tongue extended, search for the nipple and start sucking and swallowing.

This reflex should be integrated by 3-4 months of age. If this reflex does not integrate well, the child may be hypersensitive on the skin around the mouth, and/or have the tongue too far forward in the mouth, which may interfere with chewing and swallowing solid foods, as well as possibly causing speech and articulation difficulties.

The symptoms of the Rooting/Suck Reflex

Some Symptoms of non-integrated Rooting Reflex

  • They could dribble profusely
  • Tactile sensitivity around the face, poor articulation, messy eaters
  • Suck their thumb, and, due to the association with the Palmar
  • Difficulties with manual dexterity and hypersensitivity of the hands.
  • Associated sensory systems: tactile and proprioceptive