What is the Moro/Startle Reflex and When Does It Go Away?

What is the Moro/Startle Reflex and When Does It Go Away?

Picture this: your little one peacefully dozing off, and suddenly their arms shoot up in surprise. It's the Moro reflex, also known as the startle reflex, and it's one of those sleep-interrupting phenomena that can leave both baby and parents wide-eyed in the middle of the night.

This involuntary reflex is a normal way for newborns to respond to unexpected sensations – it's a built-in survival mechanism that served our tiny ancestors well…but can be quite a nuisance when it comes to sleep.


So, What Is the Moro Reflex?

The Moro Reflex is an involuntary startle reflex (usually when a newborn is startled by a loud sound or movement) that causes a baby to abruptly stretch, then pull in their arms and legs. When the Moro reflex kicks in, your little one's arms fling out and then quickly retract towards their body, as if seeking comfort and reassurance. 

This sudden movement can startle them, disrupting their peaceful sleep and leaving them puzzled and, well, wide awake. While some babies are unbothered by the reflex, it can also wake baby up out of a deep sleep. 

When Does the Startle Reflex Go Away?

But fear not, tired parents! While the Moro reflex may temporarily disrupt your baby's sleep, it typically decreases in intensity and frequency as they grow older. This reflex usually fades away, allowing for more restful nights once baby is about 2 months old. 

What Can I Do if My Baby Wakes Up With the Moro Reflex?

Creating a calm and soothing sleep environment can help minimize the impact of the Moro reflex. Soft, dim lighting, gentle sounds, and a consistent bedtime routine can help your little one relax and drift off more easily, even if the startle reflex makes an unexpected appearance.

Swaddles also help combat sleepless nights due to the Moro Reflex because once your little one is wrapped up burrito-style, they’re much less likely to startle themselves awake. Swaddling can work wonders, as it restricts the movement of those pesky startle-prone arms.

Gunamuna swaddles are designed to suppress the Moro Reflex and ensure everyone can enjoy a better night’s sleep. 

  • An optional inside belly band controls the startle reflex.
  • Thanks to the 4-way zipper, baby stays covered & cuddled during the easiest diaper changes you’ll ever experience.
  • Filled with hypoallergenic microfiber, it mimics the feel and insulating ability of luxury down.
  • Choose to wrap your baby arms-in or arms-out, making it an easy transition once they start rolling.
  • The extra wide bottom allows baby to comfortably fold their legs in the natural frog position.
  • Sleeping under an evenly distributed weight soothes baby into a deeper sleep cycle, increases serotonin & relaxation, and naturally reduces anxiety by giving the same sensation as a full-on giant cuddle.
  • A secure fit every time ensures your nugget doesn’t Houdini their way out. 

Remember, the Moro reflex may startle your baby (and you), but it's a normal part of their development. As they grow, this reflex will gradually fade away, paving the way for uninterrupted nights of peaceful sleep. Until then, embrace the swaddle and create a serene sleep haven for your little one, knowing that these sleep interruptions are just a phase!