The Babkin Reflex emerges around 9 weeks in utero, is active during the first 3 months after birth, and should be integrated at about 4 months. This reflex helps the baby to stimulate the breast causing breast milk to flow while breastfeeding. The pattern of the Plantar Reflex in the feet is very similar to the Babkin Reflex in mammals when they stimulate the breast with their paws. When infants suck, there is not only involuntary movement of their hands, but many times their toes and feet curl. When a child with an active Babkin Reflex writes or does other fine motor work, like playing an instrument or using scissors, there will be involuntary movements of the mouth and tongue. Harald Blomberg (2012) has found that the Babkin Reflex may influence the movements of the sphenoid and temporal bones, and directly impacts speech, articulation, and even phonological ability.
Some symptoms of a nonintegrated Babkin Reflex
- Low muscle tone in the hands
- Poor handwriting; impaired fine motor skills
- Challenges with speech and articulation; speech delay
- Tensions of the jaw; grinding or clenching of teeth; tensions in the body, especially tightly clenched fists
- Can affect reflexes responsible for eating, therefore can be seen in eating disorders and excessive nail biting
- Retention of long-term sucking, such as biting or sucking on ones clothes or objects in the hands