Rooting Reflex

The rooting reflex is elicited when you stroke a baby’s cheek and they turn their head towards you. When tested in older children, stroking the cheek and lips may cause the movement of the mouth towards the stimulus. This reflex predominantly facilitates breastfeeding and should integrate at 3-4 months. 

When retained, symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty with speech and articulation
  • Stuttering
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing, choke often
  • Involuntary tongue or mouth movements when writing or drawing
  • Hypersensitivity around the lip and mouth, inability to close the mouth when chewing
  • Oral fixation, constantly using the mouth (e.g. smoking, chewing gum, biting lips, sucking lollies)
  • Messy or picking eating 
  • Narrow high arched palate, poor teeth alignment, orthodontic work