Startle reflex in infants is fairly common and sometimes disrupts sleep. It’s good that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has a remedy for it.
The Startle Reflex in Infants
The startle reflex or startle reaction or moro reflex “is a response to sudden, startling stimuli, such as sudden noise or sharp movement.” According to wikipedia, the onset of the startle response is reflectory. The startle reflex is a brainstem reflectory reaction that serves to protect the back of the neck (whole-body startle) or the eye (eye blink). It also facilitates escape from sudden stimuli. Additionally, an individual’s emotional state may lead to a variety of different responses.
Our Kids’ Experience
Both of our children have experienced this when they were babies.
With our eldest Shawna, she would get startled when there was a really loud noise nearby. This happened even when I was still pregnant with her! It seems that even as a fetus, she was already sensitive to loud sounds. But she was particularly interested in classical music, specifically Four Seasons by Vivaldi.
As for Shane, she would often get startled, too. Our pediatrician says that it is normal and it would just go away. In the internet, I read that it would go away on the 4th or 6th month.
We just noticed, however, that Shane’s startled responses happen many times in a day. And she would shake and cry all the time. In Tagalog, the term would be “nerbyosa“. I really thought it was because I still drank coffee while I was pregnant (as guided by my OB-Gynecologist).
Traditional Chinese Medicine
But then, my parents-in-law said that there is such a medicine for startle reflex in Traditional Chinese Medicine. They bought a bottle for Shane to try. We don’t know what it’s called because the inscription is in Chinese.
I was advised to give it or rub it on her gums, much like the teething powder, twice a day (Read the story about the Teething Powder.) Surprisingly, Shane’s conditioned improved after two days. While she still gets startled, it is not so common now. Furthermore, it no longer happens everyday.
The powder is also good for fever, colds, and cough with a lot of phlegm. Last week, Shane had a lot of phlegm and was coughing. I thought it was allergic cough but it turned out that she was actually teething (at 5 months).
It was nighttime and our pediatrician obviously didn’t have a clinic. The only medicine that I have that would be alright for infants is the startle reflex powder. When I applied the powder on her mouth, the coughing stopped on the first dose. I continued using it twice a day for two days and the phlegm just went away–though she is still teething until now.
But if it is a viral cough and it would comfort you, please bring your child to your pediatrician for consultation and prescription medicines.
The startle reflex powder is pretty good and cheap, too. Just please ask those at the Chinese drug store what medicine it is because it’s Chinese name is very long. But the packaging and the bottle looks like the one in the picture. It’s less than P100.
In Bacolod City, go to Hua Kong Chinese Drugstore.