The Babkin reflex was first described by Babkin in 1956. He stated that the reflex disappears within the first three or four months of life in most of normal infants.
In order to evaluate the diagnostic value of the reflex, we examined the Babkin reflex in 258 normal infants, 22 infants with cerebral palsy and 29 with mental retardation, and compared the results obtained from pathological groups to that from normal controls. In normal infants, this reflex could be elicited until the fourth month of life. The result in normal preterm infants, expressed as their corrected ages, was not different from that in normal fullterm infants. The relationship between the reflex activity and the elapsed time after the last feeding in normal infants was assessed. In infants less than two months of age, the mean reflex activity examined over an hour after feeding was greater than that examined within an hour after feeding.
In some of the infants with cerebral palsy, the reflex activity persisted through the first year of life, while it declined rapidly after five months of life in infants with mental retardation. In case that the Babkin reflex can be elicited after five months of age in an infant, a careful observation for the appearance of neurological symptoms is required.
Japanese Society of Child Neurology