A video featuring what appears to be a baby walking minutes after birth has caught the attention of millions of social media users, but what’s the deal with this video? Is it really possible for a newborn baby to walk so soon after leaving its mother’s womb?
On Friday, the internet was “broken” when a Brazilian woman named Arlete Arantes took to Facebook to share a video featuring a baby supposedly walking, or at least trying to walk despite being a newborn. The 41-second clip shows the infant girl being propped up by a nurse, seemingly able to walk for a few seconds and trying to do so repeatedly, all with the nurse’s assistance.
According to Yahoo 7 News, the nurses were expressing, in their native Portuguese, their astonishment at how the baby was walking minutes after her birth.
“Oh my gosh, the girl is walking”
At the time the undated video was shot, nurses were trying to give her a bath, only for her to move her legs in an attempt to walk. Despite their attempts to get her to sit down, she would make a second try at things, leading to more shocked reactions from the hospital’s staff.
“If you told people what has just happened no one would believe it unless they saw it with their own eyes.”
— The Sun (@TheSun) May 29, 2017
In the three days since Arlete Arantes posted the video, it has gotten an amazing 74 million-plus views, while getting about 343,000 reactions and almost 1.7 million shares. But just like other viral videos that show something unusual or unexpected, many have cast doubt on the veracity of the video. As mentioned, there is no information about the identity of the infant girl or her mother, though a report from The Sun suggests that the hospital in question may have been a Santa Cruz hospital located in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. And, as the International Business Times pointed out, most babies usually begin walking once they are about nine to 12 months old.
But is this video for real, is it a hoax, or is it something natural that babies do? Or was the baby really doing something unusual by taking her first steps on the day of her birth? So far, many commenters have noted that the baby’s seeming ability to walk isn’t what it’s cracked up to be — it’s a natural reaction that goes away soon after a child is born.
“This is an innate reflex called the stepping reflex he can’t actually walk and it will disappear by 2 months,” wrote one Facebook user, explaining why the baby was able to walk minutes after birth.
The website What to Expect explains the stepping (aka walking) reflex as something that is triggered when a baby is held upright while his or her feet are on a flat surface, just as seen on Arantes’ video. Babies would then lift one foot, followed by the other, giving them the illusion that they are walking, and this is said to be a reaction that could prepare an infant for their actual first steps later on in their life. And just as the Facebook commenter stated above, the stepping reflex appears at birth, but goes away once the baby is 2-months-old or so.
What to Expect also notes that there are other reflexes that prove infants could be “pretty darn smart right from the start,” such as the Moro (aka startle) reflex, where babies tighten their bodies and clench their fists upon hearing loud noises, the root reflex, where an infant could turn toward the direction of a touch when somebody strokes their cheek, and the suck reflex, where babies automatically suck on objects that touch the roof of their mouth.
In all, the viral video of a baby walking minutes after birth is no hoax, but it isn’t anything unexplainable or peculiar. It doesn’t amount to the baby’s first steps either – it’s all a natural reaction that millions of people nonetheless found unusual.
[Featured Image by Anastasiya Matrosova/Shutterstock]