Your premature baby may face greater risks when older, and as parents you are bound to be concerned about their milestones. So, it is important for you as parents to watch out for those initial few months when your little one enters the world a bit too early.
Who is a preterm baby?
If your baby is born before the 37th week of gestation, s/he is termed as a premature baby or a preemie. A normal pregnancy is of 40 weeks. A preemie baby has a higher risk of complications and the risks increase depending on how early your baby is born. Preemies need special care in the hospital as they are not fully equipped to deal with the world.
Are premature baby milestones different from other normal infant developmental milestones?
Premature babies have the same milestones as normal babies, but with a slight twist. You need to adjust developmental milestone timelines with their early birth. For e.g., for a baby who is 2 months premature and is now 4 months old, should not be expected to clear a 4 month old baby’s milestones; you should look at their 2 month milestones.
Many preemies catch up with their peers, but if your preemie has had some medical issues, you may need to be a little patient. The earlier your little one arrives, the more time s/he will need to reach his/her milestones, but most do get there with time.
What are some of the ‘adjusted’ premature baby milestones?
2 months adjusted milestone:
- Controls head
- Makes cooing sounds
- Smiles at people
- Recognizes parents and other primary caregivers
4 months adjusted milestones:
- Looks around while on tummy
- Rolls over
- Follows objects and faces
6 months adjusted milestones:
- Sits on her own
- Gets on her hands and knees
- Begins to crawl
- Is curious about toys and objects that are out of reach
- Babbles ‘mama’, ‘dada’, ‘baba’
9 months adjusted milestones:
- Crawls everywhere
- Tries to pull over to stand
- Plays peek-a-boo
- Copies different sounds and gestures
12 months adjusted milestones:
- Begins to take small solo steps
- Stands alone
- Responds to simple questions
- Imitates words that you say
- Cries when parents leave
15 months adjusted milestones:
- Begins to walk, squats
- Looks and points at pictures
- Knows 3 more words apart from mama, dada and baba
- Follows directions
18 months adjusted milestone:
- Can walk and run freely
- Has a vocabulary of 18 or more words
- Is able to point at what he/she wants
- Can undress by herself
- Is able to drink from a cup and eat from a spoon
Even after adjusting the milestones, remember that every baby is different. If your baby is not yet achieving these milestones, check if she is still within the range of achieving the specific milestones. If it’s well past the time range of normalcy, then you must consult a paediatrician ensure that everything is ok.
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