Q. We had our second child, Andrew, on Nov 28th. He was due on Dec 31st, so was almost 5 weeks early. I realized, while in the hospital, that he is a preemie and has a little more growing to do before he’s where Alicyn was when she was born at 38 weeks. So I’m trying to adjust my expectations from the start so that I don’t get concerned when it’s not necessary. What are the differences that I should expect developmentally between either Alicyn and Andrew or Andrew and monthly milestones. Also, at what point should being a preemie not particularly have an impact?
A. Here’s a good article on preemies and when you can expect them to catch up. Preemies’ Milestones
The article suggests using his adjusted age (his age calculated from his due-date) when comparing his motor development. His cognitive development may not be so far behind his age-mates. At some point you will see that he is doing everything his age-mates are doing and the adjusted age won’t be an issue any more, usually around two years. The moms I’ve talked to seem to think that unless they were very stressed at birth or very premature, most preemies are pretty close to their age-mates’ development by a year or so.
You, as his mom, will have an intuition if he seems to be lagging behind too much. If you question his development, don’t hesitate to have him evaluated by an early intervention service. It is always better to start intervention early rather than later. I don’t expect that you will need this, but I always want to provide a balanced view, not just an all optimistic one.