Preemie Development - a quick look

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Keeping an eye on your preemies development can help you determine when a little help might be necessary.


Preemies aren't just small...

Sometimes preterm children can develop at different rates to a child born full term. In this way it is important to know the key developmental milestones and timeline so that you are able to give your preemie any help if required.

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Typical Play & Interaction

Keeping an eye on your preemies development can help you determine when a little help might be necessary

It’s amazing how quickly babies grow and develop! The tables below highlight some important milestones. Although these tables give an average age at which milestones are achieved it is important to realise that even babies born at term achieve these milestones at varying ages. For preemies, you should always correct for their prematurity. 

Typical Play Development

Have a look at the following information for typical development of these skills. You should talk to your paediatrician if you have any concerns about your preemie's development.

preemies typical play and interaction development

Age Typical Play
By 3 months
  • While lying on their back
  • Visually tracks a moving toy from side to side
  • Attempts to reach for a rattle held above their chest
  • Keeps head in the middle to watch faces or toys
By 6 months
  • Reaches for a toy that is close by while on their tummy
    While lying on their back
  • Moves a toy from one hand to the other
  • Reaches both hands to play with feet
By 9 months
  • While in high chair, holds and drinks from a bottle
  • Explores and examines an object using both hands
  • Turns several pages of a chunky (board) book at once
  • Imitates simple play of others
By 12 months
  • Finger feeds self
  • Puts objects into a container with a large opening
  • Uses thumb and pointer finger to pick up small objects
By 15 months
  • Stacks two objects or blocks
  • Helps with getting undressed
  • Holds and drinks from a cup
These milestones represent overall age trends. There are individual differences in the exact age at which each milestone is attained.(Berk, 2008; Zaichkin, 2009)

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AlbertEinstein_iconOne of the greatest minds in history, Albert Einstein was born preterm.

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Preemie, Premmie, or Prem?

Most babies spend between 38 and 42 weeks in their mother’s uterus. So, technically a preterm birth, preemie, premmie, or prem, is an infant who is born less than 37 completed gestational weeks. 

Read More: Defining Preterm birth



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