Preemie Milestones - a quick look

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Preemie Milestones are important to know and understand. Keeping an eye on your preemies development and checking when they reach certain milestones can help you determine when a little help might be necessary.


Preemie milestones can keep you both on track

When understanding preemie milestones is important to learn a little bit of information on the typical development of various skills, as well as some information about signs that may indicate problems with development. If your preemie is not meeting the milestones mentioned you may want to talk to your paediatrician about your preemie's development.

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Social development

There are important developmental milestones for children. Preemies may develop differently to other children.

Important! Correct for Prematurity

Because Preemies are born too early and are not fully developed you should correct for prematurity. So, if your preemie baby was born at 28 weeks gestational age (i.e. 3 months early) you adjust their 9 month age to 6 months (i.e. 3 months later), 12 months to 9 months, 3 years to 2 years 9 months and so on.

Developmental Milestones

Age Smiles
First few months

Goal-directed behavior

Engages with others

Imitate actions

5-8 months Goal-directed behavior
3-4 years

Mental states and beliefs of others

Able to suppress inappropriate responses

Participate in pretend play

7-8 years

Begin to predict the behaviours of others

Able to understand non-literal language (e.g. sarcasm & irony)

Early Adolescence

Social decision making & judgment

Increased time spent in social interaction (almost one-third of their time)

Note:These milestones represent overall age trends. There are individual differences in the exact age at which each milestone is attained.

{Dodge, 2002 #1129;Diamond, 1996 #1128;Saxe, 2004 #1127;Woodward, 1998 #1126;Greenham, 2010 #1125}

Where to next?

For continued information about development read our article "What can I do to optimise development?"



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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