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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Teaching Your Preemie: Optimising Development

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Even though preterm infants are at risk for long-term difficulties many babies do very well. Some preemies are slow to develop but eventually catch up to their full term peers over time. If you are concerned about your preemie’s development or an aspect of health, speak with your paediatrician or GP.

Keep in mind too, that you know your baby best and are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, so you are in a unique position to contribute to your preemie baby’s development. There is plenty of evidence that suggests that parents who provide a stimulating environment for their children do better than those from sensory deprived environments. The following article provides some tips for being an effective “teacher” for your preemie.

Teaching your preemie child

The impact of parents and your preemie baby’s environment has a great influence on development. Providing a supportive, responsive, and warm environment for your preemie can provide opportunities to optimise learning.

  • Create an effective learning environment, make sure the space is uncluttered and free from distractions, position and support your child so they can reach toys and make eye contact with you
  • Encourage your child to examine, touch and play with toys before you start to give instructions
  • Encourage creativity in the way objects are played with
  • Provide descriptions of the objects and toys you give your child, such as “Look at this blue ball”
  • Confirm you have your child’s attention before you begin teaching your child, gain eye contact and ask, “Are you ready to start?”
  • Provide plenty of praise, stay relaxed, and enjoy your time together; laugh and smile with your child while teaching
  • Make encouraging statements and gently touch, stroke, hug or kiss your child while you are helping them learn
  • Give specific and clear instructions as you demonstrate a particular task. For Example, “See how the red square goes in this empty square here, “Put it in there.”
  • Give your child time to work things out themself before you jump in to help
  • Acknowledge improvements with praise and affirming statements
  • Try not to interrupt when your child is babbling
  • Alter your baby’s position if they are unsuccessful in reaching it or manipulating it
  • If a task is too difficult leave it for another time, do not force your child to complete the task or have them do it repeatedly if they have been successful
  • If your child becomes distressed, respond by stopping the activity, comfort them, or try diverting their attention to another task
  • Let your child know when you have finished “teaching” them
  • Keep the learning session relative short; no more than 5 minutes and no less than 1 minute
(Bradford, 2003; DiPietro, 2000; Saxe, Carey, & Kanwisher, 2004; Zaichkin, 2009)


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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