Your premature baby: Helpful guide to developmental milestones from the age of 1 to 18 months

A birth that occurs more than three weeks before the baby’s anticipated due date is considered preterm. In other words, a preterm delivery happens before the 37th week of pregnancy officially begins.

Babies born prematurely, especially early ones, frequently have complex medical issues. Prematurity-related problems often differ. However, the danger of difficulties increases with the time of birth for your baby.

A baby’s age might vary depending on how early they are born.

  • between 34 and 36 full weeks of pregnancy, late preterm birth
  • born between 32 and 34 weeks of pregnancy, moderate preterm
  • Very premature, delivered at the end of a pregnancy before 32 weeks
  • preterm birth, occurring at or before week 25 of pregnancy

Signs and symptoms:

In the late preterm stage, most premature births take place.

Your kid could have more glaring difficulties from being born prematurely or very modest signs.

Prematurity can show itself in the following ways:

  • Small size, with an oversized head that is not proportional to it Sharper-looking, less rounded features than those of a full-term baby because of a lack of fat reserves
  • lanugo, fine hair covering most of the body
  • Low body temperature is brought on by a lack of body fat reserves, especially right after birth in the delivery room.
  • breathing that is labored or respiratory discomfort
  • feeding issues result from a lack of swallowing and sucking reflexes.

When ought premature infants reach developmental milestones?

Though you might be concerned about whether your preemie is meeting developmental milestones on time, have confidence knowing that most premature newborns do so within the ranges considered normal for their corrected ages.

How to calculate the exact age of your premature:

Your child’s corrected age is determined by deducting the number of weeks early from their actual age in weeks. The developmental milestones for a 6-month-old infant born full-term would therefore be expected to be met by a 9-month-old kid born three months early.

When should premature babies start sitting up?

Most preemies can sit up for a brief period at around six months and will do well by nine months. Stop surrounding your infant with pillows to cushion falls. One of the preemies’ first developmental milestones is learning to sit up. Play games with your infant to encourage movement. They will eventually use these abilities to learn how to sit up.

When should premature babies start walking?

How often your kid can roam around unrestrictedly will determine when they reach this milestone. Your youngster could reach this milestone later than the average if their mobility is restricted for a long time.

Free play and tummy time will help children develop head control and build their torsos. The foundation for raising a healthy walker is comprised of these two abilities.

Prepare your cameras! Your preemie should be walking by the time they are one year old adjusted. 1 This developmental milestone may take longer for some preemie parents to reach, and some infants may require additional assistance when learning to walk.

When should premature babies start talking?

It’s entertaining to hear babies make their first sounds, from “baba baba” to call their parents by name.

Preemies may reach this developmental milestone a little earlier than their full-term peers since they have had more exposure to the language.

Some assistance may be required for other preemies to learn effective communication. Around six months, most preemies start babbling, and by 12 months, they are uttering words like “Mama” and “Dada,” especially to a parent. 

This is one of those developmental milestones where how well you connect with your baby and surround them with communicative people will be crucial. Your preemie can benefit from daily book reading, song singing, and dancing, among other language-supporting activities.

Timeline for The First 18 Months After Adjustment

Milestones for premature babies can differ, just like with full-term infants. However, Bear asserts that certain crucial events should take place around the following times:

Two months

  • starts to keep her head in control
  • makes a variety of cries, including cooing noises.
  • grins at others
  • acknowledges guardians and parents

Four months

The baby raises her head and scans the area while lying on her stomach.

  • turns over
  • focuses on faces and things
  • six months, modified
  • sits by herself
  • gets down on her knees
  • begins to creep
  • examines toys
  • is fascinated by distant objects
  • Consonant and vowel pairings in a babble (dada, baba, mama)

9 Months

  • crawls all over
  • pulls oneself up
  • accepts the word “no.”
  • copies movements and sounds
  • more diverse voice range
  • a game of peek-a-boo

12 months

  • floats beside furniture
  • begins to move alone
  • begins to act alone
  • Responds to simple inquiries like “Where’s Daddy?” by picking up little objects
  • tries to use your words.
  • uses basic hand motions like a “no” head shake or a “bye-bye” wave
  • Crying after parents depart
  • possesses treasured items, such as a blanket or stuffed animal
  • starts by saying Mama with feeling (baby knows Mama is Mama)

15 months

  • strolls with balance
  • Squats
  • may create basic puzzles or shape sorters.
  • Besides Mama and Dada, she uses three more words to refer to items or make requests.
  • examines or points to illustrations in books and follows more instructions

What are the complications of premature birth?

Premature birth problems in the initial weeks could involve:

breathing issues, A premature baby’s undeveloped respiratory system may cause breathing difficulties. Because the baby’s lungs can’t expand and regularly contract if they lack surfactant, a material that makes the lungs expand, they may develop respiratory distress syndrome.

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia is a lung condition that can affect premature infants. Additionally, some preterm infants may develop apnea or extended breathing pauses.

Heart issues. Low blood pressure and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) are the two most typical heart issues that preterm babies encounter (hypotension). A persistent gap between the aorta and the pulmonary artery is known as a PDA.

 Even though this heart condition frequently resolves on its own, if left untreated, it can result in heart failure, a murmur in the heart, and other consequences. Adjustments to intravenous fluids, medications, and even blood transfusions may be necessary for those with low blood pressure.

How to prevent pre-term delivery

Even though the precise reason for preterm birth is frequently unknown, some things can be done to assist women — particularly those who have an elevated risk — to lower their risk, including:

Vitamins with progesterone. Progesterone supplementation may lower the risk of preterm delivery in women with a history of preterm birth, short cervixes, or both.

cerclage of the cervix. Pregnant women with a short cervix or a history of cervical shortening resulting in a preterm birth undergo this surgical procedure.

Strong sutures shut the cervix during this treatment, which could give the uterus additional stability. When it’s time to birth the baby, the sutures are taken out. Ask your doctor if you need to refrain from strenuous activities to balance your pregnancy.

Scroll to Top