Preemie development different from fullterm babies?
All babies, whether they are preterm of full-term, develop at all different paces. They might be ahead on one milestone, behind on another. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to milestones. The milestones are just a range of averages. It's just something to tell you when you might be able to expect your baby to do certain things. Not reaching a milestone at a certain expected time is not generally something to worry about, especially if they are developing in most ways at or around the milestones. Just gotta be patient.
However, preemies can sometimes be a little behind the milestones because they didn't have as much time to develop and prepare in the womb. There are currently some studies on this. This is what I found on ushealth:
“All 81 babies in the study -- 30 preterm and 51 full-term -- had normal brain structure, based on standard MRI scans. But when the researchers used MRS, they saw "biochemical" differences between the premature and full-term infants.
In general, the preemies showed an "early start" in the brain's white matter development, which put it out of sync with the maturation of the brain's gray matter. Gray matter can be seen as the brain's information-processing centers, while white matter is like the wiring connecting those centers.
Bluml described it as a "false start" in preemies' white matter development, and the trigger appears to take place after birth. It's not clear what that trigger is, but one possibility, according to Bluml, is oxygen.”
However, these are small differences and the studies how it affects babies later in life is still being worked on, to my knowledge.
When you're contemplating the milestones of a preemie baby, there is one thing you can do to help you get on track and not worry too much. It's the “adjusted age.” Say, if your baby is born a month early, you can add a month to the developmental milestone average range. Two months early? Add two. Three? Three. Etc. That way, baby still has as much time to develop as a fullterm baby to reach the milestones, even if it's a bit differently since they are outside the womb.
Either way, don't get too concerned or impatient and let baby grow and thrive! Babies—full-term and preterm ones—tend to be empathic little buggers who pick up on your emotions and will sense if you're worried or distressed. So, unless your baby is severely behind on a milestone or pretty behind on a lot of them... stay calm and encouraging for baby's sake! (Not to mention your own mental health) If you get too worried, you can always ask a competant pediatrician whether or not baby's on track. But, I'd say you could probably go with your gut. You know your baby best. If he or she seems happy and is continuing to learn and grow, you're probably good!
Do any of you have preemies? Was there a difference in reaching the developmental milestones? Did you have to use the adjusted age?
Do you ladies know other ways preemie development differs from full term, on time babies?
But all babies are SO different. And all preemies are different. I was lucky with Ellsie. She was only in the hospital for three weeks, whereas some babies were in the special care nursery/nicu much longer than her. At her ped. visits they adjust for her height/weight since she's small, but they haven't had to yet developmentally.