It is important to correct age for a baby’s prematurity to give an accurate assessment of his developmental abilities.
When a baby is born before term (37wks) his brain and the rest his of his neurological system have not developed or mature according to the same age as a baby born at term.
If your baby had a gestational age of 28 weeks, his brain and the rest of his neurological system would need a full 12 weeks of growth before we would even expect him to function as a term newborn! Therefore, the developmental expectations of a premature baby are
based on corrected age, rather than chronological age, as it would be for a “term baby”. As the premature baby gets older, both the corrected and chronological ages are used as a guide in the developmental assessment.
How long is corrected age considered?
There are two school of thoughts to this question. Many neonatologists working with premature infants will use corrected age until actual age reaches 2 to 2 ½ years. It is thought that this is generally the time when most premature babies usually have “caught up” and there is little or no difference noted from a term born baby. However, according to the second thought process the amount of time your baby needs to “catch up” is directly related to how many weeks she was premature. So, depends on how tu our babys neonatologist takes the things.
Why is your baby so tiny? Small? Lagging behind others?
Some times questions from well meaning family and friends leave you frustrated. Answering them again and again may feel tiresome or even discouraging at times. You may even feel to doubt your own child that is he really down as well as i was told.
Get your babys consultation done by a good neonatologist/pediatrician. One that you fully trust. To the well meaning family and friends you can assure that specialists are closely monitoring your child keeping in mind the prematurity factor and in case theres an issue regarding the health or development of the baby you will be informed promptly and make the necessary adjustments.
It might help to remind family and friends that all babies develop at their own rate.
It is for you to understand so that you may not give your baby a hard time, or so that you may understand why is he not doing something which he should be at a particular age, so that when people compare him with other full termers and bug you about it, you in the core of your heart would know the actual reason and not feel down about it.
Your sanity is of prime importance.
Look after yourself. A happy Mommy will be a dedicated mommy. Its tough time… But it shall pass and this tiny caterpillar shall bloom into a healthy butterfly very soon.