Although I do not place much emphasis on corrected age for my girls who were born eight weeks early, I do understand that because they were born early, their might be some delays in their development. I have been truly blessed that so far, they have been on schedule as if they were born full term. They are eating the right amount of food and hitting most of their milestones. The main reason I believe that they are developing very well is because of one reason, I do not look at them as if they were born premature.
While I was doing some research to negate a comment that was made in Facebook group, I came upon several posts that stated that they would always look at their babies as preemies; they would always be preemies even at the ripe age of 10. I couldn't agree with them. I am not in denial, I know my girls were born premature but in my situation, I knew that this was their fate because they are twins. However, they WERE preemies, they are now infants, hence why in the baby clothing section they have preemies, 0-3, 3-6 and 6-9 months. Do I need to continue?
From the moment my girls came home, I have worked with them to catch up on their development skills. Here are some tips that might help new moms work on the development skills. There are some milestones that I have noticed that they were doing at two months that was meant for four months and then there are some milestones that they have not reached yet.
Talking to Them
My fiance and I talk to the girls as if they are adults. We strayed away from the goo-goo and ga-ga talk. We spent time speaking to them in complete sentences, asking about their day, smiling and laughing with them. When they were 2 months and a half, my girls began to coo and smile. When they turned 3 months, they really started to look at us and have conversations. It still amazes me today how much they have accomplished and how they really talk to us. Share about your day to your babies. It might feel awkward at first because you think they do not understand, however, they do. They get use to the sound of your voice and eventually will react to what you are saying. Reading stories also helps with their cooing or babbling as well as sight. VIDEO COMING SOON!!
At 3 months, babies vision are no longer blurry and are able to adjust clearly to objects and to their parents. It is an amazing feeling to watch your infant focus on your face and smile. To help with this development, use baby toys or objects that are red and black (studies have shown that infants notices those colors first) and slowly move it so that their eyes will follow, however, not too close to their eyes. I like to use rattles as well because they will follow the sound. Watch my video of my girls focusing on the mobile, due to our practicing eye coordination.
My girls at times still have a tight fist. Other times, they grab objects on their own or each other. Use baby toys that have a smooth surface or a ring like shape so that it is easy for them to grab. Because they are still young, you might have to loosing their fists and wrap the object around their fingers. They will start to get use to holding and grabbing the more you practice with them. Mya grabbed an object one day and was shaking it so hard, she hit herself in the head! Make sure the object that you are placing in your babies hand isn't a hard toy.
While one of the challenges that many infants face in the NICU is the suck, swallow and breathe method in regards to feeding, another huge challenge is learning how to crawl. A major milestone is a baby able to hold their head up on your chest, lying down or while you are carrying them. Tummy time helps with this milestone as well as introduce them to crawling. Set a certain time (at least two times a day) to work on tummy time. Do this BEFORE you feed them or when you know they have digested their food. Use an activity mat, or a blanket on the bed. Try placing an object a good distance from them so they have something to reach for. Encourage them by talking to them (helps with the milestone of cooing, laughing and babbling). It is okay if the infant doesn't go too far or even stops. Around four months, they should start to coordinate movement much better. Watch my video as my girls practice tummy time. VIDEO COMING SOON!
Here is a great chart of the milestones your baby may reach related to their age. Check out BabyZone, Development Chart . Remember, full term babies do not necessarily meet their milestones either so do not feel bad. As a mom of twins who were born premature, I am aware that some milestones my girls might meet a little bit later, but I work with them much harder so that they do not fall too behind.
What kinds of activities did you or do with your baby?