Adjusted Age Milestones -Premature Babies
Let's chat about the small but mighty premature baby. I’m a proud double preemie mom of two boys. When I had my first son, I was clueless to the fact that there would be a delay in his development due to being born at 33weeks gestation. It was not until his 6-week checkup that his pediatrician explained to me how to track his progress using his two ages.
A premature baby is a baby born before 36 weeks gestation. There are so many reasons why babies come early like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, low amniotic fluid, etc. Regardless of why your little one came prematurely, tracking their growth and development is vital to ensure they are growing happily and healthy. When a baby is born preterm typically things like specific brain functions and fine and gross motor skills may take longer to develop. It’s important to know this when looking at milestones for your baby.
Many babies born prematurely will also require a bit of help from the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). I’ve been there, twice, and I know the journey is a tough one. If you do happen to be going through this journey, I urge you to check out my “Tips for Surviving the NICU.”
Adjusted Age Milestones
A babies chronicles age will be determined by your babies actual date of birth. If it has been three months since you gave birth then your baby is three months.
Adjusted age for babies is determined by the babies original due date. So if your baby is two months old but born a month earlier than his/her original due date, then your babies adjusted age would be one month. For example, my youngest due date was June 29th, but he was born May 18th at 34 weeks exact gestation. So I will always subtract a month and two weeks (I subtract a month exactly) from his chronological age to track his milestones until he is two years old. Premature babies no longer should go by their adjusted age after two years as they should be caught up on their milestones. If you notice your little one is not where they should be, please consult your pediatrician.
What Does This Mean?
Let’s use my eldest son for example. Like I said he was born 33 weeks gestation so that means I will subtract seven weeks from his chronological age to see where he should be on the milestone list. Indicating when he was 8weeks old his adjusted Age was only one week, so it was completely normal that he was not hitting any of his milestones just yet such as lifting his head, being alert with his eyes, etc.
Now, this does not mean your baby won’t hit every milestone in their chronological age. My youngest has hit all his milestones just about right on time with his chronological age. Remember every baby is different, and they develop at their own pace. What’s important is that regardless, you are tracking your little one's development and working with them to meet their milestones.
My baby isn’t hitting their milestones; what should I do?
With my oldest, we realized around the 20-month mark that he wasn’t hitting milestones on track in his adjusted age. Shortly after his second birthday, he seemed to be pretty caught up but again started to decline closer to his third birthday especially with his speech and communication. After starting Pre-K, his teachers quickly noticed he was a bit behind and suggested we get him evaluated. After his evaluation with the pediatrician and special needs diagnostic center, we learned he has Extreme Developmental Delay or Mild Autism.
If your baby is not hitting their milestones by their adjusted age, discuss it with their pediatrician. It is NEVER too early to address developmental concerns, as early preventative care can mean everything for your little one's future. I often regret not having my son seen sooner or expressing to his pediatrician my concerns as I didn’t want to look like the “bad young mom” but I’m happy to say he is now thriving, super smart, and high functioning.
Here is a complete list below of baby milestones from 0-12 months for you to follow along. Print it out to keep handy on a wall in your babies room. Remember to keep your babies adjusted age in mind.
Are you a preemie momma? Let me know below!