by Pregnancy.org Staff
I am so excited to be going home. I am also a little scared. It is okay if you are feeling a little scared too. Even if I have had a big brother or sister, I may be different because I was born so early and so small. I decided to write this list of activities that can help preemies like me learn how to use our bodies and minds as we grow. These activities can be done anywhere and anytime, as we go about our normal routine. Not only are they good for my development, but also they are great ways for us to get to know each other. I cannot wait to get home and spend lots and lots of time with you.
The word development refers to the stages I go through as I learn new skills and mature. Typically, children reach developmental milestones (such as walking and talking) in a similar order and at certain ages.
However, there is often variation in the rate and age that children develop skills. Preemies, like me, often develop differently from babies who were born full-term. I may look and act different from other babies my age, so it's important not to compare me to them.
Since I was born early, I will have two different ages while I'm little:
For example -- Today's date is June 2, 2000. My birth date was February 2, 2000, and I was 3 months early.
When looking at my growth and development, use my corrected age. So, I should only be expected to do what a 1-month-old can do.
Below are some of the things that I may do because I was born before my body was ready:
There are many ways that I can tell you if I'm happy or not. You probably know many of them already. By spending lots of time watching me and holding me, we can get to know each other even better.
The following list some of the signals I may use and what they may mean.
I am happy and ready to interact:
I need a break from interacting or I am upset:
As I mentioned earlier, the activities that follow can be done anywhere and at anytime of day. You don't need any special equipment or training to do them with me. We can just have fun.
I need to spend time on my stomach everyday. You can lie down in front of me and talk to me, or put a mirror or brightly colored toy near me, so I have something to look at. It is a good idea to start tummy time as soon as I leave the hospital. If I don't learn to do it early, I may not like it later on.
I should be awake and supervised during tummy time.
Keep Me Flexed
I need to be held and positioned so that my arms and legs are tucked in close to my body.
It is important for me to learn how to use my hands in the middle of my body. Give me lots of opportunities to do the following: