Premature babies develop according to their adjusted age, in other words the age they would be if they had been born on their due date. This is calculated as follows:

Chronological age – weeks premature = adjusted developmental age

So a six-month-old who was born four weeks (one month) premature will have the development level of a typical five-month-old. Until your baby is about two years old the adjusted age applies to everything, from feeding to sleep and development.

If your baby was born very prematurely or she had many periods of medical instability or was at risk for brain damage or damage to her eyes or hearing, you will want to monitor her very carefully for about two years. If she is consistently not achieving target milestones for her adjusted age in each stage, bring it to the attention of your paediatrician.

Your time in the neonatal unit is valuable. You get to know your baby. You are reading her signals and understanding her signs of overstimulation way before most other moms do.