By the age of 3 your child will have caught up to that of an average 3 year old.Only when your child is discharged from the special care baby unit will you find out if your child needs physiotherapyor has specific special needs and then this will determine further outside help from other agencies to help with your baby's progress other than that you are capable of doing this yourself at home.
You dont have to worry about buying any special equipment if your baby came out of hospital not needing any specialist support, but for your peace of mind you can gently encourage your baby to reach each milestone with some extra care,and with no pressure playtimes that will strengthen each of your baby's body parts and encourage full sensory development.
Here are the areas that any child will need encouragement in and stimulation be able to reach each milestone at their own pace.
SENSORY 5 AREAS...TOUCH,TASTE,HEARING,SEEING,SMELL.
1.Ecourage sensory hearing,Seeing,touching from day 1 onwards by mummy, daddy being around to give baby affection and stimulation, baby learning smells around the home ie mummy beastfeeding learning to smell mummy's own milk or daddy giving baby cuddle, up close baby smelling aftershave on daddy's skin etc musical toys placed within hear shot of baby, singing lullabyes and making soft sounds baby can listen to.
2. Ecourage baby to lie of soft thick blanket on floor or on a play mat under a play gym looking at the colours of the toys learning to reach and touch the toys, placing large teddy bears around baby so baby can gently feel the fur texture,grasping,reaching and so on.
3. Giving baby lots of cuddles,hugs, forming possitve bonding relationships between family members,giving lots of love, cuddles, playing with baby in a calm reasuring way so baby feels secure and sae with familiar adults wil encourage baby to come on in heaps and bounds, left alone most of the time in a pram or cot to play alone is not good.
4. Lots of visits out socializing to the park playgroup with other babies listening to other babies babbling,mums chattering will encourage baby to develop other senses such as hearing and sight going out and about in the pram watching,listening to every day sounds such as car engines, birds tweeting in the park, learning to be around other adults and children in a positive way and meeting other babies such as visiting sure start programmes.
5.Putting toys around baby on a play blanket will help develop good muscle tones needed to help with crawling shuffling and standing up with the furniture.when able to sit up that encourages baby to think for self problem solving hiding a ball under a blanket and baby finds it of using a shape sorter or reaching out and encouraging baby to feel comfortable lying on his or her tummy to reach for a toy they want or in a prone position ready to learn to crawl or roll over.
6.Encouraging baby to talk and making the first sounds for baby to respond to.Hold baby up to your face make ohh ahhhs bababa sounds and baby can also feel the vibrations on the face. encouraging communication between other adults, brothers and sisters, reading stories together developing and interest in books from an early age ,Singing nursery rhymes together.
Is my premature baby learning?
If you followed the steps above you will see progress.You will be excited and may want to record your baby's first smile first time holding a rattle etc in your baby book. You will love to compare notes with other mums and the health visitor is on hand if you have any worries at all.if you leave a baby in a cot all day without any stimulation love cuddles fresh air etc then it wont reach the baby milestones.babies need stimulation and brain activity will increase especially in the first few years. if you notice severe delays the health visitor will put you in touch with outside agencies that can give baby extra hep such as hearing,speach,walking etc as they become apparent .