premature baby development starts as soon as the baby is in the NICU HDU OR SCBU of the maternity hospital.
premature baby development is ongoing at first in the hospital setting. Each step in overcoming hurdles, getting over set backs is one step closer to preparing for home.
how does it work the premature baby development once they are home with you ? for instance 6 weeks premature, 6 weeks delayed progress, 10 weeks born premature then 10 weeks delayed etc.
There is no need for specialist toys to be bought just to get baby to come on quicker unless a baby has been diagnosed with a specific individual physical or learning need. Each baby even if not premature learns at his or her own space. Try not to compare development levels with your best friends baby etc.
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 physiotherapy or 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 don't 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 breastfeeding 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. Encourage 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 positive bonding relationships between family members, giving lots of love, cuddles, playing with baby in a calm reassuring 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.
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 memory 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, speech, walking etc as they become apparent .
premature babies can have developmental delays?. You tend to notice this with very preterm babies they are slower to catch up . they have spent so much time in the NICU you see . Plus if they have had health issues with gave them a set back then this will also effect them as the continue to thrive at home. The rare occurrence of a brain bleed can effect their development progress.
As the health visitor comes round she will put you in touch with the right support. It could mean just more physio is needed to strengthen arms and legs. or a condition may be picked up such as cerebral palsy. This may be more of a long term issue that can effect your child. but they have come so far and can get all the help they need to improve. especially in mobility or using aids to get them walking when the time is ready for them.