Premie Development

Jessica - posted on 01/16/2010 ( 18 moms have responded )

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My son Maxwell was born 6 weeks early and spent 10 days in the NICU. Now he is 17 months old and still not walking, talking and just started sitting and crawling at 12 months. Is this "normal" for other people with premies? Even for his adjusted age he is pretty far behind. My husband and I have our son in a state program that brings physical therapist into your home to work with your child. He shows some improvment but I have several girlfriends that had babies at the same time and they are putting my little guy to shame. I cant help but be stressed and it's hard for my friends that had their babies on time to understand.

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Beth - posted on 01/24/2010

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My son was born at 35w. He was a late crawler and walker at 16 m. He is now just over 2 yrs and he has a speech delay. We have a therapist come in once a wk for an hour. I understand how frustrating it is Friends of family say that boys are late talkers, but he went through alot of testing and he has some motor skill issues w/ his jaw. Just know that you know your child and if he didn't need help then the state wouldn't give it to you.

Shelly - posted on 01/23/2010

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my son was born at 24w/5d and weighed 1 lb 14 oz,he is now 7 and is in mainstream school and is doing what all the other children do it just takes a little bit longer for him.be patient they get there in their own time as they are still catching up where other children were developing in the womb ours had to fight to breath and survive so he will get to his goals it may just take him a little longer than the other children his age.x

Emilie - posted on 01/23/2010

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He does sound behind. It's good that you have the therapist coming. My son fell a bit behind on sitting up, we had the therapist come and he figured it out in a couple of months. He's doing great now. Getting them the help that they need greatly reduces the risk of anything serious later on, so you are doing the right thing. It's stressful and particularly hard to see other babies who are "on-time", but you are not alone.

Shannon - posted on 01/23/2010

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My little one is 20 months old and we have a therapist come in and work with him weekly. He is behind like yours. This is natural!!! I was always comparing him to my daughter and to other friends children. I had to stop...it was stressing me out too much. They will get there eventually....they started off totally different than "normal" babies. Alexander is still walking unsteady and on his tiptoes...no running yet....so just sit back and let it come......His communication is around a 12-14 month old....we just learned that due to his sensory integration issues, he cannot feel hot or cold temperatures....he recently poured a hot candle over his face and he never cried a bit....also put his hand on the hot stove....burned badly, but not one cry.....be lucky that you child is healthy and here....let the other stuff go...he WILL learn how to do all those things!!! Good luck!

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My daughter was 5 weeks early and didn't start crawling until 12 months and walking until 18 months - not that uncommon. She is 4 now and perfectly caught up with everything. Don't worry! Easier said than done, I know x

Carmel - posted on 01/21/2010

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my son was 7 weeks early 6 months old now and just started turning over, prem babies have so much to do in the begining compare to full term babies we all have little fighters and should praise ourselfs and them for coming this far ur baby will come on in their own time. take care

Therese - posted on 01/21/2010

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It's hard not to compare your son to your friends' babies. I did the same thing with my niece who was born 5 months after my daughter. I felt angry, depressed and stressed that my niece, who was born full term, was doing much more than my daughter, who was born at 26 weeks. My daughter sat at about a year, crawled after that, and finally walked on her own at 25 months. She started talking at about the correct adjusted age, but that is about the only thing she did do at her "adjusted age". But, all of this time she was being seen by PT, OT, and a developmental special needs teacher, had speech therapy evals, and saw her pediatrician, ophthalmologist, neurologist, orthopaedic Dr's regularly. PT was in home and at a facility with a great pediatric PT. We sent her to early childhood programing when she was 3 and 4 and she went to prekindergarten at 5, and kindergarten at 6. All of those early interventions helped alot. We were given lots of info and at home things to do. We read to her alot and she had alot of one on one care as I worked part time and when I was at work my mother-in-law babysat for us.
At some point she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, I can't remember when for sure. She had a grade 4 intraventricular hemmorage (brain bleed) when she was born, so that is why she has CP. Today she is 10 and on the A honor roll, she has poor vision, but has adapted well, and her CP is mild. She can run, jump and play, but has a little more trouble with balance/gross motor skills- things like riding a bike and cannot rollerskate by herself, etc. Why was your son born early? Does he have any underlying conditions that would cause him to have more significant delays? You, your husband and son would benefit greatly by getting as many resource people involved early on so your son's development will be the best it can be for him. But remember to just concentrate on him and help him be the best he can be. You will be glad you did everything you did when you look back a few years from now. Try not to compare him to full term babies or even other preterm babies. Every baby is different and has their own development rate and things they find easier/harder to accomplish. Celebrate his accomplishments-no matter how small you might think they are. His improvements are huge accomplishments for him since he has to work harder than a full term baby to achieve some things. In time I think your friends will understand better. I think it's a good idea to have occasional playdates with your friends' babies to keep him stimulated so he can learn from them if you are comfortable with that. Stay positive and keep up the good work!

Cindy - posted on 01/21/2010

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keep your spirits up and don't let other moms keep you down. there is no rule book when babies are supposed to do this or do that. sure your dr goes by the book and some kids are at the 50th percentile in their age group...which is normal................but out of the whole world only 100 kids were used for the guidlines. having a preemie is hard i know i had twins. perhaps going to the library for story time will be a good start. also try cafemom,com and find other moms in your area who may have the same issues with their baby. stay strong and be happy

Julie - posted on 01/20/2010

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It's so great to see these replies :-) It reminds me that our kids won't be starting college without walking, right? My daughter is 18 mos old now and was born at 32 weeks but spent 9 weeks in the NICU. She also gets Early Intervention services through the state - PT 2x/week, OT and about to start speech 2x/week. She doesn't crawl but does a scooch and cruises now...1 word...

My question to you all is...I hesitate to make playdates with other Moms because I'm just so sick of people saying 'she's how old?' (Did I mention she's still bald so looks very much like a baby?) I just don't want to deal with it but I know it would be so good for her to play with other kids...Do any of you hesitate to do this too? I am so positive all the time when people ask me, but inside I just hate it.

Emma - posted on 01/20/2010

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My son was born at 23wks + 6 days, he spent 4 months in the NICU. He sat up at 11 months, crawled at 13 months and walked at 19 months. My sister had a son 6 months after me at he crawled and walked before my son and i was forever comparing my son till one day i got so upset about other ppl doing it that i stopped. He turned 2 about 2 months ago and and although he is small for his age and his speach is a bit behind he has come alone leaps and bounds. So give your son time he will do it just when he is ready. Keep up the good work as i believ it's much harder rasing a prem than a full term baby as i have experienced both

Stacy - posted on 01/19/2010

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My triplet boys were born at 30 weeks. They all had a very long stay in the NICU. The two identical boys have developed much faster than the fraternal one. He is running about 6 months behind in development. He qualified for Early Start and we have had a physical therapist coming weekly also. He sat up around 13 months and finally walked at 18 months.I would recommend that he has as much floor time as possible. This is where most kids strengthen their muscles. He is rapidly catching up to his brothers but still has many milestones to reach. My boys will be two next month and are just beginning to say some words. I think they will qualify for speech. My suggestions to you is to research any available programs that will assist in all areas of development. They are provided so you might as well take advantage of them while you can. I also signed my boys up for gym class which has really help with large motor skills. Good luck and keep up the great work.

Stefanie - posted on 01/19/2010

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My son was 34 weeks (5.5 weeks premature) He is now 8.5 months and he has severe plagiocephaly and just received a craniofacial helmet this week. I was devasted but I know that his problems could be worse. He also began physical therapy this week because he does not roll over or crawl. Due to the flat head my doctor told me to keep him off his back (lying on back of head) and he hated being on his stomach so once he was able to sit I allowed him to sit or go in his jumper most of the time. Now we are in physical therapy because my doctor didnt send me to a specialist sooner!! I have to remind myself that he is very intelligent but he is a premie and that might delay developmental milestones :( I know that I am blessed to have a beautiful healthy baby boy but it is still very difficult at times. SO ladies...you are not alone.

Cindy - posted on 01/19/2010

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don't get discourged!! i had twins that were born 9 1/2 weeks preemie. one twin started walking at 16 months and the other was at almost 19 months. don't compare apples to oranges (one child to another) every baby developes differently. my son was normal term and didn't walk til he was about 16 months. keep working with the therepy and do some fun home exercizing to build his muscles. put on some music and let him hold onto your hands while you dance and stomp your feet. also..........make sure he has good shoes on. the shoes can make a world of difference. i reccommend stride rite. they are a bit pricey, but if you go to a stride rite store and get his foot measured there and write down the style # you can most likely find the shoes alot cheaper thru amazon.com. i have twin girls and their shoes were $56 a pair, i found them on amazon.com for $27 a pair. keep your spirits up, he just may be a late bloomer. no kid comes with a rule book to say when certain milestones will be obtained. you are doing the right thing with therapy, but it may not be enough for him or boring. make your own routine and have fun!!!

Heather - posted on 01/16/2010

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My daughter was born at 29 weeks. She is 11 months now and just mastered sitting up by herself. It is very normal for preemies to have delayed physical development. It's good that you have him in physical therapy because they will be able to work with him on milestones.

Amanda - posted on 01/16/2010

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While having children at or around the same time can be a great experience, it can be very stressful to those of us who have preemies. My son was a 27 week preemie, born 13 weeks early. He is now 3. The advice I have for you is a) do not compare your child or allow others to compare him to your friends children. Preemies have a much harder road and are generally more behind than their "adjusted age" or "gestational age". Furthermore, it will just make you more stressed, frustrated and ultimately, depressed. All of which need to be avoided in order to be the best parent and advocate for your little guy. b) If a physical therapist is already coming into your home with your state program, see if you can add an occupational therapist to the mix. Multiple therapy sessions and a more aggressive treatment at this young age help children to be caught up by school age. c) ask your therapist or someone involved in your state program if their is a support group for special needs children. Finding other moms and dads with similar issues can be more helpful and positive than constantly wondering what else can be done.

Jamie - posted on 01/16/2010

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my daughter was 7 1/2 weeks premmature, she started off slow with rolling over and crawling, but when she turned 1 she started walking, and since then she has been advanced in everything, she just turned 2 last week, she speaks full sentances, can draw circles, and is fully potty trained.

Sarah - posted on 01/16/2010

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It is frustrating. And I know it prob. doesn't help much but u have to remember a couple of thing. 1 all babies develope at diff rates and 2 you can't compared a preemie to full term babies all that will do if frustrate you more. Just remember you are doing everthing you should be. The fact that he's showing improvment is a great thing and hold onto that.

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