Milestones are seldom typical when your baby is a preemie. Whether you’re still riding the NICU rollercoaster or you’ve brought your preemie home, prematurity can make the whole concept of milestones and measurements seem like a bit of a punch in the gut.
It’s not uncommon for parents of preemies to fret over delays or for the preemies themselves to have to work tremendously hard to do what seems to come naturally to full-term infants. Milestones, for moms and dads of preemies, can be bittersweet – exciting when they’re met (as well as a good reminder of how far a preemie has come) and frustrating when they’re met much later than anticipated or not met at all.
Preemies, you’ve probably noticed, operate on their own timelines. And their milestones may just be plain different. For every premature baby who’s learning to sit up on schedule, there is a preemie whose parents are celebrating saying goodbye to supplemental oxygen.
What are preemie parents writing about in preemie baby books? Babies transitioning from a vent to a CPAP. Hitting the two pound mark. Learning to walk, at any age, assisted or unassisted. Toddlers graduating out of Early Intervention. Getting through RSV season. Being home longer than being in the NICU. Moving from an isolette to a regular crib. Taking all feedings by mouth. Or the day a preemie makes the transition home.