It’s World Prematurity Day today, and I’m here to tell you, as the mum of a late premature baby, that you’re not alone. Before I tell you my story I want to point out that there are many different prematurity levels and this is just my own experience. It’s not meant to take away anything from anyone else.
In my opinion late prematurity (between 32 and 36 weeks) is not discussed enough, and many parents of late premature babies don’t feel like they can share their concerns and worries.
From week 24 onwards, we knew that this pregnancy would be different. Our son arrived after numerous hospital admissions, as well as steroid injections. When contractions started naturally at 35 weeks we were not surprised. A week later our son was born. We managed to get to 36 weeks, and he weighed a good 6lb 13oz.
There were only a couple of problems. His blood sugar was low and he was suffering from jaundice, which meant a prolonged hospital stay. We were very lucky though, as rather than be admitted to the neonatal ward we were able to have portable light therapy on the postnatal ward. This meant my son could stay with us. We were discharged after five days, and I can’t tell you how happy we were to leave our windowless blue bay on the postnatal ward.
Our boy thrived at home, but as his mum he felt so fragile and small to me. His weight was great but he was skinny and long compared to his sister, who was 8lb 2.5oz at birth. For a few months he had tummy issues when he wanted a poo, and reflux didn’t help him either. Thankfully by around six months he grew out of both.
We tried weaning at six months but quickly made the decision to hold off until eight months. His tummy just didn’t cope very well with trying new things. Waiting a couple more months made all the difference, and we did a mixture of purees and baby-led weaning.
If we adjusted my son’s age by four weeks, his development was spot on. By nine months he started to crawl, and he walked not long after his first birthday. Looking at him now it seems strange to think of those baggy knees, arms and skinny body 16 months ago. In fact, I wish I’d relaxed more at the beginning. Taken it slow and breathed a bit more. Told myself there’s nothing to worry about.