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You can calculate the age of a premature baby two different ways:
- Chronological age is the baby's age as determined by counting the number of days, weeks, or years from the day of birth.
- Adjusted age is a baby's age based on his due date. Healthcare providers may use this age when evaluating the baby's growth and development. So if a baby is 6 months old but was born two months early, his adjusted age is 4 months.
What should you say when someone asks your baby's age?
This is up to you. You can say, "He's 6 months old, but he was born two months early. That's why he looks like a 4-month-old." Or you can say, "He's 6 months old" and leave it at that.
Remember: When people ask about your baby, they're usually trying to be kind, not nosy.
When will your baby "catch up" developmentally?
Most premature babies reach the same developmental milestones as their peers in two to three years. After that, any differences in size or development are most likely due to individual differences, rather than premature birth. Some very small babies take longer to catch up.
When can you stop using your preemie's adjusted age?
You can stop adjusting your baby's age whenever it feels most comfortable to you.
How do I calculate my baby's adjusted age?
Here's one example:
If your baby's chronological age is 20 weeks, but he was born 6 weeks premature, you subtract the number of weeks premature (six) from his chronological age of 20 weeks to get 14 weeks. This is your baby's adjusted age.
To determine your baby's adjusted age in months, just divide by four. For example, 14 weeks divided by four equals 3 1/2 months.