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Premature babies and development

If your baby was born early, you can work out how well they're developing based on the date they should have been born. This is called their 'corrected age'.

For example, if your 10-month-old baby was born 2 months early, their corrected age is 8 months old. You should check that your baby is meeting the milestones for 8 months.

Most premature babies meet their milestones for their corrected age and grow up healthy.

Developmental milestones

How to help your premature baby develop

You can help your baby's development using:

  • skin-to-skin contact - gentle touch and holding helps your baby to sleep, save energy and grow
  • sound - talk to your baby and look out for what sounds soothe or upset them
  • light - bright light is stressful for premature babies, soft lighting and shade will help them get used to life outside the womb
  • smell - avoid perfumed products so that your baby can learn to recognise your natural smell
  • naps - your baby needs sleep to grow

Stroking, talking to and making eye contact with your baby all at once can be overwhelming for them. Try to do one thing at a time and give your baby time to respond.

Page last reviewed: 15 September 2022
Next review due: 15 September 2025