From Diapers to Dating - Will My Preemie Ever Grow Tall?
Parents' concerns for the growth of their children born prematurely.
When you first look into the isolette at your tiny child or wrap your baby with miniature preemie diapers, it is hard to believe that they will ever be bigger.
Joyce, a mother of premature twins describes,
Our preemies start very small and stay tiny for quite a long time. But will they really "catch up" in size like everyone seeks to reassure us?
It isnít possible to answer this question for each individual child, because there is so much variability among children and among factors effecting preemies growth and development. But there are some general rules which will provide some clues for your unique child.
First of all, eventual size is determined to a large extent by genetics. If you and your partner are tall, your baby is most likely to be predisposed to be tall also. And vice versa for those (like myself) who are shorter in stature.
In addition, food intake as babies and children grow is also a factor. This issue begins in the NICU. As many parents who have preemie babies, toddlers and preschoolers know - feeding can also be quite an issue for growing preemies. But there is some good news.
Many preemie babies and toddlers actually grow faster than average and
seem to "catch up" with children who were born at normal development.
"85% of premature infants have catch-up growth
and land on the regular growth chart by two years of age," according
to Dr. Raye-Ann deRegnier of Children's Hospital of St. Paul and the University
A mother of 15 month old twins shares her thoughts,
If your child has developmental issues or other impacts related to prematurity, your anxiety can be heightened even more.
Laura, the mother of a two year old with mild physical disabilities and feeding disorder, shares her experience,
Sometimes your older child will be teased for their size. But we also
find out that our children can compensate in amazing ways, given a base
of confidence and support.
But as her son as grown, Janet finds that he has been able to compensate and adapt to his situation,
In closing, Laura's words apply to many of us,
© 1998 Copyright Allison Martin
Allison Martin, MPA, is the listowner of Preemie-Child and the owner of the Comeunity website. This article originally appeared in Early Editions, an online newsletter for parents of preemies.
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