Premature Baby Milestones And Development – New Parents Guide


Having a baby is always so exciting! However, it is not always very easy. You may have more questions about your child if it was born more than 3 weeks early. Questions about the growth and development of a premature baby are always popular. In this article, we will talk about premature baby milestones and your baby’s healthy development. 

A child’s healthy growth is determined by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ development milestones. This will help you know what to watch for at each age. Still, this is not a race and you shouldn’t be worried too much if your baby is not hitting those preemie milestones just in time. 

What You Should Know 

  • Keep track of your baby’s progress during her development. Take a look at the growth chart for premature babies to know where your little one is at.  
  • Once your premature baby is born, don’t forget about her estimated due date. That day is very important when it comes to measuring your baby’s development. 
  • Adjust your baby’s calendar regularly so you know whether her development is normal. This will also help you calculate her corrected age and whether your little one will hit preemie milestones. 
  • Try to work with your baby on her motor and social skills as much as you can. You have to be the support your baby needs during her development. 

Important 2 Month Premature Baby Milestones 

2 Month Old Skills and Milestones

  • Speech  – Premature babies this age usually start to respond to sounds like rattles and voices. For example, your dearest will probably turn when you call her name. Noises like “ooooh” and “aaaah” are also common. Be ready for lots of crying as a sort of communication. 
  • Motor  – If your baby is reaching her first preemie milestones in time she will probably move her hands and legs actively during this period. Your child will also lift her chest and head when lying on tummy, which is a good sign of hitting premature baby milestones. 
  • Social – Smiling and making eye contact is usually what you can expect from social interactions. Your baby will enjoy and recognize your affection. 

Q: Do premature babies reach milestones later?

A: It is very hard to predict whether a baby will hit certain development milestones in time whether a baby is premature or not. But, the evidence shows that babies born earlier do reach certain milestones a bit later. Still, this is not a reason to worry if everything is fine with your baby’s overall health.

Q: Do premature babies have developmental delays?

A: Sometimes, babies that are born preterm are overlooked in screening for developmental delays. If that happens, these babies can later have difficulties reading or doing math in preschool years. Still, this is usually avoidable if your pediatrician tracks your baby’s development during her first months. So, make sure to take your little one at regular checkups. 

3 Month Old Food

Babies are still on breast milk or formula during this period. About 32 ounces should be enough for most newborns but adjust accordingly if your baby can’t take that much. Some parents start with solids somewhere during this month. Infant cereal is usually the most popular choice when it comes to starting solids

3 Month Old Sleep Schedule and Routine

About 15-16 hours of sleep in 24 hours is usually the best for premature 3-month-old babies. Just regulate these hours so your baby has enough nighttime as well as daytime sleep. During this and next month your baby will start to sleep in a more regular pattern, making it easier for both of you. 

3 Month Old Activities 

Crying is still the most common type of communication during this period, so don’t expect too much activity yet. But, you may notice that your little one is starting to show interest in people or objects. Fixing her eyes on something will tell you that your baby has it on her mind. 

Important 6 Month Premature Baby Milestones 

6 Month Old Skills and Milestones

  • Speech – Most babies are responding to their name, looking, and turning at this age. Sounds like “ma”, and “da” is common. These are the first signs that your baby will start with her first words soon. 
  • Motor – Your baby will try to stand up on her own during this age. You will notice this when your tot tries to put weight on her feet. Sitting without help is now a thing and shaking objects is a daily routine. Rolling over is also a good sign that your baby is reaching those preemie milestones in time. 
  • Social – You may notice that your baby is starting to react to strangers and that it is generally more aware of the surroundings. Your baby will start to express happiness, sadness, and excitement during this period too. 

Q: How do you calculate a preemie milestone?

A: To calculate the corrected age of your baby you will have to subtract the number of weeks your baby was born from your baby’s actual age. For example, if your baby was born 2 months pre-term, you can expect that your newborn will meet the developmental milestones of a 4-month-old full-term baby during her 6th month of life. 

6 Month Old Food

When it comes to food, most babies are still breastfeeding or taking formula during this age. But, some parents start introducing pureed fruits and vegetables. Pureed meat is also something you can try to see whether your baby likes it or not. Keep in mind that healthy nutrition is crucial to help your little one with premature baby milestones. 

6 Month Old Sleep Schedule and Routine 

About 14-15 hours of sleep a day should be a norm for your premature baby. You must start working on a sleeping schedule at this period so your baby can develop healthy sleeping habits. Try to aim for long stretches of sleep and that your baby gets enough nighttime sleep but also daytime naps. One nap in the morning and one in the afternoon works for most babies. 

6 Month Old Activities 

Your baby will start paying more attention to objects that drop out of sight. Also, toys that can light up or play music are much more fun now than they were before. Introduce creative toys and see if your baby is on the creative spectrum. Staying physically active is also essential to help your baby reach those preemie milestones. 

Important 9 Month Premature Baby Milestones


9 Month Old Skills and Milestones

  • Speech – Your little one is now able to recognize familiar words such as “bye-bye” and “time for a bath”. Babbling is now a thing and you got used to her using “mama” and “dada” all the time. Your sweetie also tries to imitate movements and sounds. 
  • Motor – You will notice that your little one is now moving more easily than before. Working on walking without help is still a thing during this month. Babies this age also try to pick up small objects and inspect them.
  • Social – First signs of anxiety around strangers may show during this period. But, you will notice that your baby is very interested in playing and excited when you’re playing games with her such as peek-a-boo. 

Q: Do babies born at 36 weeks reach milestones later?

A: Babies that are born prematurely sometimes need a bit more time to hit preemie milestones than their full-term peers. Your tot might not be fully developed as other babies during this period, but give her another few months and it will be back on track with other kids. So, there’s no reason to worry, just work with your baby.  

Q: When should a preemie start smiling?

A: Premature babies are not very different than full-term ones when it comes to smiling. You may even notice a smirk soon after her birth, but those are reflex smiles. But you can expect your baby to start smiling more regularly after 6 or 8 weeks after birth. Smiling is a good sign that your baby is hitting premature baby milestones. 

9 Month Old Food 

Cooked noodles, rice, cereal, and soft bread are among common ingredients for babies this age. Keep in mind that babies this age are still on formula or breast milk, so don’t offer too much dairy. Still, extra protein from eggs, beans, fish, and chicken are always a good option.

9 Month Old Sleep Schedule and Routine 

Babies this age usually sleep about 14 hours a day. This includes two naps during the daytime, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. But, don’t be surprised if your baby has difficulties to establish a sleeping pattern, just swaddle her in her blanket

9 Month Old Activities 

You will notice that your little one is now very curious about objects and toys. Your sweetie will probably become very defensive of her toys and you may encounter her “bad side” when you try to take away toys from her. Feedings are now easier since babies start being more involved at this age. 

Important 1 Year Premature Baby Milestones

1 Year Old Skills and Milestones

  • Speech – Using “mama” and “dada” is now a daily routine. Listening to your “commands” is also a natural thing now. Don’t be surprised if your baby repeats the same word over and over again. 
  • Motor – Expect the first steps somewhere around this month. Your baby is probably able to stand alone without help but it still struggles walking. 
  • Social – Your little one is starting to play with other children and you should teach her how to act around them. Still, you and your partner are a preference. 

Q: Are Premature Babies Smarter?

A: Some studies show that premature babies are more intelligent than full-term babies. But, we are still unable to fully determine these claims. It is believed that preterm babies have “older” brains, which makes them more intelligent than other kids. Still, your child will hit premature baby milestones in time and get back on track with other children. 

Q: Do premature babies look different? 

A: Yes, premature babies look different than their full-term peers. They are usually smaller and they weigh less due to their early birth. Translucent skin and eyelids that are fused shut are common for preterm babies. Also, these babies are usually very fragile. 

1 Year Old Food

Preterm babies eat all kinds of food at this age. Offer soft fruits like peaches and bananas. Oatmeal, milk, and yogurt are always a good combination. Use chicken and eggs as great sources of protein. Keep in mind that your baby needs healthy nutrition to reach those preterm baby milestones in time. 

1 Year Old Sleeping Schedule and Routine

To hit preemie milestones in time, you will have to establish a healthy sleeping pattern with your baby. Always put her to sleep at the same time and make sure it has everything necessary to fall asleep. Use noise machines if needed. 

1 Year Old Activities 

Besides physical activity, your baby can now help you with dressing and feeding. Your baby uses her hands to hold objects without help and that allows her to become more independent. Teach her the use of everyday objects. 

When Should You be Worried

Usually, there’s no reason to worry if your child’s not hitting premature baby milestones in time. Still, if you notice any of these signs make sure to contact your pediatrician:

  • Lack of empathy
  • Aggressiveness
  • Stiff head
  • No interest in everyday objects
  • Uncontrollable tantrums

My Babies Planet Overview

When it comes to premature baby milestones, they are very similar to full-term milestones, but they just come in later. Make sure you stay in contact with your baby’s pediatrician in case you notice any strange behaviors. Keep track of your baby’s development and refer to the premature growth chart to see whether your bundle of joy is on the healthy curve!

Hello Mother's and Father's of the world. My name is Sarah Nielsen is this is my passion, as I am a mother of two beautiful babies and they are my world. Also I love blogging and sharing my experiences of what has worked for me when raising my kids. When I'm not juggling the madness at home, or working on my blog. You will find me product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest baby gear and helpful articles for my readers!