Since preemies start smaller, they need to grow faster than usual to become the same size as a full-term baby. This is called "catch-up growth." Many preemies will catch up on their growth by about 12 to 18 months of age.*
Whether you choose to breastfeed or use baby formula after leaving the hospital, your premature baby may require extra help to grow throughout the first year. Your preemie is working hard to grow and develop, and supplementing with a nutrient-enriched,† preterm, post-discharge formula like Similac NeoSure can help. It’s designed to support brain, eye, muscle, and bone growth, as well as baby’s immune system.
Shop and learn more about Similac NeoSure.
Tracking these growth changes in your preemie can prompt important conversations with your pediatrician. You can track your baby’s progress with the Similac NeoSure Catch-Up Growth tracker.
Neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) are well-equipped and staffed to constantly monitor, feed, and care for premature babies. Because this care often happens in an incubator (the clear, enclosed crib your baby may have spent time in at the NICU) and because premature babies require less stimulation than babies born at term, a preemie’s physical needs are met in ways that are different from term-born babies.
To make sure that your baby is still being supported by positive physical experiences, your nurses or doctor might recommend "kangaroo care" for you and your preemie.
Kangaroo care encourages the skin-to-skin contact that has benefits for both parent and baby. It helps regulate his temperature, and research shows that a mother’s scent and voice have a calming and comforting effect that aids in baby’s development.
Kangaroo care is simple to learn. It’s not only rewarding for your preemie, but also comforting for parents.
The kangaroo position provides your little one with all kinds of positive stimulation needed for development, which includes:
- Hearing, through the sound of your voice
- Smell, though closeness to your body
- Touch, through skin-to-skin contact
It’s easy for parents. Here’s a quick how-to:
- Find a comfortable seat. Lay your baby—dressed only in a diaper and a hat—on your bare chest.
- Turn his head to one side so that his ear rests slightly above your heart. Use a soft sheet, robe, or your shirt to cover your baby.
- Keep your preemie’s head upright and uncovered, except for hat, to allow for unrestricted breathing.
If possible, keep your little one in the kangaroo position for at least an hour, so one complete sleep cycle occurs. You may find that kangaroo care offers a wonderful bonding experience!