Premature babies week by week gas house gorillas


By 29 to 30 weeks, premature babies weigh about 3 pounds and are about 17 inches long. Although they’re still very small, 29 weekers and 30 weekers have more fat stored under their skin, so they look more like "real" babies. They are starting to shed their lanugo, the fine hair that covers a preemie’s body. Also, their eyes can now blink, but bright lights and loud noises are usually still uncomfortable.

In addition to all of this outside maturity, the brain goes through a period of rapid growth as well. The brains of 29- and 30-week premature babies are starting to look grooved and wrinkled, and are mature enough to begin controlling body temperature.

At this age, the premature baby feels secure and cozy with swaddling and nesting. Also, at this time, their stomach and intestines are maturing and getting ready to digest milk. They are not yet ready to nipple feed but can begin sucking on a pacifier to help develop their eating muscles. In addition to using the pacifier, kangaroo care while being fed will help your baby thrive, and help you and your baby bond.

By 31 to 32 weeks, premature babies weigh between 3 1/2 and 4 pounds and are between 18 and 19 inches long. That’s almost as long as a baby born at term. Premature babies born at 31 and 32 weeks are called moderately preterm babies. Although they’re still immature at birth and will require several weeks of NICU care, most 31 and 32 weekers quickly catch up to their peers and have few long-term effects of prematurity.

They use all 5 senses to learn about their environments but still may get overstimulated by bright lights and loud noises. Overstimulation by their environment may be expressed through a hiccup, sneeze, or cry. That being said, at this age, your baby will likely enjoy seeing your face up close.

Parents usually want to know when their babies can come home from the NICU. Even though at this age, your baby looks like a tinier version of a full-term baby, your baby still needs special care, especially as their immune health continues to mature, and they develop their suck for feeding. While your baby will be awake more, their sleep needs to be protected, so they can continue to thrive and grow.

In addition, before discharge, there are several milestones that premature babies must reach: they need to be able to eat, breathe, and stay warm without any help from NICU staff or equipment. Preemies born at 31 and 32 weeks may be able to do one or two of these things at birth, but it will take time to reach all three milestones.

Premature babies born between 33 and 34 weeks are called moderately preterm babies. Weighing between 4 and 5 pounds at birth and measuring almost 20 inches long, these babies are getting much closer to the size of a baby born at term. Although they are getting bigger, 33 and 34 weekers are still immature and may need to stay in the NICU for several weeks.

Premature babies are almost fully developed by 33 and 34 weeks. Their bones are fully formed, their fingernails come to the ends of their fingertips, and in boys, the testicles are descending into the scrotum. However, the respiratory system doesn’t finish developing until the last weeks of pregnancy, and antibodies are only starting to pass from mom to baby – so their immune health is still a bit compromised.

At 33 and 34 weeks, most premature babies will have fairly short NICU stays with only a few complications. They may need help breathing for a short time, but learning to eat may take the longest. The suck-swallow-breathe reflex is not well coordinated, and these babies may not be strong enough to take in enough nourishment to grow and gain weight.