What do premature babies have in common with the Queen? They have two birthdays. Birthday number one is the day they were born, too soon and too small. The second birthday is when they should have been born.
It's more than semantics. For the first year of life it's essential that parents and medical staff correct the baby's age. Too often I see parents of premature babies stressing out that their 6 month olds aren't sitting up, or finger feeding. It's vital to correct.
In our case our Health Visitor (similar to Child Health Nurse) uncorrected Joseph's weight at one year old, which is common practice. Then proceeded to give me a lecture about why Joseph had gone from the 25th to the 9th centile. She gave me a huge lecture about how I wasn't giving him enough high calorie foods and how I should give him puddings.
What she failed to see was that Joseph hadn't dropped centiles at all. It was her maths that had sent him plummetting down the centile charts, not my dodgy parenting. Our paediatrician was livid when she saw his chart and said he shouldn't be corrected until at least two.
However, for physical milestones, our Health Visitor quite rightly still corrected. It's absolutely vital to give them that time to "catch up". For every early and very small babies, "catch up" is a bit of a nebulous concept, and no one can determine when or indeed if a child has caught up at all, there is so much variance, no two toddlers are the same. There's always a huge difference between two year olds born at term, let alone adding prematurity into the mix. Some neo natologists say that it can take 5 years for "catch up" to occur.
Anyway, the point of today's post is that today, I have decided to stop correcting. I was previously advised by Joseph's physiotherapist to correct until 2 corrected, which is August, but now that he's talking and walking, I just don't feel I need to do it anymore.
But that doesn't mean we can't have cake on the 7th of August! I think that day, to me, will always have to be marked, with at least a cupcake and some kisses and cuddles.