31 weeker is almost 1 year - questions...

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Hi all,


My son was born at exactly 31 weeks, and stayed in the NICU 3 weeks.  He will be a year old on July 11th.  He sees his neonatologist and a team of therapists every quarter, and they log his progress, and give us goals for the next visit.  His last visit was around the 9 month mark, and his therapists were concerned that he?s not sitting up on his own unassisted, nor crawling (conversely, his neo didn?t seemed phased, nor did his pedi).  My mother (his caregiver while I?m at work) and I have done every suggestion given to us by the therapy team, to no avail.  My son simply will not/cannot (sometimes I?m not sure which) sit for more than a few seconds at a time without falling over, nor will he crawl, no matter how many times I try to help him bend his knees, push up on his hands, or put a favorite toy just out of reach.  He will assume a ?skydiving-like? position and cry his little head off.  Here?s the odd part ? he does demonstrate a love of being upright, and will ?walk? if you?re letting him hold onto your fingers.  He can also pull himself into a standing position from either laying or supported sitting.  He also demonstrates very little interest or skill in holding his own bottle.


His 1-year visit is coming up soon, and I?m apprehensive b/c he?s not crawling or sitting up unassisted, and the therapists let me know just how unhappy they were about it last time.  (I have found them quite abrasive and condescending, actually?)


He?s definitely at par or slightly ahead of the curb with his speech therapy ? he even says a few words that are very understandable, and babbles like crazy, so no worries there ? it just seems to be his motor skills. 


Could any of you share similar experiences, please?  I'm concerned that I'm worried about nothing (and would really like that to be true...).  My mom says that "all babies develop on their own terms".  Does that apply to preemies, as well?

Re: 31 weeker is almost 1 year - questions...

  • I feel like I wouldn't be as concerned about the crawling as I would be about the sitting unassisted.  That said, I remember the whole sitting unassisted thing being very gradual for my daughter.  Did the therapists give you any concrete suggestions for encouraging that?  I remember the bumbo seat being a great tool for encouraging that.

    Also, can you increase the frequency of his therapy sessions? It sounds like they would be worried about his muscle tone and would want to work with him a little more often.  Did they suggest anything like that?

    I think if your son had any huge issues, your pedi would notice them and be concerned.  That said, extra therapy (with a therapist you like!) would probably help him get to those milestones a little quicker.

  • Cara03Cara03
    Eighth Anniversary 500 Comments
    Does your son qualify for early intervention in your state? Our son qualified just based on his prematurity. The EI therapists (whom we love) come to our house 2 or 3 times a month to work with him and give us "homework" to do betweent he next time. We've found them to be tremendously helpful. They know LO's skills the best and see him in his home, comfort envinronment whereas the NICU follow-up appointments were always at the clinic, in an unfamiliar setting, usually during a nap time (ha!) and by people fairly unfamiliar with LO. I tend to rely more heavily on what our pediatrician and EI therapists say. Good luck. I have dreaded going to many of the NICU follow-up appointments, so I know how you feel. Also, I'll add that LO seemed to be developing soooooooooo slowly in motor skills until around 15 months old and then he really took off (crawling, walking, climbing, etc).
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  • I have been having some of the same issues with my son.  He'll be a year at the end of July and has just started sitting unassisted.  He doesn't like to sit for more than a few minutes at a time (he prefers to be on his belly).  Also, he's not crawling, pulling himself up, or showing any interest in holding his bottle.   Similarly, to your LO, he's very verbal and has about 8 words. 

    My husband and I were quite concerned about all of these things when we went to his last NICU follow-up appointment with the PT and OT.  They were less concerned and said that he will continue to develop at his own rate.  To encourage sitting unassisted, they suggested getting a ball or large toy and placing it between his legs.  So he's focusing on that instead of on maintaining his balance. It made a huge difference!  In the few weeks that we've been 'practicing' sitting with a ball, he's made huge gains.  Do you have early intervention available to you?  They might be able to make some recommendations, as well. 

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  • Thank you for all of the replies and suggestions!

    I'm not sure about the EI...I'll be sure to ask my pedi about it at his next appointment (7/11 - his birthday). 

    He has a Bumpo, although he's not fond of it.  I make him stay in it for about 15 minutes at a time, but really can't take him crying for longer than that - he really does not like confinement at all (he spends shorter car rides trying to figure out how to escape from his him with a ball seems like something he might

    Oddly enough, since I wrote the original post (what - 2 days ago??), his sitting balance has actually seemed to have improved!

    One of my biggest issues with his therapy is that it's an hour away from home, and he's never been a good traveler (gets carsick).  By the time we gets there, he's usually asleep, so he's hungry and cranky by the time they see him. :( It doesn't exactly show him at his best, you know?  I feel like he "performs" so much better at home, and wish they could see him in an environment that he's more comfortable in. 

    I will update after the appointment.

    Thanks again!

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