When Baby is Born Premature

When baby arrives more than 3 weeks before their due date, they are considered premature. Baby being born premature is something almost no parent expects, but there is so much that can be done to support baby's health and development! Tracking baby's development if they are premature may require some adjustments, but baby is still on the right track.

Explore this page to see our essentials for parents with a baby that is born premature. Learn more about prematurity, how to keep baby active, and when to seek out additional support.

Understanding Prematurity

What is prematurity?

Was baby born earlier than expected? If so, you may have many questions about what this means for baby’s health and development.

Learn more

Why do I need to adjust baby's milestones?

You may notice your baby is behind in meeting some of their milestones based on their actual age. This is why their corrected age is so important to calculate and use for tracking their milestones.

How to Adjust Baby's Milestones

How does massage help a premature baby?

Once baby is crawling and walking, it’s important to have your home baby proofed. So why not start as soon as possible? Here are some tips to make your home safe for baby to explore.

Learn Massage+ 30, 10, 5

How can you use the Pathways.org App if Baby is premature?

Our Baby Development App will automatically adjust baby's milestones for prematurity, so you can be sure that you're tracking baby's development.

Get the App

The importance of skin-to-skin contact

While doing baby's daily exercises and activities, skin-to-skin contact can help with bonding.


Tracking Milestones


It's always important to track baby's milestones, even if they're on track! Continue to track all milestones up to 2 years old, and then communication milestones until a child turns 3. The Pathways.org Baby Development App makes tracking milestones easier than ever!

Why do I need to adjust baby's milestones?

You may notice your baby is behind in meeting some of their milestones based on their actual age. This is why their corrected age is so important to calculate and use for tracking their milestones.

Adjust Baby's Milestones


Do twins (or any multiples!) reach developmental milestones at the same time?twin_development

When you have twins, it’s natural to compare how they do things. Given they do so much together, it’s also natural to wonder if twins should reach developmental milestones at the same time.

How Twins Develop

What if baby isn't meeting their milestones?

If you are noticing your child is struggling to meet certain milestones, you may suspect baby is experiencing a developmental delay. It’s important to listen to these concerns and reach out to a healthcare provider early.

What To Do Next


How to Support Baby if They Are Premature

There are so many ways to support baby's development if they are premature! See below for Games, baby massage, Tummy Time tips, and music therapy.

Games for Prematurity


All of our weekly Baby Games can be played with baby if they are born early! To start, play games that are recommended for baby's adjusted age. So if baby is born 7 weeks early, and their actual age is 20 weeks, start with games for 13 weeks (20 weeks - 7 weeks early = 13 weeks adjusted age). Then if baby is able to play these games, explore other ages. Be sure to ask a healthcare provider if there are any modifications you need to make at home.

Check out a sampling of our Baby Games and download the Pathways.org Baby Development app to get weekly game recommendations for baby's adjusted age.

When you download the Pathways.org Baby Development App, you will get weekly games and videos that are perfect for your baby's age and development.

Massage+ 30, 10, 5

What is Massage+ 30, 10, 5?

Massage+ 30, 10, 5 is a simple, quick, and powerful intervention using massage to help improve the health and development of premature and full-term infants. This is a massage of baby’s head, arms, legs, belly, and back, and also incorporates communication and movement.

Learn more


How does Massage+ 30, 10, 5 benefit premature infants?

There are many benefits to this baby massage intervention. Some of the benefits include improvements in:

  • Baby’s sleeping and eating habits
  • Baby’s sense of hearing, touch, sight, and motion
  • Parent confidence levels
  • Parent and child intimacy
  • Parent and child communication


Become a Massage+ 30, 10, 5 expert!

Take our on-demand course, made for parents, to learn more about how to do the massage, cues you’re getting from baby, and more.

Take the Course

Tummy Time

What is Tummy Time?

Tummy Time can begin as soon as baby comes home, and is one of a newborn baby’s first exercises—and the most important!

Learn more

Having Tummy Time trouble?

Check out these alternate positions to help with Tummy Time.

Music Therapy

How does music therapy benefit premature infants?

For premature babies, music therapy has been beneficial in helping to reduce stress and pain, which is often linked to medical treatment in the neonatal intensive unit (NICU).

Benefits of Music

Can music help baby's development?

We know that music engages many regions of the brain at once. It is also an important part of many play, social-emotional, communication, and sensory experiences, and can possibly strengthen those experiences.

Let's Play Some Music!


How Dads Can Bond with Baby. Bonding with baby means a lot. It’s important for new parents and can be done in simple ways. Let’s look at some of the ways Dad connects with baby!


Medical Care

Should baby have more well-baby visits if they're premature?

Learn more

How can you prepare for a well-baby visit if baby is premature?

How to Prepare

How can you find the right healthcare provider?

Choosing a healthcare provider for your child is important, and it can easily feel overwhelming. But have no fear! We’re here to walk you through the entire process, so you’ll get connected with the care your child needs and get answers to the questions you might have.

Find a Provider

What is Early Detection and Early Intervention?

Baby’s early years are some of the most important years for their development, which is why early detection and early intervention are so critical.

Learn about Early Intervention

Don't forget to take care of yourself. Being a parent is exciting-- and challenging. Remember that it's important to care for yourself, seek out support, and ask questions. Learn more about adjusting to baby's changes. 

Other Resources


Visit some of these great resources to help parents with premature babies.

March of Dimes


This is just the beginning of our information and resources for parents!


Guides and Resources

Answers to Common Questions

Educational Courses

The Pathways.org Baby Development App is essential for every parent! 

"Having the Pathways.org app at my fingertips, I can open it up and look at activities and milestones for my baby at his particular age. Pathways.org is typically my go-to and now with the app, it's even more helpful." - Physical therapist and new mom

Download the app today!


App store buttonGoogle Play button

The Pathways.org Promise
Our milestones are supported by American Academy of Pediatric findings. Our activities are verified by licensed pediatric physical and occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists.

Learn more about our mission.

Contact us
Get in touch!