Neurological development of the premature infant

Developmentally, a newborn isn't able to fully interact with the greater world until a few weeks past the due date. You can see this in the amount of time a newborn spends sleeping and in the limited vision a full-term infant has at birth. Slowly, the full-term newborn becomes physiologically able to take in more and more of the physical world and its sounds, sights, and experiences.

The premature newborn naturally needs even more time after birth to transition into the world. You can expect that your premature infant will need to sleep most of the time and that he or she will not spend much or any time interacting with you. However, your presence is important to your infant.

When you are giving your infant the benefit of your presence, keep your voice low and keep outside noise and light to a minimum.

Last Updated: May 5, 2009

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