When do you you stop using the word preemie? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 09-21-2007, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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My little guy is almost 8 months old and my mom hates it whenever I mention the fact that he was born prematurely in conversation with others. For example if someone asks me how much he weighed at birth, I tell them he was 5lbs. When they stare in amazement, I explain he was born 5 weeks early. They always seem perplexed because at almost 8 months he's a chunky monkey at 18 lbs!

My mom hates any mention of the word preemie or that I tell others his birth weight or that he was born early. I don't see the problem but she thinks it'll impact his self-esteem and make him think he was "sick" or something.

On the other hand, DH takes it in the opposite direction. Nic already pulls to standing, cruises, crawls well, sits unassisted, and has taken a few steps on his own. When others say, "Wow, he's doing well for 7.5 months", DH says "And he was a preemie so he's actually doing really well! He must have inherited it from me" (DH is incredibly athletic!)

So....what would you do? I don't think there's anything shameful in being a preemie or being the parent of a preemie so I don't think there's any reason for me to hide or deny the fact that Nic was born early and small. However, I also don't think I have to preempt his milestones with "And he was born prematurely....."

I have a friend who had her twins at 28 weeks, both shy of 2 lbs, and now at 7.5 months they're still only 8 and 11 lbs. People always assume they're newborns and when they find out their age, she explains they were very prematurely born. They're going to small for their RA for a while so most likely she'll continue to explain that they are preemies.

Is there a time when the word preemie drops from the vocabulary we use to describe our DC? How long does it stay with them?

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#2 of 11 Old 09-21-2007, 11:55 AM
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In your situation, I wouldn't worry about mentioning his prematurity. It sounds like there's nothing odd about his size now and 5lbs isn't even that little for a newborn. I think once your kiddo doesn't look and act premature anymore, there's no reason to keep saying he was born premature.
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#3 of 11 Old 09-21-2007, 12:07 PM
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Both my little ones were 35 weekers and had pretty well caught up to their actual age by 2-3 months - and they're now 3.5 years and 7 months respectively. But, weirdly enough, I do find myself telling people pretty regularly that they were premature for one reason or another. Often, it is because they ask how much DC weighed at birth and I'm a bit defensive (I guess) about their weight (like I did something to make them weigh 5 pounds!).

If it seems relevant, then say so - no need to hide it unless YOU don't want to talk about it. But I don't introduce them as " DD, age 3.5, born at 35 weeks". The memory that time is probably really tough on your mom (no kidding!! : ) and she wants to just put it away - we all deal in our own way, but you're the mama.


Michelle, mama to Isabelle (03/04) and Tom (02/07)
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#4 of 11 Old 09-21-2007, 04:46 PM
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Here is a different side to it: We dont mention it because we know and have seen babies who were much better off than Maggie when born and are not doing as well. But MAggie is 19 mos old and has caught up at this point according to our Ped. So we say she WAS a preemie. Most people dont know she was so we dont talk about it.

But it has been my experience that I come across a child who was not as premature as MAggie and has a lot of struggles so I keep mum. But one time, another friend said- Well Maggie was 16 weeks premature. and 1 lb 12 oz.... Then the other mother feels like UA violate word and I feel the same because my baby is fine. I also hate when another family has a preemie and someone tells them about MAggie or another baby like this and assumes that their baby will be fine.

But your child is still young and you can say it all you want because of how far you have come. But you will want to leave it behind soon. But I am glad your baby is doing great.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#5 of 11 Old 09-22-2007, 04:22 PM
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i use the word preemie when people comment on how small he is for 9 weeks...i simply explain that he was only 3lbs 15oz when he was born so he has a little catching up to do.
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#6 of 11 Old 09-23-2007, 02:24 AM
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I can't speak for anyone else of course, but I guess I tell people because I'm still amazed (and relieved and grateful) at how far he has come. Five pounds the day I brought him home, twenty pounds now at 8 months. Just my two cents.
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#7 of 11 Old 09-23-2007, 09:51 PM
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I mention it often, mainly in relation to how skinny ds is (tall and lanky!) or his speech delay. I also mention it if they happen to see him with his shirt off (like at the beach) since he has a big surgery scar across his stomach. He's almost 2.5 now.

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#8 of 11 Old 09-24-2007, 03:23 AM
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I mention it often and my girls are 2.5 years and 9 months. I am just so proud of how far they have come and plus not too many people can say that they were a preemie (I was a 28 weeker) and had two preemies themselves!
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#9 of 11 Old 09-26-2007, 05:18 PM
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I don't go out of my way to shout to the world that my boys were preemies, but I don't neglect to mention it either. I mean, I don't "hide" it. It's just another part of who they are, yk?
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#10 of 11 Old 09-26-2007, 05:58 PM
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Well, my former 25 weeker is 25 months old now, and sometimes I STILL refer to her as a preemie. I try to avoid going on and on, but there are times (when people ask about her development, her size, her poor eating) that it just makes more sense to educate them about extreme preemies.

I don't want to label my child forever. But I don't want her to be ashamed of her beginning, either. (Just the opposite, in fact.)

So I think it's a good idea to temper yourself. But goodness, until a preemie is at least two years old, you will probably be discussing their early arrival every time you see your pediatrician...So why should you avoid mentioning it to your friends and family?

Just my take,
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#11 of 11 Old 09-26-2007, 06:01 PM
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I stopped using it in reference to them a few months ago, and they will be 2 in December. I do mention it when people ask about thier birth and thier weights and stuff...but they dont look like preemies, havent really acted like preemies, so I have stopped using the word as much as possible.
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