Are Preemie Babies Fussier? A Pediatrician Explains

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Most pregnant moms prepare for a full-term pregnancy and imagine delivering a big, bouncing, baby (thanks TV), but preterm labor can throw preparations for a loop. Luckily, the advances in medicine have made it easier for premature babies to thrive, but moms who deliver early may find themselves preparing all over again for their preemie. They may end up with questions about their baby's temperament, too, especially if the baby cries more than expected. While all newborns are fussy at some point, are preemie babies fussier?

Despite the theories, a premature baby doesn’t always equal a fussy baby. Romper spoke with pediatrician Dr. Jarret Patton, and he says that fussy infants come in all shapes and sizes, and many times fussiness is based on a baby's temperament. But it’s not fair to compare them to a full-term baby. “A premature infants' growth and development is behind their chronological peers because of their prematurity," he explains.

Your baby’s fussiness may also depend on how well they are doing health wise. Patton says that aside from temperament, your baby’s development and health status can also impact how fussy they are. “Infants that are premature and medically fragile may have more pain or irritability than others as they heal and grow."

Even adults can get fussy when they are uncomfortable, so the same should be noted for babies. Getting used to an IV or beeping noises in the NICU can be irritating for anyone, including a baby, and it may take some time to adjust. Conversely, when your baby gets used to the noise, Baby Center explained, the silence may bother them once they're home.

All babies are amazing little miracles, especially preemies. Just understanding what they are going through, along with your love and patience, will help get them through any fussy stages and on to happier, calmer days. (Wine can help, too.)

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries: