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Full Term Babies Premature?

My daughter was born via c-section at just over 38 weeks.  Even though that is considered to be full term by medical standards, it turns out that babies born between 37 and 40 weeks can still act premature.  With all of the concerns around getting her delivered, it never occurred to me that we would still have a battle to face after she was born.  After we had trouble getting her to gain weight, the lactation consultant I spoke with told me that there are some babies who, despite being considered full term, will be “content to starve” and not nurse properly.

While they seem to nurse like they should, they will nurse only enough to take the edge off their hunger, and then they will go back to sleep.  So in Rosalie’s case, she was nursing regularly but not getting enough because she wasn’t sucking vigorously for long enough.

This experience has really opened my eyes to how different a baby born at 38 weeks will be compared to one born at 40 weeks.  It certainly would make me think twice before trying to induce early or have an elective c-section before 40 weeks, because evidently at 37 weeks, babies are still not necessarily out of danger.

So if your baby has been delivered earlier than 40 weeks, pay close attention to their activity and eating habits to make sure they are coping well with coming into the world sooner.  Dealing with a baby who isn’t eating right is a scary ordeal.