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my child was born 4 weeks early.

Do I consider her to be 4 month old (counting age since birth), or 3 month old (regarding age-related advice, facts in books and such) ?

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When it comes to developmental stages you should compare her to a 3 month old child. She doesn't develop faster just because she was born earlier. –  Katja Hahn May 25 at 18:56
    
I know this wasn't specifically asked, but I would also be careful as she gets older with age cutoffs for school. If she just barely makes the cutoff I would seriously consider waiting and starting a year later –  Kevin May 27 at 14:35
    
Anecdata: my son was 4 weeks early too. He measured at the age-at-due-date stages until about a year, and then it all went out the window and now he's developmentally in line with the rest of his peers. Every child is different, but most catch up fairly early on. –  Valkyrie May 27 at 14:40
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

My son was born 3 weeks early, just on the line for being considered a premature birth. According to some measures, he was "behind" developmentally early on.

I'd say that you should evaluate what you read based on your direct experience with your child. Most books provide ranges for development in any case. If your question could be restated as "Should I worry if my premature child is not hitting benchmarks based on her birth age?", the answer is an emphatic "No." Regarding advice on what to do at certain ages, seek out advice that focuses less on calendar dates and more on developmental milestones already reached.

Remember, too, that the period when this month's difference will comprise a significant percentage of your child's life is short.

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