34-37 Weeks Gestation

What You Can Expect

Babies of this age are called late preterm. Although these babies look very much like full-term babies, they are still premature and different in many ways.

Your baby’s systems are nearly fully developed. He may need help breathing for a short time. Your baby is tolerating more touch. He is more active now; movements are becoming smooth and controlled. By 36 weeks, the bones are now completely hardened and muscle tone is getting better. By 37 weeks, your baby has the ability to keep his arms close to his body in a tucked position most of the time.

Your baby is old enough to keep his own temperature, may be in an open crib or may need an incubator for a short time. Your baby still needs plenty of sleep to grow and gain weight. At this age, your baby will begin to wake more often and when he is hungry.

Late preterm baby

At 34 weeks, your baby is learning to eat from a breast or bottle but needs a lot of patience as he practices how to suck, swallow, and breath at the same time and may still need to be fed through a tube. Your baby may not have enough energy or strength to breast or bottle-feed well, learning how to eat will take some time. Learning to eat, keeping up his temperature, and gaining weight are all milestones that can take the longest for your baby to master.

Your baby is using all five senses to learn about his environment. Eyesight is still developing though he will show interest in faces and exploring the environment. He can look at items at about 8-10 inches away. Your baby can tolerate a bunch of different sounds and may start to be more social.

Things You Can Do For Your Baby

  • Continue to do the things from 30-34 weeks gestation.
  • Let your baby rest so he can grow and gain weight. Care and play should be done when your baby is awake.
  • Place your baby on his back to sleep.
  • Late preterm baby
  • Talk to your baby before touching.
  • Let him hold onto your finger.
  • Use dim light. Shield his eyes from bright light.
  • Talk, read or sing to your baby in a soft voice.
  • Offer a pacifier during tube feedings and to calm.
  • Breastfeeding or suckling at the breast is supported as soon as your baby can eat by mouth.
  • When feeding your baby by bottle, hold the nipple still and don’t move it.
  • Move your baby slowly and gently when changing his diaper or taking a temperature.
  • You may be able to help bathe your baby, check with your nurse.
  • Your baby may be able to wear clothes so you can bring in a few outfits.
  • Buy or bring in your baby’s car seat.
  • Pick out your baby’s pediatrician.