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Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Do premature infants tend to have a different outlook on life than full term infants?

Asked by Adirondackwannabe (36523points) November 15th, 2012

I have two nephews under 24 months. One was born premature and tiny, less than two pounds. He has good physical skills but he is so serious all the time. It takes a lot of work just to get him to smile or show any humor. He’s not angry or displaying any other signs of bad behavior. His parents work with him all the time to get any smile or laughs out of him. My other nephew is as happy as could be. I’m just curious if the premature infant’s early experiences stay with him? He went through a lot of rough experiences. Any thoughts?

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8 Answers

psyonicpanda's avatar

I have a set of twins a boy and a girl that were born Premature (2.5 lbs for her and 2.6 lbs for him) and had to spend one had to spend 5 weeks in the NICU and the other 11 as they grew we noticed that My lil boy was much more of a hassle he always fought and screamed an whined while his sister always acted as happy as can be. Premature birth does come with its own variation of child developement that is on a case by case basis and my little boy has been through alot more then his sister and has had quite a few more complications. Now they are 13 months and He is still a grumpy whinny baby while his sister turned out to be a bully in her own sense. So I would just chalk it up the the childs personality give them time to grow into themselves because Im sure that no matter what they have been through Its would not change the personality of the child.

Cupcake's avatar


Here are a few studies that showed personality differences between premature infants and full-term infants.

FWIW I was quite premature for my time and I have always been very serious. I also have some sensory issues and I wonder if they are related to my prematurity/NICU stay.

JLeslie's avatar

I have never heard of this before. Very interesting. My husband was premie, he weighed 2 kilos, born at 7 months. He was always a very hard working focused child, but also fully enjoyed his childhood, laughed, played. He is the same as an adult.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JLeslie They display the exact same behaviors, except one is always smiling and laughing and the other is serious. No smiles, no laughs. Everything goes in the mouth, they don’t cry at all unless they’re hungry, and they’re both incredibly curious about everything. But one laughs and the other hardly smiles.

JLeslie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I would have just chalked it up to personality, but it will be interesting to see if more people on the Q say the premies they know didn’t smile. I don’t know if my husband did not smile much as a child say compared to his siblings? He is a very work before pleasure type, willing to do what it takes to accomplish something and put off things he prefers to do in the moment. Photos of me as a baby and youngster I am smiling in almost every single photo interestingly, and not so for my husband. But, I am not sure if boys are less likely to smile also? As an adult my husband smiles quite a bit, and certainly laughs a lot. Men smile less than women generally, but he often gets compliments on his smile.

JLeslie's avatar

Maybe the premies who make it have those personalities and that is why they survived? Kind of like the theory that the Jewish people are a successful group because those who survived the holocaust and the pogroms, and whatever other horrific circumstances we have been through in history meant our weaker members died off. I’m not saying that I believe that, but there is a theory about it.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JLeslie That’s an interesting theory. He started with 50 50 odds on him making it, it might help to be serious and determined. Cupcake had some interesting studies that find something similar.

Argonon's avatar

Interesting. My older brother was born premature and he turned out to be the only emotional and social kid in the family. He always felt like an outcast because he was so different from the rest of the family. He does, however, get along much better in society as the rest of us kids turned out to be recluses.

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