The record holder for the world’s smallest baby boy was born in Japan, weighing just 268g (9.45oz). When the baby failed to gain weight during the pregnancy doctors feared he would not survive and delivered him by emergency C-section at just 24 weeks.
Born in August, the unnamed boy spent more than five months developing in the intensive care ward. When he was finally released from Tokyo’s Keio University Hospital, two months after his due date, he had grown to a weight of 3.2kg, and is now feeding normally.
“I can only say I’m happy that he has grown this big because honestly, I wasn’t sure he could survive,” the boy’s mother said, according to Reuters.
Doctor Takeshi Arimitsu, who was in charge of the boy’s treatment, told the BBC he was the smallest infant born to be discharged from a hospital, according to a database of the world’s littlest babies held by the University of Iowa.
He said he wanted to show that “there is a possibility that babies will be able to leave the hospital in good health, even though they are born small”.
Keio University Hospital noted that the survival rate of infants born under one kilogram is around 90%. For babies born under 300 grams, the rate drops to 50%. Had it not been for modern medicine and the diligence of hospital staff, the boy never would have survived. This rate is lower for boys than girls.
The previously recorded smallest baby was a boy born in Germany, weighing 274 grams. The smallest surviving baby girl in that same database was also born in Germany, in 2015, and reportedly weighed 252 grams.