World's smallest baby who weighed 7½ ounces at birth leaves hospital

World’s smallest baby who weighed 7½ ounces at birth finally leaves hospital after more than a year in Singapore

  • Kwek Yu Xuan, described as a ‘little fighter’, was as heavy as an apple when she was delivered via emergency C-section in Singapore in June last year
  • Despite being born four months early, she has survived and was discharged after 13 months from Singapore’s National University hospital

The world’s smallest baby who weighed just 7.5 ounces (212 grams) at birth has finally left a hospital in Singapore after more than a year. 

Kwek Yu Xuan, described as a ‘little fighter’, was as heavy as an apple when she was delivered via emergency C-section at Singapore’s National University Hospital in June last year.

Despite her small size and being born four months premature, she has survived and was discharged from the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive care unit after 13 months with a weight of 6.3kg (13 pounds and 14 ounces).   

The hospital believes that she is the world’s lightest baby to have survived a premature birth. 

The previous record holder of the world’s lightest baby was a boy weighing 8.1 ounces (230 grams) born in Germany, according to the Tiniest Registry managed by the University of Iowa.

Kwek Yu Xuan, described as a ‘little fighter’, was as heavy as an apple when she was delivered via emergency C-section at Singapore’s National University Hospital in June last year

Despite her small size and being born four months premature, she has survived and was discharged from the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive care unit after 13 months with a weight of 6.3kg (13 pounds and 14 ounces). Pictured: Kwek Wee Liang (left) and Wong Mei Ling (right) with Yu Xuan when she was discharged from hospital

Her parents Kwek Wee Liang and Wong Mei Ling, both 35, looked relieved as they held Yu Xuan on July 9 as she was was discharged from the hospital.    

They had initially planned to deliver Yu Xuan in Malaysia, where their four-year-old son is, but Wong underwent a C-section after suffering from high blood pressure during her pregnancy.  

She underwent a C-section and remembers feeling sad that Yu Xuan was born so small. 

Wong told Singapore newspaper Straits Times: ‘I didn’t expect to give birth so quickly, and we were very sad that Yu Xuan was born so small. 

‘But due to my condition, we didn’t have a choice. We could just hope that she would continue to grow (and be healthy).’  

Zhang Suhe, an advanced practice nurse who looked after Yu Xuan, said she couldn’t believe her eyes when she was brought into the neonatal intensive care unit. 

She told the newspaper: ‘I was so shocked so I spoke to the professor [in the same department] and asked if he could believe it.

‘In my 22 years of being a nurse, I haven’t seen such a small newborn baby.’  

The hospital believes that she is the world’s lightest baby to have survived a premature birth

The National University hospital said babies born four months prematurely like Yu Xuan have a survival rate of about 70 per cent.  

The infant was placed on a ventilator to help her breathe as her lungs had not yet fully developed while her skin was so thin and fragile that doctors found it difficult to safely place probes on her so as to monitor her condition.     

Dr Yvonne Ng, a senior consultant at the neonatology department, said: ‘Her daily care was the main crux of the matter, especially for the first two weeks of life..

‘We needed to innovate and find some improvised methods to deal with a baby this small because this is the first time we experienced somebody this tiny.

‘She was so small that even the calculation for the medication had to be down to the decimal points. ‘

The infant was placed on a ventilator to help her breathe as her lungs had not yet fully developed while her skin was so thin and fragile that doctors found it difficult to safely place probes on her so as to monitor her condition

The normal-sized nappies covered Yu Xuan’s entire body, so the nurses decided to make their own after they were unable to supply some small enough.   

Miss Zhang said: ‘There are some chemicals in the diaper to absorb the baby’s urine, and this can’t come into direct contact with Yu Xuan’s skin. 

‘So we had to fold and seal the edges. These are the things we had to do for her, because caring for her skin is very, very important.’

And the hard work doesn’t stop now she has been discharged. Yu Xuan is differing from a chronic lung disease and her parents must place her on a ventilator at home to help her breathe. 

But she has the strength to turn by herself and is learning to feed from a bottle. 

Speaking of her gratitude to the nurses who looked after her and Yu Zuan, Wong said: ‘I have to thank the nurses for taking care of her for such a long time, they really took very good care of her. We were very happy that everyone could come for her discharge. The team is like family.’ 

The hospital bill reached around $200,000 but was paid for via a crowdfund which raised around $300,000. 

The additional $100,000 was split in half – one half for Yu Xuan’s future care and the other was returned to the crowdfunding platform of Give Asia to help other families. 

And the hard work doesn’t stop now she has been discharged. Yu Xuan is differing from a chronic lung disease and her parents must place her on a ventilator at home to help her breathe

The National University Hospital said in a statement posted on Facebook:  ‘Baby Yu Xuan was just 212gms – barely the weight of a large apple – when she was delivered via emergency C-section in June last year.

‘After 13 months in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, baby Yu Xuan was discharged home well. She is likely the world’s lightest baby to have survived a premature birth.’

‘We are happy for the little fighter and her family, and proud of the care provided by our team. Our best wishes to Little Yu Xuan as she continues to grow, thrive and beat the odds every day.’

‘It was a difficult journey for Yu Xuan and we greatly appreciate the concerted effort and benevolent support from our colleagues, donors as well as the larger community who have contributed to her survival and growth,’ Zubair Amin, the head and senior consultant at the hospital’s Department of Neonatology, told CNN. 

‘This was a team effort that embodies the spirit of care and compassion.’ 

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