The world's smallest baby, who weighed "the same as a large onion" at birth, was released to go home from a hospital in Japan last week after five months of intensive treatment, Christian Headlines reported. The tiny baby boy was born at 24 weeks by emergency C-section in Keio University Hospital. He weighed 9.5 ounces (268 grams) and was small enough to be cradled in a pair of cupped hands.
Hospital staff worked around the clock to look after the baby, monitoring his cardiorespiratory system and providing nutritional care, and eventually he was able to drink milk on his own, the hospital said. After nearly half a year, the baby boy was discharged without any serious complications and weighing a healthier 7.2 pounds.
The tiniest baby boy ever recorded to survive after birth is a German boy who weighed 9.6 ounces, according to USA Today.
"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 unnamed mother said, according to the BBC. Doctor Takeshi Arimitsu, who treated the baby, told the news outlet 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".
The case highlights remarkable advances in neonatal medicine but, while there has been a dramatic increase in survival rates among low birth weight babies weighing less than 1,000 grams, the survival rate for newborns weighing less than 300 grams is still low, Keio University Hospital noted.