His mother Stephanie, 33, read it to him, punctuated by the beeps of the machines keeping him alive, before she was even allowed to hold him.

But unlike Pan, Finnley – born almost four months premature , weighing 1lb 10oz – is battling to grow up.

“He’s a fighter. He is fighting right here on my chest,” Stephanie says. “He is the strongest person I’ve ever met in my life.

“I know he’ll come home with me. I have to stay positive. We’ve seen lots of babies go home from here. That can be us.”

Stephanie Conway with her son Finnley (Photo: Tim Anderson)

Finnley is proof of the enormous strides being made in the treatment of premature babies.

The survival rate for those born at 22 to 25 weeks has risen by 13% thanks to better technology and care.

And figures last week showed the number of babies who survive birth at 23 weeks has hit a record one in three.

Finnley is in the neonatal intensive care unit for premature babies at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in West London.

The hospital’s consultant neonatologist Dr Jay Banerjee tells me that here, babies of Finnley’s size generally have a 80-90% chance of surviving now, thanks to the expert care they receive.

“We have a very, very good record,” he says. “We might lose a baby once every two months on average. That is terribly hard. We have two full-time psychologists here, for parents but also for staff. But many babies survive here.”

Finnley was born on March 26, Mother’s Day , at just 24 weeks and six days. He now weighs 2lb 1oz and is 14in long.

His official due date was July 11. Today, Stephanie holds him for the third time in his life and dresses him in a doll-size babygro for the first time.

Stephanie shares a touching moment with Finnley in his incubator (Photo: Tim Anderson)

Finnley is finally stable enough to be wriggled into clothes, but he is still so fragile this must be done inside his incubator.

All the time, he is connected to an oxygen tube and wired to equipment measuring his heart rate, the oxygen saturation in his blood and respiratory rate. If the numbers go above or below normal parameters, which happens frequently, there are loud beeps.

Generally they return to normal immediately, dipping or rising due to Finnley squirming. Stephanie has sat here with her son every day for four weeks, but still finds it unnerving.

In this darkened ward, with 26 neo­­natal beds, the beeping is const­­ant.

It is a rare glimpse inside a premature baby ward. Babies here have zero immunity so few people, except staff and parents, are usually allowed in.

Ene Constantine with her son Dan (Photo: Tim Anderson)

Finnley is wrapped to halfway up his chest in the smallest nappy on the UK market currently, for 2lb 3oz babies. On Finnley, it is ridiculously bulky.

One in 11 babies are born prematurely. Now, Pampers has designed three smaller sizes and will supply seven hospitals with them this week.

Along the ward, baby Dan Spatariu is also gett­ing one. He, too, was also born at 24 weeks and six days, on April 4. At 1lb 12oz, he is doing well.

Mum Ene Mihaela, 29, from Harrow, North Lond­on, says changing his nappy is precious. She adds: “When I do that, I can be part of his life.”

Facilities here are especially good. Elsewhere in the country the survival rate is more like 50-60% for a baby like Finnley, Dr Banerjee says. But premature babies face improving prospects.

Dr Jay Banerjee, consultant neonatologist at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital (Photo: Tim Anderson)

As we speak, Finnley’s monitor flashes. Dr Banerjee alerts a nurse. “At that size babies have such a small airway, if they just flex their neck they can affect things,” he says. Finnley still has a long way to go.

Stephanie, a project manager from Bromley, Kent, was at church when she felt pains. “I had a fantastic pregnancy , I wasn’t expecting anything to go wrong,” she says.

She and husband Martin, 32, do not know the cause of the early birth. Often, none is found. When Stephanie got to her local hospital she was told she was in labour, and gave birth two hours later by emergency caesarean.

Finnley was then transferred to Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea, but developed a bleed on the brain. “He was on the maximum level of support,” says Stephanie. The next time she saw her baby boy, he was on a ventilator.

Dr Banerjee says: “He was a very sick little boy in the first 72 hours.” After that time Finnley was still critical but stable. His parents could hold his hand through the incubator.

Finally, on day 18, Stephanie was allowed to hold her son. “They say it’s good for the babies, but it’s amazing for the mothers as well,” she says. An infection almost forced Finnley back on a ventilator last week. His life is clearly still walking a tightrope, but the swelling on his brain is shrinking. Dr Banerjee is cautious but positive.