Rewards Will Follow
Kimberly A. Hofflitz
Hamburg NY USA
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 18 No. 1, January-February 2001, p. 12-13
When I gave birth to my first child, Emma Kate, I was young and overwhelmed. I had no idea what to expect from my newborn daughter and no conception of what was in store for me. She was the most beautiful baby that I had ever seen and was a joy to have around, but she had colic.
For the first three months of her life, she would cry almost nonstop until 11 o'clock at night. She could flourish on very little sleep while I, on the other hand, needed a great deal of sleep to recover from her hourly feedings during the night. Emma Kate had a high-need personality from the start. She was also a very alert baby who has turned into an observant, highly intelligent child. Our daughter talked at an early age and was able to converse with us by the age of two.
I became a La Leche League leader when Emma was nearly three and I was eight months pregnant with our second child. I knew I could have another colicky baby, but I'd hoped and prayed that I would not. I did feel more prepared and better equipped to handle a colicky baby because I had experienced it already.
Juliet was born fourteen months ago after a six-hour, drug-free labor. She had problems latching on when she began breastfeeding in the hospital, but I quickly taught her how to stretch her tongue out and latch on properly. Juliet was also colicky like her sister, hated going places in the car, and generally seemed more temperamental than her sister had been. She gained weight quickly on her breast milk diet and reached twenty pounds by six months! We were comforted by knowing that she wouldn't cry forever, and, as expected, by three to four months of age she had become a cuddly, happy baby. She still needed to sleep close to me, but she loved her big sister and could now be entertained by watching Emma play or by sitting in her swing.
Now that I've mothered two babies with colic, I can see that their needs were very different. My first daughter wanted to nurse constantly-sometimes every hour. My second child was not comforted by frequent nursing, although she gained weight easily. It seemed as if she would hardly nurse at all. She would arch her back and refuse if I tried to nurse her to stop her from crying. She spit up a lot until I realized that I had an overactive let-down. I made so much milk that she would choke when it finally let down. By the time she was six weeks old, she regulated my milk supply by nursing on only one side at a time with two hours between feedings, gradually reducing my milk supply to a level that was comfortable for both of us.
Juliet is now a healthy, bright toddler who enjoys saying "Hi" to everyone she sees. Emma is a very smart, independent four-year-old who enjoys acting like a little mommy to her baby sister. She watches out for her little sister—when she isn't fighting over which toys to share with her!
I hope other mothers will be encouraged to know that rewards do come despite tough beginnings. The days of crying inconsolably pass quickly when you took at the big picture. Think of the enjoyment that will come when your baby blossoms into a smiling, social being. The hard times will end.
They did for us and we now derive great joy from our two beautiful daughters.