I have a six-day-old newborn who is really struggling with breastfeeding. He starts crying when I offer the breast, and screams and fights me if I try to get him to latch. We're otherwise bonding well, but this is heartbreaking.
We got good latch within a few hours of birth, although he'd only suck a few times before popping off - that continued through the afternoon and evening. The next day he got to the point where he'd nurse for 5 - 10 minutes at a time, but on day 2 he'd latch, suck a little, pop off, and actively fight me when I tried to re-latch. I started suspecting supply issues at that point - my milk wasn't in and I'd gone from being able to hand-express a little colostrum to getting NOTHING, and when I'd try to nurse him he'd scream, arch his back, kick, and push me away forcefully. By the morning of day 3 he was screaming with hunger and starting to show signs of dehydration, so we started supplementing with formula in a low-flow bottle. On day 4 we got an SNS, which he refused to use on the breast but happily took on a finger. Day 5 (yesterday) saw my milk start to come in, but he still refused to latch and would become violently upset if I'd try, even if there was milk on the nipple. We continued using the SNS and started adding in breastmilk, and as of that evening I was able to pump enough to feed him breastmilk exclusively overnight and this morning.
Last night he was willing to root at my breasts and lick a little milk off the nipples when I was leaking, but if I'd try to get him to latch he'd scream and fight. We've talked to multiple LCs as well as an LLL leader, and they all say he CAN latch just fine. The LC I saw last night when I rented a hospital pump was able to get him to latch and nurse, but only by holding his head very firmly and basically forcing him onto the breast while he cried, which goes against my parenting beliefs and makes me cringe to try on my own. He DID nurse when she did that, and we managed it once when we got home, but he fights it so much that I don't think I can bring myself to continue doing it, especially as I just read an article on kellymom that advises against using any sort of force.
So here we are on day 6. My supply is building, I think I'll be able to feed him expressed breastmilk more or less exclusively from here on out, but I REALLY want him to nurse. The SNS is great, but it's a lot of work to set up (especially at night when I'm trying really hard to keep feedings low-key so he'll go back to sleep) and I'd rather be spending time with him than pumping.
Today we're going to crank up the heat in our bedroom, strip us both to the waist, and spend the day doing skin-to-skin bonding. I'm encouraged by the fact that last night he rooted quite a bit and was insistent on sleeping with his head smooshed into my breasts. I'm going to try the suggestions here: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/baby/back-to-breast.html for encouraging him to seek out the breast.
As far as we can tell he's not tongue-tied, he hasn't shown signs of reflux since his first morning home, I had only minimal drugs (low doses of Nubain) during labor and his delivery was uncomplicated and he was immediately brought to the breast after birth - he never left my sight while we were in the hospital. He's full-term, born at 39w2d, and weighed 9lbs 9oz when he was born.
Thoughts? Advice? Anything I'm missing?