Warning: I am totally sleep-deprived, so this may be rambling and not make much sense! Please bear with me!
My new LO is 6 weeks now, and we're still doing the pump and bottle. I want to make the jump back to EBF, but I'm still pretty nervous about it.
The background: born at 37w5d with vasa previa and IUGR (didn't figure out why) at 4 pounds 14 ounces. She had pretty decent latch and suck in the hospital, with LC nurses pretty much doing all the work for me at every nursing, LOL! Started pumping in the hospital though because of a low blood sugar reading and we supplemented with formula for about a week until my milk was really in good.
Have been pumping and bottle feeding breastmilk since then, with some attempts at nursing again. We use scales here at home, and she only gets about 20 mL per nursing, and that take her like 10 minutes of pretty hard effort, and then she's totally asleep. For comparison, 30 mL is about 1 ounce, so she's getting less than 1 ounce in 10 minutes of effort. I also have a very hard time telling if she's really doing the suck, swallow thing. It's definitely not vigorous nursing, that's for sure.
With the bottle she takes about 80-100 mL per feeding, so there is a huge gap there to make up for. For the last 2 weeks I have pretty much just done the bottle and pump. And my pumpings are not nearly as frequent as they should be, so I am worried about supply issues, too. With the new baby, and a 1-yr-old and a 3-yr-old, I am really feeling the fatigue and stress, and more often then not, it's either pump while baby screams, or delay the pumping (which then usually doesn't happen until next feeding, if then). And at night, I have not been pumping, so that is really not good either.
I really want to just get us on track, but her latch is so shallow and she's getting so little for so much effort. She has finally hit 6 pounds, and seems to be gaining slowly but steadily.
I'm debating just jumping to nursing only during the day, and hoping that she gets the picture and really starts to nurse good. I guess this would assume that she's just been lazy so far, which may or may not be the case. I did have an LC come out to the house and she says that LO definitely can take a deeper latch, that she just isn't, but there's no physical problem, just little and sleepy, etc. We tried a nipple shield, and LO got 40 mL at that feeding, but it took a lot of work, and I haven't been able to really make much happen with it since then (nor have I tried much, to be honest).
Will she be able to go from less than an ounce per nursing session to over 3 ounces quickly enough to not lose weight? Will I be nursing all day long (not a good plan with the toddlers and no one to help me). Have I already totally screwed my long-term milk supply?
My other little girl was a preemie and had nursing issues but were MUCH, MUCH further along in the process by 6 weeks - totally back on breast I think. My 1-yr-old little boy ended up being a bottle baby, which was beyond horrible, and I have massive guilt over it. I just can't allow that to happen again, but I don't seem to be able to force myself to make the nursing, bottle-feed, and pump happen at every feeding. It's been a huge struggle just to get her to gain 1 pound over the last 6 weeks! The lack of sleep is slaying me, and I feel bad when I don't drag out of bed to pump at night, knowing it's hurting my supply, but my flesh is weak!
So, as rambling as this post probably is, I think I got a few questions put in here. Basically, can I and should I dump the bottle during the day? I know if I do I should still do a clean-up pumping after each feeding right? How do you get all this done with other toddlers around? How do you get the pumping done if baby is fussy after feedings? I have apparently trained my new LO to expect to be held or snuggled while she sleeps now, so that is not helping, LOL! How soon can I lose the pump? It feels like I need it and hate it at the same time. I'm terrified of losing my supply in another month or two - that's what happened with ds. No amount of fenugreek or pumping at that point would bring it back. How do I make sure I'm not headed for that again? Hubby is working 12-hour days, 6 days a week, and we just moved to a new town, so I am pretty much on my own for all of this.
Thank you so much in advance for any help, advice, kick-in-the-rear, anything!! I'm not really very coherent lately and I don't want to screw things up, and I really want to get on to a normal breastfeeding life!!