I'm hoping to get some advice from the experienced breastfeeders around here.
My son was only breastfed for a week.
During my pregnancy I was very determined to breastfeed. I have one extremely flat nipple, and the other one is actually inverted. I didn't realise in advance that this would be a problem. The breastfeeding class I took never really mentioned the shape of nipples. Prior to giving birth none of the midwives who did my follow-up ever bothered to look at my breasts.
I had my son in a baby-friendly hospital, so we had immediate skin-to-skin. A midwive helped latch, but there just wasn't enough nipple for him to get a proper latch on. He tried for some time and then he just gave up. Even with silicone nipple shields, and with the help of several lactation consultants, we never got him to latch on.
After the first day, I started pumping every 3 hours around the clock. I kept this up for a week, along with trying to latch him. He never latched, and I never managed to get more than an ounce or so per 30 min pumping session. After that week, my son was severely dehydrated and losing weight fast, so there was no other solution than to give him formula. My supply never improved beyond those tiny amounts in spite of intensive pumping. It was impossible to spend over 4 hours daily attached to a pump unable to hold my baby after my husband went back to work and left me home alone, so I had to quit. I feel horrible about it all.
The root of the problem as I see it, is that I cant establish a latch due to my flat/inverted nipples. Because the baby never actually drinks from my breast, my milk never comes in properly (I never experienced letdown). All that pumping hasn't made any change to the shape of my nipples so I'm afraid I'm stuck with them.
Is there a way to avoid this with my next child or is breastfeeding a lost cause for me?