this thread has given me back a sense of "rightness" in a very dark time.
After months of reading a billion blogs and forums, this was the first time I felt like it would not only be "ok" to write something, but also something i HAD to do. Thank you so much for starting this support group, Laurel.
So many of your stories resonated with me.
My short story is this-- my son was born 2.5 weeks early-- quite healthy and strong, but with meconium and fluid in his lungs which required him to have a catheter for suction after birth. Despite being placed on my chest right away, and rooming in, including no pacifiers and bottles in our birthplan and a half a dozen LCs and nurses trying to "help" he never latched in the hospital. The speculations ranged from Sore throat from the catheter to "born before his suck reflex developed". One LC at the hospital tried to pry his mouth open by forcing his chin down... of course my brilliant stubborn baby kept his mouth clamped shut. From day 2 he has SCREAMED whenever he was put to breast. He's maybe "latched" (and who knows if it was ever entirely successful) a dozen times in his 11weeks of life. I started pumping in the hospital, did everything I could to drip colostrum on his lips because he refused to open his mouth. His blood sugar started dropping and they allowed me to wait an additional day bc I was SO hell bent on breastfeeding him, but my milk wasnt coming in, the pump was only producing tiny droplets and his life was in danger. They started him on formula, via SNS. We went home with a syringe and my husband would finger feed him and i would put the tube on my nipple to "trick" him... he would never open his mouth wide enough to latch... though he was again brilliant (and stubborn) enough to just lick the drops of formula coming out of the tube!
I pumped every 2 hours from day 2 onward. In the beginning I could get about 2.5oz at a time and we only needed to supplement a half ounce or so, if that. I was taking Fenugreek & Blessed Thistle, drinking the tea, staying hydrated etc. I continued to see LCs & each one continued to seem "baffled" at why he wouldn't latch. He isnt tonuge tied. They'd simply keep shoving his face on my boob and he'd scream and flail and arch his back and kick off with his legs. Very early on id noticed that his eyes would go buggy if he even SAW my breast. i tried "re-birthing" him in the tub & while it was a lovely bonding experience (and we still take baths together to this day) it didnt "teach" him anything... he wriggled up my chest and flopped his head down... but as soon as i lifted my breast he started freaking out. Not one person I've ever gone to see for help (and ive seen about a dozen) has been able to help. The most they can tell me is to keep trying & eventually he'll get it. But in the meantime, he seems completely traumatized by the very idea of BFing.
We've used 5 different kinds of nipples for his bottles, have tried delaying the flow to simulate breastfeeding, limited his paci use (which we only gave him to begin w bc an LC told us that he didnt know how to suck and that would teach him)> He DOES have reflux, but its not that that keeps him from BFing, bc he will take a bottle in any position, but wont BF even completely upright in a wrap or weightless in the bathtub.
I've pumped and pumped and pumped--- and if i did anything "wrong" it was not renting the "hospital grade" pump to begin with... but i was doing just fine with my playtex double embrace and the avent isis manual... in fact i get MORE milk with the manual. I managed to stock pile a freezer stash of a whopping 6oz.
eventually, he was a formula baby with BM supplement.
This was NOT what I had planned. I am an AP, we co-sleep, i wear him kangaroo, he was born natural w/ no meds, i did prenatal yoga, i took the classes... i bought a boppy for goodness sake!
So, by week 6 i got my period and there went my supply. I've been pumping and taking herbs like crazy for the past 5 weeks to try to up my supply. I dont mind being an exclusive pumper, but the supply is nil. i went back to the hospital & shelled out more money we dont have to rent the medela symphony. went home thinking "imma pump like hell & get a freezer stash until we can figure out his nursing issues!"... 3 days later i'd pumped a full ounce. after a week i went back thinking the suctiion was weak.... the first thing that b***ch says to me is "well, did you plug it in?"
its no wonder so many ppl stop trying to BF. there is such a lack of compassion out there for women who genuinely DO want to do this and cant. I would never choose to be up all night with a machine attached to me instead of my son, or frantically trying to mix powder & water while hes screaming if i could just lift my shirt. i wouldnt be drinking entire boxes of tea and downing capsule after capsule of herbs if i didnt HAVE TO.
our last LC appointment ended with the woman saying i'd made my son lazy (hes 2.5 months old... hes not lazy, hes a baby) and hed never breastfeed if i kept "giving into his cries" (this person is also a doula... nice). its also apparently my fault i cant get more when i pump and i "must be doing SOMETHING wrong". i refuse to take Reglan and im afraid to shell out the big bucks for Dom in case it doesnt work for me. she also told me i needed to stop stressing about it. thanks. i'll try.
so now im wondering if he'll ever learn to nurse (and what is keeping him from it in the first place) if i cant get my supply up... and i cant get my supply up if he wont suck, since the pump doesnt work for me.
deep breath. thanks for letting me vent without judgement.
big hugs to you all.
(and if anyone has any ideas here, id love to hear them!)