I should preface this by saying I'm not a lact. consultant and I don't have a premie but I just wanted to offer some support.
I think you may be onto something with the latch. I know that the suck is quite different for a bottle vs. the breast. i've heard it said that it is harder work for a little one to breastfeed but once they're used to it it goes quickly.
This is random but what kind of diapers are you using? It's probably nothing but I used Tushies for my baby's first 2 months to be able to tell exactly when he was wet. You may be using cloth anyway and can tell even better but I know it may be hard sometimes to tell in the really absorbent disposables how much they're exrecting. Again, it may be a completely random thought but something to think about.
I wish I could help more. I saw that noone had responded to I wanted to at least say something. Let us know how it goes.
Call your local La Leche League leader. I was a little sceptical about LLL at first but they were the _biggest_ help to me in being successful at bf'ing and hey, they're free .
You can find a link to your local leader at www.lalecheleague.org. Just go under USA then on the left side is a link to find a local group. THey have leaders names listed and their phone #s. I guess i'm assuming that you haven't done this but they have some techniques to help the baby overcome latching problems etc. and all their information should come out of a massive size handbook which they can look up specific problems. I will say that I ran into one leader that seemed a little clueless in one location so I called another location and she was wonderful. Also just attending the meetings I got soo much helpful information from just other ladies who had gone through what I had. We just moved or I would ask my friend who just had twins (one of whom was 3lbs.) what she's doing. I lost her phone #.
Let me know how it goes.
This is no substitute for having someone help you ensure your baby is latching correctly in person, but here's a handout on latching to take a look at:
Here's how to tell if baby is getting milk:
And trouble-shooting refusal to latch:
It really sounds to me like your baby is not latching correctly. I had big problems with my baby's latch that were not helped by his developing a preference for the bottle. This is something that can be overcome, but you really need expert assistance! And the sooner, the better.
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An sns is about $40, I think and well worth the money. I got mine on ebay, still sealed, for about $25.
hopes this makes sense, nak