A summary of my issues until now:
DS born one week early, wound up in NICU due to breathing issues, no pain meds on my part, just some pitocin during pushing stage and penicillin for GBS. Breastfeeding never got off to a good start, had tremendous difficulty latching, did pump while LO was in NICU, NICU introduced bottles and formula, my supply was pathetic (less than a quarter ounce per pumping.) I used nipple shields because of the latch issues plus pain issues that I didn't learn until much later was due to a nasty thrush infection, which also compromised our bf relationship and probably hindered my supply issues. Not to mention I'm normally high strung, so the added stress of all this I'm sure did not help (plus the constant barrage of family members not giving a whole hell of a lot of privacy during this time.) And on top of it, I foolishly chose to keep my business open (computer repair) during this time and so had that added stress on top of all this (big mistake, I know, I temporarily shut down as of December because I snapped.) I could never catch up to his eating voracity and so was never able to wean off formula.
He's now almost 4 months. As of a few weeks ago, he started drooling and chewing so I'm guessing he's in the beginning of teething stage. I also got an intestinal bug, was taking B vitamins (for vasospasms) for a week that I later learned had parsley powder, and the foul tasting tea from the chinese herbal medicine prescriber had run out and the replacement was delayed for a week. Oh yeah, and I had a hint of my period returning (barely any discharge, but had the distinctive smell.) Sometime during all this, DS started popping on and off the breast after suckling for only a minute or two. I know my supply is low, and I know the flow is low (though if I squeeze the nipples, I can get a spray out of one or two ducts, which I never got in the early weeks.) In fact, after I got a scale, I found that he's mostly getting about a half ounce or less per feeding, and if I'm lucky, he maybe gets an ounce and a half after sleeping for 5 hours.
In any case, I'm not sure what the popping on and off thing is about, but my supply keeps dwindling by the day it seems (which is really bad considering how low it is!) The thrush returned (though not as bad as before) so I'm treating myself for that. So is it the thrush? Teething? Just that stage? Too little milk? Too slow flow? Too much spray from the pathetic amount that's actually in there?
What I do know is that it's really agitating the very small breastfeeding relationship we do have. All the popping on and off is making me sore (and probably reintroduced the thrush which I'm prone to anyway.) He's getting agitated and we both wind up frustrated, especially as the day wears on or if he's trying to nurse to sleep and runs out and then gets mad. Don't get me started on overnight. I was happy when I knew I could just bf him through the night and start formula in the morning, no added work. Well that's now getting complicated because of all this.
I can't even say that I'm missing out on some bonding experience. Breastfeeding has all been about his nutrition needs and comfort needs, and I guess some added hormonal features for myself, but I think we bond better when playing or sleeping, or even changing his diaper. Breastfeeding did nothing but hurt for the first 3 months, and then for a for almost a month it didn't hurt, and now the thrush is back. Now my husband has strep and will probably give it to me, which I used to treat with sage tea but UH OH! Can't do that now, which means I'll probably have to do antibiotics and well, we can just go right back to that stinking thrush issue.
Breastfeeding has been nothing but uncomfortable from the start. Not to mention all the stuff trying to build my supply and all the money I've spent on lactation consulting, supplies (like the Lact-Aid, which I stopped using because the formula running across my nipple was causing irritation, either vasospasms due to the temperature change, or I don't know, but I couldn't wait to get him off and would often finish with a bottle because it was so irritating,) acupuncture, and the various foul tasting herbs and supplements I've been using. Acupuncture was no picnic either, and even though it got me up to an ounce in the middle of the day, the supply started dying off anyway. My lactation consultant said that even if I were to try something like reglan, it would at best double my supply, and what the hell good is that then? I can't even afford the domperidone if I wanted to because I had to take a leave from the business and now we're short on money.
I do it for him, so he can have at least a little something. And I don't want to give it up because I know he enjoys it and it's beneficial for both of us, but Oh My God am I so frustrated by it all. I can't sit back and enjoy even the little bit we have together now since the whole popping on and off started and the thrush restarted. It's like I have some sort of anti-breastfeeding fairy zapping me in the butt every ten seconds just to make sure I just crack and give up. And you know part of the reason I haven't totally given up (besides knowing I'm doing it for him) is I don't want to face the smugness of those around me who I think wanted me to fail from the start and the others that never did it and just want me to stop bothering already so I can leave my baby with them for hours and go out and do something (my husband and I have been together for 17 years and married for 12 before this little guy was born, really, 4 months away from things we've done a hundred times already is not high on my list.) That and I'm sick of those that never had a problem telling me how it's supposed to be done, and if i attempt to explain my history with it, they just point out everything that was done wrong. Doesn't really help me now, does it? Yes, I got a lot of bad advice and before I got some good, it may have already been too late.
All I wanted to do was exclusively breastfeed him. I refused pain meds during 30 hours of back labor so I wouldn't compromise anything that could affect breastfeeding, and the very thing I tried to avoid is the exact thing that happened. It's so aggravating, and it isn't fair, and I feel like I've been pounding my fists against a brick wall trying to break it down. Yeah, I know life isn't fair. Believe me, if I hadn't learned that by the time I was 4 I haven't learned anything. But it just really sucks to fight so hard for something and to watch it daily pouring down the tubes.
Anyway, I don't need any boosting supply suggestions or that I should stop bottles (not going to happen at this rate, I'm not going to starve him.) I just want to know, based on what's been going on lately in regards to him popping off, what could be the most likely reason for him doing so. Or is it really just all of it and I'm doomed to just fight through it like I have been doing before?