I gave birth to a 31 week old on Jan 6th. He weighed 3lbs 9oz and was in the NICU for 4 weeks. We were able to start nursing the week or so before discharge and things were great. However, it has been a roller coaster since then. He now weighs 7lbs 10oz and I have been breastfeeding exclusively since we have been home the last 7 weeks However, I am in incredible pain and I am worried he is no longer getting enough. I have only given an occasional bottle of EBM but his suck has completely changed. He seems to chomp down on the breast and despite support from lactation consultants I can't seem to correct the problem. He also seems less content after feedings. Pediatrician said last weight gain was the lowest allowable (5oz in 11 days) and I am so stressed. I am so proud that this baby has had nothing but breastmilk so far but I am afraid I am losing the battle. I am trying to pump in between but am lucky to get an ounce at a time. In addition the little guy has some reflux/GI issues we are dealing with.
My nipples are raw and blistered and I am afraid I might have to give him bottles for a while (I have some frozen EBM). But my biggest fear is that our nursing relationship is ending. I am in so much pain and have so much anxiety as feeding time approaches. I feel so defeated. I don't know how I should proceed and I am beyond exhausted. How do I know when to to let this go? How will I adjust if this happens without feeling like I somehow failed? In addition, I have Crohn's disease and my family, while supportive, is worried about my health and thinks I need to be proud of the 11 weeks of breastmilk he received and move on to formula. Thank you for any advice and support you can provide.