Re: Need encouragement, almost giving up
with the PPs.
Most of what you mention sounds entirely normal. Feeling empty or floppy? Normal, especially after you've been nursing a while. most moms start out overproducing, which is nature's way of making 100% sure the baby gets fed as she masters the art of breastfeeding. But long term you do not want to overproduce, since it's a waste of energy and sets you at increased risk for plugged ducts and mastitis. So eventually your body detects that the baby keeps leaving a large amount of milk in the breast after nursing, as starts to reduce supply to a level that matches demand more precisely. At that point, it is normal to no longer feel full or get engorged, and as long as the baby continues to produce adequate wet and poopy diapers, there is no reason to worry aout supply.
It is also very normal to have your milk supply fluctuate over the course of the day, as JoMo described. This can make the end of the day, when the baby is already fussy, extra challenging, and this is the time of day when many moms who have no intention of using formula end up cracking. But the best way to not use formula is to just not use it. Nurse through the fussy time, and your baby will train your body to make sufficient milk even at that natural low point in the day.
What concerns me in your post is the soreness and cracking you have experienced. I suggest getting some hands-on help from a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. When you have a latching issue, there's no substitute for a hands-on approach! But can you tell us a bit more, like when you have the most pain (beginning of a feeding, middle, end?), what shape your nipples are after feeding symmetrical like pencil erasers, or asymmetrical, like new lipsticks?), and who your baby's weight gain and diaper output has been so far?
Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"