My son is 11 wks old and breastfeeding has been very rough for us. I guess you could say he was a bit of a barracuda, never gently taking to the breast. The latch-on pain was so intense and one of my nipples got a huge crack, that I just couldn’t take it anymore. I started pumping breast milk around the third week. Even though it was painful, however, I couldn’t quite give up nursing so I would pump and nurse just to give my nipples a break. Some days I would pump more, some days I would nurse more. It seemed to work out okay for a brief period, but then I ran into a snag around the 5th week. My son started to sputter and gag when he nursed (especially the right breast). And I noticed that when he would unlatch the breast was spraying milk in his face. Then he started to refuse to nurse. He would start out okay, but after a couple of minutes he would unlatch and start to scream. He is extremely colicky and has acid reflux (which he is currently being treated for). I did some reading and found out I have issues with forceful letdown (and I guess oversupply, but I’m not sure if that is the case...when I pump on the right side I pump 3 to 4 oz and the left side is 2 to 3 oz.)
From that point on, I would simply pump. However, I would try at least once a day to nurse. I’ve tried several things based on advice from people:
1.) a nipple shield
2.) nursing lying down or in a reclining position
3.) pumping just past my initial letdown
4.) unlatching him when I feel letdown happening and use a cloth until the breast stops spraying
I would try feeding him from one breast at a time, or even block nursing, but he won’t nurse. He will drink for a couple of minutes and then start to SCREAM...he’ll latch and unlatch and latch on and scream some more.
I guess my question is this: am I being selfish to want to breastfeed? I say to myself that it’s what is best and he acts like he wants to nurse. As soon as he starts to get hungry he’ll gum at my shirt. Should I just mourn this part of our relationship and move on...just exclusively pump and focus on all the other wonderful things about our relationship?