This is a long one...
The second love of my life (after my husband) was born October 13, a day early. Right off the bat, he had issues latching and didn't eat a thing for the first 12 hours of his little life. That night nurse came in, took one look at my nipples and told me they were inverted and he wasn't strong enough to nurse on them. I started using a nipple shield under her guidance and things seemed to starting trucking along well. We got him home and my milk came in quickly (I never got engorged) and things seemed to be going really well (he was back up to his birth weight in the first week!) although he was super sleepy during the day and would have to be woken up for feedings. Things shifted pretty quickly one night (he was about 3 days old) when he began feeding for sometimes an hour at a time and couldn't be settled afterward. After hours of this one night, my husband and I gave him a pacifier as it seemed he was nursing for comfort and I felt I was becoming a human pacifier. This worked tremendously well and he continued waking up regularly for feedings so I thought we at least had a good tool so I could get a little sleep.
After he was 8 days old I noticed my right breast seemed soft and empty and looked considerably smaller than the left. He started getting fussy at that side and now will only nurse on that side a few minutes before dropping off (even with breast compressions). My left seems to be fuller and he will nurse on that side (sometimes for 45 minutes to an hour) willingly. However, even after long periods of active nursing, he will fall asleep at the breatst and once he wakes up he will scream and frantically root around as if he hasn't eaten in hours!! We took him to the clinic yesterday and he has lost weight which just breaks my heart. The nurse suggested that I TRY nursing him on the right, then give him the left and pump the right supplementing him with that milk as necessary. He still seems unsatisfied after nursing on the left (as I said even if he "actively" nurses for 45 mintues) and I find I am having to supplement him at every feed to get him to calm down enough to allow me to soothe him or he will be up for 3-4 hours at a time screaming! Adding to my frustration is that he won't accept a syringe or cup feeding so we have been giving him a bottle and he still occasionally needs his paci to soothe. My nipples are cracked and sore and I know his latch is not great even after several consultations with an LC and continued use of a nipple shield.
I feel like a complete failure. I can't soothe my baby with my breast or anything else but expressed milk in a bottle. I feel like I am not trying hard enough and I can't stop crying (which I know the stress is not helping the situation at all). We are using both a bottle and a paci and he is not even two weeks old yet. What am I missing??? I have not been supplementing with formula but I feel so close to giving up. Every time he wakes up I feel dread in the pit of my stomach because I wonder "will he get enough breast milk" "will he be satisfied enough to sleep"...Help