Re: Feel like I am doing everything wron
Welcome, mama. 5.5 years ago I was more or less in your shoes- baby wasn't gaining, I had awful cracks, and I was using bottles and quite a lot of (gasp!) formula to feed my baby because she was unable to get enough from me. Every nursing session was stressful, I was crying all the time, and I was exhausted because I was either nursing, pumping, bottle-feeding, or washing bottles all day long. I felt like a total failure as a mom and as a woman.
Well, guess what? Eventually things got better. I was able to ditch the bottles and the formula and just nurse, and the cracks healed, and the baby grew. I went on to nurse that baby for 3 years, and while the first 6 months were the hardest 6 months of my life, they also helped make me a better mom and a better person.
So that's my pep talk for you. It gets better, I swear!!!!
It sounds like you actually got some pretty good advice. Pumping is exhausting, but if there is something that's not right about your baby's latch, pumping is going to keep your milk supply going and enable you to have a 100% breastfed baby even if you do have to use some bottles. Yes, bottles are not recommended for babies this age, particularly ones who have trouble nursing... But you do what you have to do. Nipple confusion is a possibility, but not an inevitability. Keep the baby on the breast as much as possible and he should retain his willingness to nurse.
Some practical suggestions:
- Moist healing. Keep the cracks slathered in lanolin, keep the humidity in your house high (hard in winter, I know!).
- Use a mix of 1% hydrocortisone cream and Bacitracin antibiotic ointment on your nipples to combat inflammation and infection. Use a pea-sized amount, mixed and applied using a clean finger. Does not need to be washed off prior to nursing.
- Go topless/braless as much as possible. No need to chafe already sore nipples!
- Work on the latch! Keep going to the LC- is she an IBCLC?- and keep trying to perfect the latch.
- Make sure the LC and pediatrician checks the baby for tongue tie.
- Give it time. Your baby will grow and his mouth will grow, and as that happens his latch will improve even if you do nothing.
- Pump. I strongly suggest using a hospital-grade pump and pumping every 2 hours during the day, and every 3 hours at night.
- Instead of doing a zillion washing-ups a day, leave a big basin of soapy water by the sink and throw used bottles and pump parts in there, so that you need only do one or two big washing sessions. I personally found that less taxing.
- You do not need to wash the pump every time you use it. Just leave it screwed onto the most recent bottle and throw the whole thing in the fridge. When it's time to pump again, you can pump new milk on top of the old. My LC said it was safe to do this one time before washing everything again.
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!"