Re: Feeding constantly
Welcome and congratulations on the new baby, and on making it through the first three weeks! Most moms who give up on breastfeeding give up in the early days or weeks, because that's when breastfeeding is hardest. The ones who keep on nursing will all tell you that eventually it gets easier and more rewarding, and I promise that if you just hang in there and keep on nursing, you will be one of those moms who nod and smile and say "Yes, it gets better!"
As long as baby is gaining weight and producing adequate diaper output (here's a reference: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/enough-milk.html), you do have enough milk. There are many reasons why babies fuss, and most of them are not related to milk supply. However, most babies discover that nothing soothes them better than the breast, so even babies who are getting plenty of milk will want to nurse when they are fussy. 2 things that could be affecting your baby right now are the three week growth spurt, when most babies want to nurse constantly, and something called "evenings-only colic" or "the witching hour(s)". Many babies have periods of severe fussiness in the evening, and this is when many exhausted, frustrated moms start giving bottles. But bottles are not the only way to deal with colicky evenings. Here are some things which may help:
- Nurse, nurse, nurse, and then nurse some more!
- Motion- rock in a rocker, swing in a swing, ride in a stroller, ride in a car, bounce on an exercise ball, etc.
- Keep the house calm- turn down the lights, stereo, and television
- White noise
- Warm bath
- Fresh air- a trip outside can really work miracles!
Most babies will take a bottle and eat a large amount from it, regardless of whether or not they are hungry. The mechanics of eatng from a bottle mean that when a baby has a bottle in her mouth, she must swallow or she will choke. Babies who eat from bottles often become overfull, and then calm down because their tummies are so stuffed. Babies often come to enjoy the ease of bottle-feeding and overfull sensation, so most people recommend that the bottles not be introduced into the mix until the baby is a proficient nurser, usually around 4-6 weeks of age. If you decide that you want to give bottles, the best thing you can do is to pump and fill those bottles with your own milk. Supplementing with formula is not something you want to do right now, because if you're worried about supply supplementing with formula is a sure way to make those concerns real. Milk supply = demand, and every time you give formula and the baby skips a nursing session, supply goes down.
The thing that concerns me most in your post is the pain you're feeling. Can you describe it a bit more? When do you have the most pain- at the beginning of a feeding, when baby first latches on, during the feeding, towards the end of a feeding, or after the feeding is over? Are you cracked or blistered at all? When baby unlatches, what shape are your nipples? Are they shaped like pencil erasers (symmetrical), or new lipsticks (asymmetrical/creased/wedged)?
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!"