Our BFing story is a long one, but I will try to keep it as short as possible. My baby had high bilirubin levels after birth, and was a sleepy baby for the first week. We had latch issues due to flat nipples but used a nipple shield to work through it (nipple shield was removed cold-turkey at 2 weeks). Baby did not regain his birth weight by 4 weeks, so I met with an LC. She weighed him before and after a feeding and he only took in a half-ounce. She said his sucking was good and he wasn't tongue-tied, and just needed to gain more weight. The theory was that once he gained weight and had more energy, he'd be able to take in more on his own at the breast. I attempted to use a syringe and tubing at the breast but struggled with it, so we started supplementing by bottle. I pump after every feeding but also have to supplement some with formula because I don't pump enough to be sufficient (not a fan of the idea, but my #1 priority was getting my baby's weight up). Side note: My LC doesn't think I have a supply issue.
His weight is now up (mostly due to the supplementation), but we're still having feeding issues. Since birth and to date, feeding sessions take 30-45 minutes per breast. I use breast compressions and techniques to try to keep him actively sucking longer. After renting a Medela scale this week (at the 8-week mark), I found that he normally takes in less than an ounce per feeding -- not much of an improvement since the first month. He only takes in more if it's been a while since his last feeding and my breasts are especially full -- I assume because the milk is so easily accessible.
I really, really want breastfeeding to work for us and ideally I would like to end supplementation. But I am so frustrated and exhausted -- I easily spend 10-12 hours a day feeding or in the process of a feed, and I can't really leave the house or do anything else. I feel like I've tried everything, and I don't know what the core issue is. Eventually I will also need to find a job, so this can't go on forever.
Basically, I want to know: Has anyone else had similar issues and have insight into what is the issue getting him to take in more at the breast? Have you seen significant improvement after the 2-month mark? Is there any hope for this breastfeeding relationship? Any ideas on what I can do?