This is my first post
I have a daughter who will be 3 in a couple weeks, and an almost 6-week-old girl as well. I have a strange problem that no one seems to know what to do with except struggle through it each time - which is fine, and I will keep doing it because we hope to have more kids! But if anyone has had this happen, or has any new suggestions, I'm all ears!
My breasts are quite different from each other - the left one has a flat nipple that both girls have been able to draw out within a few weeks of birth (before that it's all pumping and trying with the nipple shield). The right one makes more milk than the left, but I call it my "bad side" because not only does it have an inverted nipple that can't be drawn out of the areola (it adheres to the sides), but the breast seems to get, for lack of a better word, "congested." As if the milk gets stuck in there when they try to nurse. As a result, this side is more prone to mastitis, and almost every time I have had mastitis it has been in this bad side. It is easy enough to pump the milk out, though - it's just that my little ones will (after a few weeks of trouble due to the nipple shape, I assume) latch on to it fine, and suck and suck, and the milk doesn't come out for them, even if I pump a bit first or do compressions and even when I feel let-downs. It was similar with my first girl - I was able to stop pumping when she was 7 weeks old, but she had to use a nipple shield on the bad side until almost 3 months old. And even when she was finally exclusively nursing, I noticed that she would have to suck and suck a bunch of times before she swallowed on the bad side, whereas she could swallow with each suck on the good side.
So I guess I'm just wondering if anyone has any suggestions. I feel like I've tried everything, but I'm sure there are more ideas out there! Do you think the bad nipple is the problem, as it makes the breast a different shape for them to latch on to, or might there be something else going on structurally on the inside, very few working ducts or something like that? I've considered for next time, just being a one-sided nurser from the start and letting the bad side dry up (carefully, so as not to get mastitis again!) - when we had such problems with our first, we were referred to a breastfeeding specialist doctor who took one look and feel of the bad side and said, "You might have to be a one-sided nurser." So I know that would be possible too, especially if I did it from the start. Right now I'm using an SNS to feed her the pumped milk, as we started with bottles but I felt that her suck on me (on the good side) was getting worse, as if she thought I was a bottle and wanted to be lazy!
In the end I nursed my older daughter for over 2 years, and it was so worth it, so I'll never consider giving up, even if this is just how it goes for me every time. Just looking for any more ideas that people might have.