I am now just about 40 hours into almost pump-free BFing with my 12 week old son after almost two moths of EPing and I really need help.
The trouble all started with severe breast / nipple pain and sores for the first few minutes every time he began BFing, and it made me very reluctant, but I was told the pain would subside in 6 weeks. So I persevered. At home - things were rough for us because he seemed to have colic, which meant lots of crying (both of us) and rather expensive homeopathic attempts to settle him and extreme, heartbreaking gas pain episodes. At about 5 weeks I went in to see the LC, and it turned out that he had a sucking problem, and was therefore not getting enough milk from BFing and also had not yet regained his birth weight (which was a hospital record 10.5 pounds). For the colic she recommended that I stop eating cow dairy. For the sucking he had to go and see a special chiropractor. She recommended that I EP to get my supply back up (I was down to about 35% of what it should have been) and not BF directly to manage the pain I was still experiencing.
Of course, the chiro was on holidays for the next 3 weeks... but we finally went to see him and after two sessions the sucking difficulties were greatly improved and I was told to go see the LC to get him back on the breast. Then, she was on holidays for 2 weeks. However, with the sucking resolved, I started trying to BF during the day and pump at night. My baby was extremely fussy at the breast, pulling off, screaming, etc, and it was making things difficult and painful for me. Also, in doing this, I noticed my supply was starting to drop again, and I had to provide my baby with a bottle of formula every two days or so. Better formula than hungry screaming baby although that stuff is pretty nasty and smells so horrible.
When I finally saw the LC she told me that I had forceful let-down and that's why he was pulling back and fighting against the breast. She assured me I did not have supply issues and recommended that I pump a bit before giving the baby the breast. After this, I kept pumping every 3 hours night and day and would give my baby the breast at least once a day, sometimes up to 4-5 times, when I wasn't super-full. However, getting him 'full' with only the breast seems to take hours, and is more often than not a bit of a struggle. Then, family and friends came to visit one after the other and I started EPing (but still offering the breast once a day). I started easting dairy again and haven't noticed any real change in gas issues, and I think it's a foremilk / hindmilk imbalance.
I'd noticed in the last week that when pumping I didn't seem to have the forceful let-down flow, and after reading threads on this forum have decided to break up with the pump and try to BF exclusively. Since he's 12 weeks, I feel like it's now or never. I'm 'block feeding' - 3 hours each breast on demand. I'm block feeding to make sure he gets the hindmilk and not just the foremilk, which I think is why he has so much gas.
The main problem seems to be latch, I think he's not taking in enough of the areola in, and when he does, he throws his head back and repositions so he doesn't have as much in his mouth. I think that he's also pinching, and when he comes off I notice the nipple looks pinched. This is probably also contributing to him not getting enough out, which is probably why I am feeling engorged. Also, one side's nipple is now in searing pain because of the bad latch. OUCH.
The engorgement is just that I feel excessively / heavily full and start dripping all over the place, even when he's not nursing the other side. Last night I had to pump because he fell asleep and I was leaking all over the place. He woke up half an hour later and I fed him the pumped milk and then nursed him on the breast every 2-3 hours until 8 AM this morning when the pain was just too much (so I pumped again and fed him).
My questions are:
1. How can I get him to open up his little mouth, especially at night, so he isn't taking just a bit more than the nipple? How do I retrain him in this sense?
2. Am I doing everything I can to get him on the breast / am I doing this right??
3. How long does it take to realistically break up with my breastpump? Is it OK if I still use it when I'm dripping everywhere and feeling over-full and he's being super-fussy (last feeding before bedtime, for example?)
Any help, wisdom, advice, or encouragement would be greatly appreciated!!! This is my first baby and I had no idea the breastfeeding learning curve was so endless. I'm extremely motivated and even willing to EP but absolutely hate being tethered to the pump on a 3-hour time clock. It truly does get in the way of living life at times.
Thanks so much again!