I'm new to LLL forums though I have read posts that pop up on Google when I have searched and know that you have a great wealth of experience. I would really appreciate some advice.
My first baby, my daughter is 5 months old. She is EBF. On day 1, she grabbed my nipple and twisted it, causing that one to bleed and the other one ended up getting raw from overuse. I was at a loss and met with a LC who introduced me to a nipple shield. That helped tremendously but despite repeated efforts, my daughter never weaned off of it. I still try every few days but she won't latch without it. I figured it was better to BF w the shield than not at all so I continued to use it.
We knew she was going to day care at 13 weeks so we introduced her to the bottle which she LOVED. Twice during visits from family members during my maternity leave, I caved and for convenience, let them give her bottles. She developed a preference And would stop nursing. I successfully got her back to the breast both times after a day. During this time, she would sleep for 6-7 hours before waking up to feed.
Then she started day care at 13 weeks where she had about 5 bottles a day. She'd come home and nurse like a champ. However, she would not nap at day care so she'd come home exhausted and fall asleep on the breast. She started waking up every 3 hours to feed. My theory is that she was hungry bc she wasn't taking enough BM at daycare bc she was so distracted by the sights and sounds. I wanted her to remain EBF so I let her nurse whenever she wanted for as long as she wanted.
Three weeks ago, I quit my job to stay home with her because I just wasn't happy with how she was doing at daycare. She did really well the first two weeks. My husband gave her a few bottles and shed take 5 oz as opposed to the 3.5 her day care assured me was all she'd take.
This week however has been hellish. She almost always refuses the breast. It's been four days of this. The first two days I didn't push it too hard bc she usually comes back without a problem. The third day I did skin to akin all day, offered the breast often, let her nap on me, all of the tips that kellymom's nursing strike page suggests. I was only moderately successful. She still had a few bottles, and when she was drowsy, I put her on the breast and she accepted. At nigh, she nursed just fine. The fourth day I thought we were out of the woods- she had no bottles. It was however a battle to get her to latch. I tried everything I could think of- no nipple shield, prefilling the nipple shield, catching her going into/out of a nap, nursing in different positions, distracting her with a necklace, etc. She eventually latched but I had to scoop her up after she latched for a second and essentially force the issue for a minute or so before she started sucking.
She fell asleep on the breast tonight and I thought we were all set since she'd only had one bottle all day and that was at 5 am. Trick or treaters woke her up and I tried to put her back to sleep by comforting her, then by nursing her and lastly with a paci, but she cried cried cried. Finally my husband gave 2 oz in a bottle and she passed right out without finishing it. However she has woken up twice since then and SCREAMED when I offered the breast. This last time, she finally just took it for a moment to comfort suck and then pulled off in her sleep.
She has never ever rejected the breast so strongly or for so long before. I have no idea what to do. Her pedi said not to give her any bottles at all, since he's never known a baby to starve herself. Kellymom says to feed the baby. Her output is fine. She is teething, but she has been for weeks and I didn't notice a difference in her nursing when she cut her first tooth, so I'm not sure that that would account for the change. She doesn't have any medical issues. I haven't switched my diet or lotions etc. Also, I have been trying to wean her off of the swaddle, but she wont nurse or sleep unless she is swaddled, so that hinders skin to skin. I do skin to skin until it's clear that she'd fall asleep if she was swaddled, then I cave, swaddle her and fight for her to nurse to sleep. I'm just not sure what to do. It's a battle every time she nurses, and I'm very much afraid that she will develop an aversion to the breast.
I know we have several issues- the nipple shield, nursing to sleep, the swaddle- but I feel that those can be addressed once she starts nursing well again. Does anyone have any suggestions and/or experiences with a similar situation? It's so hard on her and draining on me. I really miss our quiet, relaxing BFing sessions. I considered seeing my local LC but the last couple of times I called, I didn't find them particularly helpful. I apologize for the length of my post, but I wanted to include all the information I thought was relevant. I'd really appreciate any advice. Thank you.