Re: So frustrated... ready to give up
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby! I'm sorry you're having such a tough time nursing her so far, but please don't think that it's too late for things to turn around! First of all, there is no point of no return- it is possible for a baby to become good at breastfeeding at just about any age, though it's best to make a concerted effort now, when the baby is very young and still instinctually driven to take the breast.
I don't think a nipple shield would help you. Nipple shields are designed to help a mom with a good milk supply get over temporary pain, and you didn't mention any pain. The other use of a shield is to help a baby take the breast when she's having trouble latching onto the bare breast- and your baby is latching, although reluctant (?) to stay latched. The biggest problem with shields is that they can reduce milk transfer and slow feedings, leading to decreased weight gain- obviously not something you want to do when you already have a problem getting baby to put on weight. However, I could be wrong about this! I encourage you to see a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC, and ask for guidance regarding the shield. An in-person assessment could come up with a very different conclusion than the one I have drawn!
I don't like your doc's advice to reduce the time baby spends at the breast. The fewer chances your baby gets to nurse, the less likely she is to want to nurse or to master the skill of nursing. She's more likely to get hooked on the ease of bottle-feeding, and start rejecting the breast, maybe not even latching on at all. I know the time and energy you're putting into nursing/pumping is HUGE, but now is the time to invest it. It won't get easier if you wait longer!
Another thing to talk to the LC about is how to supplement the baby. Sometimes you have to use the bottle, but there are other ways to supplement that may be more breastfeeding-friendly, and less likely to result in baby developing a bottle preference (nipple confusion). Like using a supplemental nursing system or Lact-Aid to allow you to supplement the baby at the breast.
Sleepy babies are very fustrating. Here are some techniques which may help you wake your dozy girl:
- Keep her cool; cool babies are more alert. When it's time to nurse, strip her down to a onesie or diaper and keep a fan blowing in the room where you nurse (not directly on baby).
- Annoy her. Tickle the soles of her feet or rub against the grain of her hair using a cool damp washrag.
- Keep the lights dim. Newborns may close their eyes in response to bright lights.
- Use breast compressions to speed milk to the baby.
- Try switch nursing. Every time baby starts to fall asleep (closing her eyes, suckling slowing and becoming light and fluttery), take her off the breast, burp her or change her, and put her on the other breast. Repeat the process as many times as possible, until baby will no longer wake.
Whatever you do, please do not introduce a pacifier into the mix right now! Not only can it worsen a baby's latching/suckling skills, but it can lead to fewer feedings because the baby gets all her sucking done on a paci instead of where nature intends her to do it: at the breast.
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!"