My daughter is 4.5 months. We have struggled with breastfeeding since she has been born. I had a natural birth in the hospital, but had one and a half bags of IV fluids and a small amount of nubain at 7cm because I was exhausted and wasn't sure I would be able to make it to push. My labor was 21 hours. My daughter was very alert when she was born, even picked up her head a little bit. I immediately held her on my chest skin to skin and she did latch on within the hour, but I honestly don't remember whether she ate immediately or if that was later. Everything was perfect in the hospital, except for the fact that I had a pulled hip muscle that caused me to be bedridden the next day and it took three weeks to be able to walk on my own without the pain. The first month was extremely stressful.
She was born at 8pounds 1oz and 19 1/2 inches long. Everything went smooth in the hospital and three days after birth she was 7lbs 8oz. Five days she was 7lbs10oz. !One week old she was 7lbs12oz. We did not have a 2 week appt bc our pediatrician said we couldn't be at her practice if we didn't give her a hep b shot, so we decided to find another doctor. However, we did not know we were supposed to have a 2 week appt bc no one told us.
At four weeks old we had our birthing class reunion at the hospital. She was weighed by the nurse and she was 7lbs 6oz, so she was 11 ounces under her birth weight at 4 weeks old. Of course, panic ensued and the nurse told me to give her one ounce of formula after breastfeeding her, so I did. I went the next morning to meet with that nurse/lact consultant. We had planned to weigh my daughter before and after her feed. The nurse was not there when I had gotten there and my daughter was screaming, so I latched her on to feed her. She ate for a few minutes and then the nurse came in. We unlatched her, weighed her, and then I continued to feed her for as long as she would eat. We weighed her again and she had gained 1.5 ounces. So she told me that I needed to give her one ounce of formula after each feeding to catch her up to her birth weight before her 1 month dr visit in one week. I did as I was told and my daughter weighed 8lbs 2oz at her five week dr appt.
I went to the lactation consultant right when my daughter was five days old. They said everything was perfect. I saw a different lactation nurse right before her 5 week dr appt. They showed me how to use an sns, so we filled that with formula and attempted to teach my daughter how to breastfeed. I had follow up appt with the same lact consultant one week later. She said to continue with the sns, told me about herbs to increase my supply, and I was sent home with a medela symphony pump. I tried my absolute best to pump after as many feedings as I could, but it was very hard to pump being home alone with a newborn. So I continued, SNS, pumping, herbs, sometimes bottles when I wanted to throw the sns out the window. My daughter did well and transitioned easily between bottle and breast. However, I was starting to get really fed up. When I would try to breastfeed her without the sns, she would still only eat a little bit and would fall asleep on my breast. We tried every single trick in the book. I tried all sorts of different ways of feeding her as well.
We had her two month appt and she weighed 9lbs 12oz. The doctor said that I needed to relax and that my daughter was fine. I was so fed up. I had spent a couple of days journaling how many ounces of formula she was getting and how many ounces of pumped milk she was getting plus how many times she was at my breast feeding alone and with the sns. I was quite frustrated to find out that she was getting half of her daily intake in formula and a good amount of pumped milk in addition to breastfeeding. She was being OVERFED! She was eating WAY more than 24-30ounes. I decided to pump all of my milk out first and then put that in the sns without any formula and just let her breastfeed. My theory was that I could give her breastmilk and hopefully she would increase my supply by sucking at my breast and hopefully get more milk from my breast. If I didn't feed her for 3 hours, my breasts got engorged and I was really mad bc I didn't understand why I had to keep giving her all this formula when my breasts were engorged. So I decided I was done with the formula. I took her to bed and nursed all night long, and nursed and nursed and nursed and nursed. I would breastfeed her until she would not feed anymore, I would let her nurse as long as she wanted to, and if she seemed like she needed to eat I would nurse her.
After my daughter turned 3 months, she started turning her face downward away from my left breast. I didn't know what that was, but as it got worse I figured out that she was becoming distracted. We continued to nurse on cue. My daughter has been a poor sleeper since she was born. She has slept in our bed for at least some of the time every night.
At 4 months old, I have become and extremely sleep deprived mommy. My daughter does not sleep the "recommended" 15 hours each day. I've tried all sorts of methods. She sleeps in the car when it is moving (most of the time), in her swing (sometimes) and latched on to my breast in bed at night (most of the time). I rarely get a nap. I'm on the brink of burnout. Even now, I can't sleep with her latched on very well bc she is wiggly and wakes up every 1-3 hours. My mom has concluded that if only we could get her to be a better sleeper, she would be a better breastfeeder. The days when she takes a three hour long nap, she breastfeeds beautifully. On other days, the longer she is awake, the less she feeds and the more she sleeps on my breast.
Four month appt (9 wks). My daughter had a cold for two weeks and was finally at the end of it by her 4month appt. Her height was 24.5 inches and she weighed 11lbs 4oz. The doctor was concerned because she had dropped percentiles. He wanted me to give her formula in a bottle after each nursing session to see how much she would take. He also said that it will help her sleep. Devastated and completely irrationally emotional, I left the office.
I went home, breastfed her, then gave her a bottle. She took a half an ounce. The next feeding, I breastfed her and then she ate 3 ounces of formula. ARGH! I bought an electric double pump. I planned to breastfeed her and then pump right afterwards and give her what I collected with a bottle right after. I figured that way I would pump myself dry, get more hind milk out, and hopefully get her gaining more weight. It has been two weeks of nursing, trying to pump afterwards, and sometimes giving her bottles of formula. I'm going to LOSE MY MIND. My friend told me to relax and just nurse her, but I can't because my husband wants me to give her formula bottles bc he thinks she is skin and bones.
We have a baby scale, not sure how accurate it is. At this point (4.5months) she is hovering around the 12lb mark, according to my scale. My nipples hurt from pumping, my daughter eats a full four ounce bottle of formula after nursing, and I cannot tell if she is sleeper better or not. I don't know if she NEEDS the formula or not. It is making me crazy and I feel like if she is going to be fussy and then eat four ounces of formula after nursing, then why should I bother continuing with breastfeeding?
When she is hungry and not tired, she latches on and her jaw goes up and down and I see her swallowing. She is a slow eater, take 2-3 sucks before swallowing, but I hear swallowing. I let her nurse as long as she will nurse for, and I will even let her sleep nurse on me if it means she will be getting more milk.
How can I get my daughter to gain more weight without decreasing my supply? I wanted to have an exclusive long term breastfeeding relationship with her until we started solids and wanted her to be able to self wean. I feel like if we keep going with the formula and breastfeedings, the formula will take over and eventually I won't be producing enough breastmilk at all. I would exclusively pump if that was possible, but sore nipples and not enough time (nor am I good at pumping) is not going to work.
One last thing, when I pump after nursing I get anywhere from 0-1ounces. If I pump in between, I usually get how every many hours it has been since feeding. So if I haven't fed her for 2 hours, I usually can pump out 2 ounces.
Thank you for reading this extremely long post. I feel completely out of options.