Hi, I'm new here and excited to be part of a supportive community for breastfeeding. This has been a rough battle for my baby and I, but things are finally falling into place. She is 6 weeks old. I will put a short intro but feel free to skip straight to the questions below.
When baby was born, she had a short tongue and recessed chin. She was not able to latch properly and lost 7% of her body weight in 24 hours so we were told to put her on formula. My milk came in on day 4 and we immediately started bottle feeding her this. She was getting what little colostrum I could get before that. On day 6 our peditrician's lactation consultant suggested trying a nipple shield to get her to the breast. It worked and I cried I was so happy to be able to breastfeed my baby. Her weight gain was still slow and, in retrospect, I think she was fighting with slow flow through the shield. When the doctor started talking about exclusively bottle feeding, I worked on weaning her off of the shield and directly onto the breast. It took several nerve-wracking days but we got there. It was a sore start, as her suck was still impaired from her anatomy. She started dramatically gaining weight and I knew we were finally on the right track. We have been straight at the breast for the last 3 weeks.
It used to be that baby always ate at both breasts. It was clear to me when she was ready to switch and she would usually eat about 15 minutes or so at each. Lately though, she has started confusing me. I should mention that we are also suddenly dealing with a bit of a forceful letdown over the last week. Sometimes she will eat about 13 minutes on one side, get fidgety, and I will put her on the other side. She will only eat for 3 - 5 minutes. I started to worry that this was not the best of her and read up on feeding only on one breast. Is this okay? Does it reduce supply? I'm happy to offer her both breasts, but she tends to latch even when she is just tired and then gets irritated at the milk flow (I think she just wants to comfort nurse). So, how do I know when to offer her the second breast? Just now she fell asleep at breast one, I burped her and she woke up. I was going to put her on the other side, but my husband recommended sticking with one side. So confused! She seems to be overtired today and getting fussy at the breast when she gets sleepy. She latches and then fusses as she fights falling asleep.
I appreciate any help! I don't know why I am so suddenly and severely second guessing myself, but I can't seem to find an instinctive answer yet.