Re: Multiple issues - help!
That's good! My concern about his nursing frequency isn't about scheduling, but about you maybe having a particularly non-demanding baby. Most babies are great at letting mom know when they need to eat. But there are a few extremely mellow babies who, when left to their own devices, just don't cue enough. Women who have these non-demanding babies sometimes have to take the lead, offering the breast significantly more often than the baby seems to want.
I AM nursing him on demand. I am not watching the clock or doing a schedule and never have.
I don't know if this fits well with his nursing pattern, which seems to be all about very long feedings- that makes me wonder more about the baby's ability to transfer milk. He's actively sucking pretty much the whole time- so maybe he just has a tough time getting milk out? I'd still love to see you get a professional scale for home use, just so that you could get a better idea of what baby is actually able to do at the breast. Maybe it's overkill, but it's something that really helped me!
Has anyone checked him really carefully for tongue tie?
There's nothing wrong with bottles or pumping, when used appropriately. But bottles and pumps can cause breastfeeding problems, even when used for the best of reasons. First of all, pumping and bottle-feeding is just one more thing for a tired new mom to do. I don't want any mom to sit there strapped to a machine unless it's absolutely necessary! Second, babies latch differently on artificial nipples than they do onto the breast, and that difference can cause difficulties with nursing. And third, even though your baby currently goes back and forth between breast and bottle without difficulty, some babies do start fussing at the breast in order to get the bottle, because the bottle delivers a relatively fast and easy flow of milk.
I also don't know why giving a bottle or pumping is necessarily bad, if it's working for us. The bottles have seemed to make him happy and aren't compromising how he's nursing. So can't it be ok for a short while?
None of this should be taken as me saying "No, you mustn't use bottles! Bottles are eeeeeeviiiiiil!" Rather, these are just potential pitfalls to be aware of and to watch out for.
I know, right???! The technical details of breastfeeding can be really tricky. Hopefully I can clear up the two you referenced above.
Also, I know that you're trying to be helpful but sometimes there are conflicting things you hear from lactation consultants etc which help confuse the issue. For example, people say that pumping output isn't a good indicator of milk production - but all over these boards when someone says they are pumping a certain amount, the reply will be that (as it was here) it seems they don't have a problem with milk supply. So presumably there would be an amount to pump which WOULD indicate a problem with supply? Then I hear that your breasts are never "empty", but people tell you to let a baby finish one side in order to "empty" the breast - I know they mean relatively speaking, but it's frustrating nonetheless.
First, pumping isn't a good indicator because... It's just too variable. How much you get when pumping depends on when you last nursed or pumped. What sort of pump you're using. The time of day. Your response to the make/model of pump you have. There are moms with great supplies who are poor pumpers. That being said, if a mom was using a good pump with correctly sized shields, using it frequently no consistently, and wasn't getting much milk, that might indicate a supply problem IF she was also having trouble nursing or with getting her baby to gain weight.
Second, the breast really is never empty. Milk is always being made. When we tell moms to try to "empty the breast" it's shorthand for "let your baby finish the breast at his own pace".
Finally, I know that the attitude here can come off as hardcore. But as LLLMeg said, it's not ideology, it's biology. I sometimes think that Mother Nature must be the most anti-feminist deity out there, to have set things up the way she did. Because life with a newborn baby is so all-consuming, so self-negating... It would be so much easier if humans were set up to lactate like Hooded Seals, who nurse their offspring for just 3-5 days. Or like rabbits, who nurse their offspring just 1-2 times a day. But nooooo, Mother Nature had to set things up so that humans produce relatively low-fat, high-carb milk- and animals who produce that sort of milk are ones that have to nurse all the time. Lucky us!
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!"