Hello, I am looking for some advice and perhaps to hear from some other mums who have gone through a similar situation!
My son is almost 5 months old, and for the last 5 weeks I have been in a constant battle trying to get him to feed. He suffered with colic for his first 3 months - so we've only had about a week and a half of calm, happy breastfeeding! Despite this I have loved breastfeeding him and find the thought of stopping very sad.
He has been EBF since birth - however for the last 5 weeks he has been increasingly frustrated at the breast. He will latch on fine at first, and feed for maybe 1 or 2 minutes before popping off and angrily crying and flapping his arms around. I saw a lactation consultant last week who told me that the problem was likely that he is frustrated by the slower flowing milk after the initial let down. I had a huge oversupply when he was younger which has now levelled out - and she thought this had probably led to him expecting fast flowing milk. I don't have supply issues now - there's plenty of milk there, he just doesn't have the patience to remove it.
For these 5 weeks (and more so in the last week on the advice of the LC), I have been trying to deal with the issue by switching things up each time he complains. I change positions, move around, minimise distractions and do compressions. I've tried all kinds of positions - and each time I switch he will usually feed for about 15 more seconds before popping back off again. He starts signalling hunger straight away afterwards, so I know he's not just very efficient and full. As all this goes on he gets more and more upset and frustrated, until he ends up hysterically crying. At this point I usually give up and have to spend some time calming him down. I offer again any time he shows the slightest bit of interest - and we will then have the same performance. In between times he is usually fussy because he is hungry. I also try feeding him in the sling before and after naps (he naps in the sling) - which gets a bit more milk into him.
At night he will feed absolutely fine, although he often falls asleep during. Since he has been having these problems during the day he has gone from waking up to feed once or twice or at most 3 times, to waking up 5, 6 or even 7 times during the night - I presume to make up for lost calories.
I feel like I spend pretty much his entire awake time trying to get him to feed, and for the majority of this time he is very upset and crying. If I try just leaving it and not pushing the issue, he then ends up crying with hunger. I have persisted this long in the hope that he will grow out of it - but I am finding it hard to continue as I feel it is benefitting neither of us. I know EP is hard work and time consuming - but I'm already spending all day long trying to feed him. I know breastfeeding is more than just feeding - but at present it is neither a comforting nor a bonding experience - in fact quite the opposite. He's spent over a month of his life being horribly upset over this now. He already spent his first 3 months crying - I couldn't do anything about that but I can do something about this. He's only started to take a few bottles a week in the last month (introduced after this issue started to give me a little break when I can't face the battle) - but he drinks them very happily and is very contented afterwards. I feel selfish denying him that contentment just because of my own personal breastfeeding goals, and I feel sad for the happy times we are missing out on because we're constantly in a feeding battle.
I would love to continue breastfeeding him at night for as long as he continues to enjoy it. I know EPing in the day won't necessarily stop him from waking so much at night - but it would be great to give him the chance to sleep longer by getting more calories during the day.
Any advice or thoughts are welcome! If anyone else has been through this - did your LO grow out of it? How long did it take? What would you do in my position?
So sorry for the massively overlong post! TIA