Here's my story:
My son was born on 4/12/13, and my husband and I had decided to exclusively breastfeed. This went pretty well at the hospital, with multiple visits from LCs to get the latch correct while I had colostrum. I was also given a nipple shield due to my nipples being flat, and my LO not being able to latch on without it. We were discharged on 4/15, with mildly high bilirubin levels. This turned into jaundice over the next few days, requiring the UV bed to help him clear it out. In addition, my milk had not come in yet (didn't start coming in til 4/17), so the pediatrician recommended to add a formula supplement to the breastfeeding to help him clear it out.
Two days later (4/19), his levels had dropped and no longer required the bed, but his latch and desire to breastfeed had waned. Now, even with the nipple shield, my nipples were starting to crack and bleed each time he fed and it got downright painful. I had not opened my pump yet, and was not emptying my now very engorged breasts. I went to a lactation consultant and we worked on the latch, however, after 20 minutes on each breast, he had only gotten 0.75 ounces. She recommended to pump after feeding and supplement with formula if it was still insufficient. The first few pumpings only brought out 5-10 ml from each breast, so there was a larger amount of formula used.
That Saturday, 4/20, I came down with mastitis. I didn't really understand what was happening, and the hospital thought I had the flu (102 fever, achy, sore breasts, etc.). It wasn't diagnosed until 4/22, when I followed up with my OB, and then was put on antibiotics for 7 days. During this time, I couldn't wake up to nurse or pump, and my LO was on formula bottles. Once I started feeling better, I started to pump, nurse, and, supplement until my LO fell asleep, but by the end of his second week, he had not regained his birth weight. He was born at 7 lb 13 oz, and was now at 7 lb 6 oz. We decided to see the LC again, and found out that even with 20 minutes on the breast with mastitis, he was only getting 10 ml, and the "good" breast was only getting 6 ml in 10 minutes. The LC recommended to rent a hospital pump (rented the Medela Symphony) and pump every 3 hours to build my supply back up, along with taking fenugreek and blessed thistle 3x a day.
When I started pumping, I could only get 5 oz a day. Two weeks later, and I am now at 16 oz per day, with my supply slowly increasing by an ounce or so a day. With this good news, I finally was excited to try breastfeeding again two days ago. But now my LO won't have it. I still have the nipple shield, however, it's as if he's forgotten how to latch, and frankly, I'm not sure if I want to try and get him to figure it out. He more gnaws at the nipple shield, turns away completely if I try to offer him the breast without it, and just seems frustrated by the whole breast thing.
So, I'm not sure what to do. My supply is still low, so I'm still pumping every 3 hours to try and continue to build it up, but adding in nursing seems to make the matters worse. I can't stand to see my LO so upset at the breast, and I try to make him comforted with lots of skin to skin and let him try to take the breast, but he is not interested. Is it worth it for me to continue to try and get him to take the breast, or should I just keep working on my supply (I'll be going back to work in July, and I'll need to pump then)?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated, and thanks for reading this super long post.