New to this forum. Looking for commiseration or advice or whatever.
Little background: I had my fourth babe in 5 years almost 3 weeks ago. When my first was born, I just assumed breastfeeding would come naturally. I had textbook pregnancies and deliveries so imagine my surprise when breastfeeding did NOT come naturally at all.
At first I thought it was something I had done wrong since it was my first baby but when the next three (including current LO) reacted all the same way to breastfeeding, I began to wonder if it was something else.
First, it seems that I do not have a letdown reflex in my right breast. All my babies have refused to nurse from that side - they latch fine but after a few minutes or so of frustrated suckling (with apparently nothing much coming out) they come off and fuss. The last consultant I saw watched LO nurse for an hour and then finally agreed that there is something wrong with that breast. Not that it means much, but I cannot pump off of that side at all - MAYBE a few drops if I am lucky.
So now I am down to one breast to nurse off of which I have read can be done but it seems as though on top of the issues with the right breast, I may have low supply (which I have also read is very rare) as well.
I think the biggest problem now is I have 3 other pre-schooled aged children that I have to be mommy to all day and an infant who should be at the breast every hour to build up my supply. I JUST CAN'T DO IT. Plus, she comes off the one breast unsatisfied every time which is incredibly disheartening. Pumping has never been my friend and I know you are not supposed to gauge supply by the pump but it must say something that every time after she nurses, I cannot pump even a drop off the "good" breast and she is still hungry. That indicates to me that she has drained everything she can (and is still hungry) but every article I read makes me feel that I am doing something wrong and that it cannot really be low supply.
Baby's latch is good (saw an LC last week that confirmed this). I do have letdown off of the one side. I have taken fenugreek, blessed thistle, domperidone and I drink TONS of water all day long. I nurse every time she seems hungry but I also have had to start supplementing with formula (am now trying the bottle then breast method).
I've read other accounts of women basically just staying in bed all day to breastfeed but I simply cannot do this. I kind of feel that if I can't give it everything, then it's probably pointless to try at all. The thing is, I wouldn't mind nursing on demand if she was even just a little satisfied after a feed but it's pretty disheartening to be nursing every 45 minutes and still have a fussy, hungry infant in between.
I'm not quite ready to give up b/c I DO have a letdown when she nurses so I can't help but feel that if I could just get my supply up; then I could possibly breastfeed exclusively eventually.
Oh, and we are moving in a few months to a developing country; I DO NOT want to use the water to mix formula which is why this time it's so much more important to me to be successful at breastfeeding.