Re: 5 week old issues - frustrated FTM
Welcome to the forum!
The first thing I encourage you to do is to abandon the schedule. I looked up the "Dr Denmark" plan and it is, for lack of a better word, DANGEROUS. I don't know how a baby can manage to get enough milk, or how a mom can maintain an adequate milk supply, with such infrequent nursing. Milk supply is created and maintained by demand. Most newborns need to feed at least 10-12 times per day, and most older babies (>6 weeks) require at least 8 feedings per day in order to get enough milk and to maintain a decent milk supply in their moms.
A lot of people will say "But wait a minute, scheduling is working great for me!" or "My friend has her baby on a schedule, and they aren't having any problems!" The key here is that scheduling often does work- at first. Most moms start out making more milk than their babies need. This is nature's way of making sure that a baby gets enough to eat while mastering the tricky art of breastfeeding. When a mom with oversupply puts her baby on a schedule, the baby may continue to get enough to eat because mom has so much excess milk. Even with restricted feeding opportunities, the baby is able to get enough milk. But this state of affairs is unlikely to last because a woman's body does not stay in overproduction mode forever. As time goes by, the body detects the number of times the baby nurses and the amount of milk that is left in the breast in between nursing sessions, and uses this data to tailor supply so that it matches demand very precisely. When a baby is being nursed on demand, this is beneficial because making extra milk is a waste of energy, puts mom at increased risk for plugged ducts and mastitis, and because oversupply causes rapid letdowns which can make nursing difficult for the baby. But when a baby is being scheduled, the adjustment usually results in insufficient milk, poor growth, a rapid introduction of supplemental feedings, and premature weaning.
That all being said, it does not sound like the schedule has caused you to have low supply. This is probably because you picked up the pump so early. It's generally recommended that mothers wait about 4-6 weeks before they start pumping, but since your baby is only 5 weeks I am guessing you started well before that. At this point, how often do you pump, and how much milk do you pump each time? Let's work on getting you into a more normal, more fulfilling relationship with your pump- and your baby!
Is baby being allowed to feed at night? It is completely false that babies "need to cry at night"- when a baby, especially such a young baby, is crying, that usually indicates one of the following things:
2. Discomfort (e.g. wet diaper, getting blasted by a fast letdown, milk coming out too slow, too hot, too cold, lonely and needs mama, etc.)
3. Normal baby fussiness (often intensifies towards evening)
Where is baby sleeping? Is she in bed with you, in a crib in your room, or in a different room in the house?
When a baby is properly latched, nursing should not cause soreness, no matter how frequently the baby feeds or how long she feeds for. A gentle and rhythmic tugging is about all you're likely to experience. Pinkish/reddish nipples plus itchiness plus a white residue on the tongue is suggestive of thrush, so I encourage you to go in and see the pediatrician, who is probably more familiar with the diagnostic criteria for thrush than your MIL!
Finally, I really hope none of this comes across as me scolding you for adhering to a schedule, or for doing what you felt was right. If I'm scolding anyone, it's this "Dr" Denmark guy, who sounds like a quack and a half for suggesting such a dangerous feeding schedule!
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!"