My baby will be 7 weeks old tomorrow, he's only had breast milk. He's been a strong sucker with great feeding instincts from day one. I've had nipple pain throughout the entire time, but it was worse at the beginning. I had flat nipples that had to be kind of reshaped by a nipple shell. When I was in the hospital the lactation consultants said my latch was fine. Sometimes I think my nipple might be shaped wrong after a feeding, but I need to see pictures of what people mean when they say flat, slanted or lipstick shaped to tell, and I haven't been able to find any pictures online. I also have letdown pain and achy soreness between feedings. The letdown pain feels like strings pulling hard at various points in the breast toward the nipple, and pain in the second breast's nipple while I feed him at the first breast. Between feedings it feels like my bra is sandpaper or something. I can't stand for my breasts to be touched by anything ever at all, which is wonderful for my baby who wants to be held, not to mention my husband.
The big problem now, in addition to those pains, is that he's been fighting me while I feed him. Not every feeding, but several times a day. He pushes with his hands and kicks his legs and pulls back with his head, very forcefully, usually taking my nipple with him. He'll pull off entirely and make some fussy cries, and sometimes go back to it, chomping eagerly, and other times he'll be done. This makes our feedings sometimes very short, and that makes me worry that he's getting enough to eat. He might do only 5-10 minutes on each side, and sometimes refuses one side entirely.
I called a lactation consultant about this twice, and talked to two different ladies. The first said it was oversupply and an overly forceful letdown, so I should try different nursing positions. I did, but they weren't comfortable at all. They either required me to hold up his head, taxing my arm strength, especially when he was pushing against me, or when I lay on my back and put him on my belly the weight of his head on top of my breast was painful.
The second lactation consultant said I had a low supply and I had to try to get it back up. I think she thought that was the case because I said I'd taken sudafed. And she said that a baby's behaviors are the same for oversupply and undersupply.
You can imagine the effect these contradictory diagnoses have had on my faith in lactation consultants. I also don't believe anyone who says if you have a proper latch it won't hurt. Or at least I won't believe it until I experience a painless latch, which seems to me like a myth right now. I find it very discouraging to constantly hear I'm in pain because I'm doing it wrong. It feels like blaming the victim.
My mom, who breastfed 7 babies, says he's just an efficient feeder and he's getting all the nutrition he needs because he's growing and producing plenty diapers. She tells me to stop stressing and just feed him on demand and he'll be fine. We both feel like oversupply and overly strong letdown are more likely. We see milk overflowing the side of his mouth and hear the way he swallows it. I do still get painfully engorged sometimes. As long as he's getting what he needs, I'm ok with short feedings as long as he fully drains each breast at least once a day. That takes 20-25 minutes for me to feel relieved.
He was 7#3oz at birth and is now over 11#. Just looking at him you can tell he's much bigger. His limbs used to be skinny, but now he's filled out and has a double chin. People who see him once a week remark on how much he's grown.
He's making 8-10 wet diapers and 4-5 poopy a day. Half of the poopy diapers are yellow-gold, and half are greenish.
I feel like I need "rules" or guidelines of some kind to help me know what to do. These are the ones I've been following:
Feed him when he cries.
Feed him two hours from the end of the last feeding, if the last feeding was a good one. A good feeding is at least 20 minutes combined. If the last feeding was shorter than that, feed him again in 1 hour.
Don't wake him to feed, since he's growing and my supply is established. If he's sleeping when he's supposed to eat, feed him as soon as he wakes up, and pump in the meantime if necessary.
If he's fussing while I'm feeding him, try 3 times to get him to feed on that side, then give up. I can give up without trying 3 times if he's fed for 12 minutes on that side already.
Pump to relieve engorgement.
Do you ladies think the baby is getting the milk he needs?
Why is he fighting and fussing and how can I stop this behavior?
Are my guidelines ok or should I change any of them? Particularly, how much should I fight him back when he resists feeding? (I would love for an expert to give me permission to give up when he's making feeding him so hard, and try again later.)
Is there anything I can do to relieve these various pains I have? The pain between feedings and the letdown pain are worse that the nipple pain for me, and I feel even more helpless about those pains.
It all just feels so random that I can't make sense of any of it.