Re: 9 week nursing issues
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on making it to 8 weeks of nursing! You've already overcome some pretty significant challenges- the tongue and lip ties, the shield, the initial difficulties with getting the baby to latch. So no matter how frustrating things are today, I hope that you will pat yourself on the back and be proud of what you've achieved!
As always with young babies, there is probably a combination of factors that are responsible for the difficulty in getting baby settled, the fussing, the spit-up, and the short sleep intervals. Here are the ones I think may be to blame:
1. Baby's age/stage of development. Fussiness often peaks between 3 weeks and 3 months. This is especially true of evening fussiness. If you find that your baby is generally happy in morning and then gets progressively fussy as the day wears on, perhaps with a full-on fit towards bedtime, the primary explanation for his behavior may simply be developmental.
2. Fast letdowns. Having baby pull off and fuss during letdowns, and having to catch the spray into a cloth- those are textbook fast letdown experiences.
3. Getting rid of the shield. One thing that shields do is to slow the flow of milk to the baby. This is actually the primary drawback of shields for some moms! But for you, slowed milk flow was a benefit. I would guess that part of the reason your baby is spitting up so much is that every time he nurses, he gets full to the brim. Fuller tummy = increased likelihood that some tummy contents will come back up.
4. Getting the tongue/lip ties fixed. Now that your baby has a more mobile mouth, he's probably even more able to stimulate a fast flow of milk than he was before you got the ties fixed. Result: increased frustration due to fast flow.
So, what do you do? Here's what I think:
1. Really think hard about whether or not you want the shield back in your life. It would slow milk flow and maybe make things easier for the baby. But on the other hand, this adjustment period is temporary. If you roll with this frustrating phase, your baby will eventually figure out how to nurse without getting blasted by a fast letdown, and he'll also figure out how to stop nursing before his tummy is brim-full and likely to result in an unpleasant spit-puppy burp.
2. Keep trying the reclined and side-lying positions, and allow the letdowns to flow into a cloth. I used to keep a roll of TP nest to my nursing chair, to deal with fast letdowns.
3. Think about where the baby sleeps. A possible explanation for the frequent waking: he has learned that he doesn't like being alone. Co-sleeping has saved a lot of moms from going bonkers, and it is possible to co-sleep safely.
4. See a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC.
5. If you feel like your supply is really on the high side- you're frequently feeling full or engorged, you are leaking a lot, you're able to pump a lot of milk with ease (if you're pumping), the baby is gaining really well- block feeding may be advisable.
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!"