Hello ladies, I'm new to this forum and to breastfeeding in general. My LO is now four weeks old, and unfortunately we keep having supply issues that I'm hoping I can get some advice on here.
Here's our backstory; I'll try to give as many details as possible.
My son was born four weeks ago at 39+2 weeks GA vaginally, no epidural, after a very quick labor (1 1/2 hours). Initially I thought he took to the breast very well, which all the midwives who saw him at the hospital seemed to agree with as well. We went home the next day and had a midwife visit us at home for the next eight days to help with issues like lactation, weight gain and my healing.
His birth weight was 7lbs 11oz, his lowest weight was 7lbs 4oz on day 3 and 4. My milk came in on day 3, LO and I spent the first four days at home BFing exclusively. On day 5 my midwife suggested supplementing with formula because my son's weight wasn't going up, he still had transitional stools and he had spent the two nights before that nursing pretty much non-stop. Her rationale was that my milk supply was low and my son was getting too exhausted to suck efficiently.
Well, ever since we have been supplementing both with formula and with milk I pump while my husband feeds him formula. I use a Medela Swing Maxi double electric pump 2-3 times a day after nursing LO, getting anywhere from a couple drops of milk to 2oz (on average around 1oz). I've tried to pump after every feeding, but the pump hurts my nipples so I've been slacking . We're currently supplementing around 10oz a day (usually around 6-7oz of formula and 2-3oz of breast milk). My son's weight gain is much improved, he's up to 9lbs 6oz now and gains on average 1 1/2 oz per day.
I am, of course, happy about the weight gain, but simultaneously I feel incredibly depressed about not being able to exclusively breastfeed. I feel like I'm failing my son because my body cannot get the most natural thing in the world figured out. My husband and I have tried to cut back on the formula several times, but every time we do LO will have episodes in the afternoon and at night where he fusses and cries at the breast until he has an all-out tantrum. Not wanting to starve our baby, we end up feeding him another bottle after all.
I've been to see an IBCLC-certified lactation consultant several times to figure out whether I was doing something wrong positioning my son when nursing or if LO had any latch issues, since my nipples are taking a beating, but according to the consultant latch and positioning are fine. She did note, however, that LO will only suck actively for about 2 minutes before he starts nibbling on the nipple. She also suggested switch nursing (have been doing that from the get-go) and fenugreek to boost my milk supply, which I have been taking for the last week. I've started leaking a lot more, but haven't noticed an improvement in pumping output or LO's hunger.
Is there anything I can do to hopefully eventually get away from supplementation completely or is it time for me to be realistic and accept that some supplementation may always be necessary for us? I just want to do what's best for my son.