My DD is now just over 4 weeks. She was born 2 weeks early. I am writing as I need words of encouragement or advice. It seems like nursing has been one problem after another, or perhaps all related to the same problem, since the beginning. Nursing has been very painful since first latch, and has not much improved since then. The first problem is that I have very large breasts and small nipples, but I know this is not a huge problem so long as the baby is conditioned, but we are having a hard time getting there.
Looking back, I did not do much research on breastfeeding before birth, as I felt like it would be something that came natural. Little did I know!! I hired a doula who told me she was experienced in lactation, but I learned quickly she was not. She didn't advise me properly on getting enough of my areola in her mouth, and have always had a very shallow latch. My nipples were severely injured that first week, badly bruised and bleeding all the time. The hospital LC was mildly helpful in telling me about basic BF techniques, but not specifics.
Because of the bad latch, my LO did not get enough colostrum in the beginning and lost over a pound (she was just shy of 7lbs at birth), plus my milk did not come in for more than 5 days, even though it was a vaginal birth. Since my milk has come in we have struggled each time we nurse to get a good latch. I spend all my free time researching and watchng videos on how to do this but I still can't get a pain free latch. Maybe every 12 nursing sessions I will get one. I also had a painful blob on my nipple since then that my MW had to pierce with a needle, and several clogged ducts. I suspect it is all related to the fact that my LO is not getting milk out efficiently due to her latch. But then again, I am not that educated in BF.
We can't afford a private lactation consultant, but we found a wonderful woman at Boston Children's Hospital who agreed to see us with no charge briefly. She was able to get my my baby to latch on correctly multiple times. It was wonderful. Since then (more than a week ago) I struggle each time to match that latch. Some times it happens, but mostly it doesn't. The LC confirmed our baby does not have a TT or thrush. Our LO also was just seen by doctor and has gained weight appropriately and appears to be getting enough milk.
So please some words of encouragement, WILL IT GET BETTER eventually with more practice? Even 4 weeks in can I still condition my baby to open wide enough and to get a good latch?
I so badly want BF to be a pleasant experience instead of the dread I feel for the pain my nipples go through.