My baby boy was born at 34 weeks. I had planned to breastfeed, but was not very educated about it. He was in the NICU for two weeks. I was encouraged to pump to get my milk supply started from the start, which I did and my baby was fed my milk in a bottle. Pumping has been very hard. It was quite uncomfortable from the start and caused pain on my right nipple. I tried breastfeeding a few times while he was in the NICU, always with a nipple shield. Since he got home, I've been practicing breastfeeding as much as I can manage. I desperately want to switch to exculsive breastfeeding, but it's so difficult when I'm pumping all the time and for some reason I'm so scared to breastfeed. I lack the confidence. I just don't think I'll be able to do it.
Well, I've seen countless lactation consultants and I've been trying to breastfeed more and more. When I see a consultant they are usually really encouraging and tell me I'm doing well. Baby seems to latch fairly well when I'm with the lactation consultants, but when I get home I can't seem to recreate that experience and I get so discouraged and frustrated. Bottom line is that I can't seem to get a deep enough latch. I always feel a painful pinch throughout the whole feeding and the right side is especially painful. My nipple also often has a lipstick shape when he comes off. I think he just doesn't open wide enough. I must admit that I don't wait for him to open wide anymore, because he just never seems to open very wide at all, so I would be waiting forever. I usually just plop him on when he opens up and then just deal with the pain. I don't unlatch him and relatch unless the pain is worse than normal. I just don't see the point because I've never been able to achieve an unpainful latch, so it seems like an unnecessary and fruitless struggle. Maybe I need to try harder, but I'm so exhausted from this whole process and I just want this to click. I want to breastfeed him so badly! I'm not sure what to do. I can handle the pain, but I'm scared that it will get worse (nipples will get cracked and bloody). If the pain were to continue as is I think I could handle it. Is it possible it could just get better with time? (When my nipples toughen up and his mouth gets bigger??)