Hi everyone -
Boy am I glad to have found this website, because first of all I have to say it helps SO MUCH to learn that other people have the same problems I do. I have a number of books on breastfeeding and some days just looking at the illustrations of happy mothers and happy babies peacefully feeding makes me burst into tears. I know it doesn't start out that way, and that it does get better, but it's hard to keep that in mind sometimes.
Anyway, Dorothy was born by C-section 12 days ago, and breastfeeding has been a struggle from the start. There were so many C-sections that day that the nursery didn't get her to me until about four or five hours after birth, and neither of us knew how to nurse well enough to get very far. She was given formula that night, and several times the next couple of days, but over the next few days she lost close to 11 oz, 10% of her birth weight. I saw the hospital's lactation consultant every day after that, and started pumping my milk and bottle-feeding her after trying to breastfeed, and she gained back 2 oz in a day; her first doctor's appointment was last Wednesday, and she had gone from 6lbs 2.9oz at discharge to 6 lbs 6 oz in the two days since leaving the hospital. I think she's gaining weight alright now, and we're off formula entirely. I'm pumping regularly but trying to limit bottle-feeding to only one or two a day.
My right breast has an inverted nipple, and Dorothy has never been able to nurse on it (I do most of my pumping on that side);
Despite all my efforts, we have latch-on problems no matter what position I'm in - she seems to have learned to clamp down. We started with the football hold and that got too painful so I started over with the cross-cradle hold; that started out very well but now she's clamping on that one, too. Is this something she'll grow out of? Is it too late to teach her to stop, and how?
She seems to be having enough wet diapers, but the past few days the number of wet diapers seems to have gone down in comparison with the number of poopy ones. She poops nearly as much as she pees, and sometimes it seems like more. She also can be rather gassy, despite burping.
She can be very hard to get onto the breast, and once she's there, I'll get a good few first minutes of sucking and swallowing but then I don't hear swallowing anymore even though she seems to be taking long sucks. She'll stay on for quite a while on her own, just sucking, until she falls asleep and the nipple falls out of her mouth; but when I move her, she is clearly still hungry and usually starts rooting again or chewing her hands.
She also cluster feeds, usually from about 7 pm until 10 or so, then wakes up about two to three hours later for the first late feeding. Much of the time I have to give her a bottle at least once in the night or she won't go back down.
That's most of the problems, or the ones I can think of right now; I'm sure my positioning isn't quite right, but I'm most worried about the initial suck-swallow and the lack of it later. I can't really afford regular meetings with a lactation consultant and I'm not sure what to do... I wish I could see what's going on inside her mouth and my breast so I could be sure! Any help is appreciated, and I'm so sorry this is so long - I think I had to get everything out.