Our daughter was born on 12/28. I tried to nurse with an LC within 2 hours after birth, and she did latch on a little bit, but not for very long. She was relatively alert for just being born, and was trying so hard to "get it". I tried to nurse her again a few hours later, and had the same sort of issues that appeared typical while we're both learning. She was so sleepy we couldn't get her to wake to nurse for more than a few minutes while we were in the hospital on the following 2 days. We found out it was because her bilirubin was too high, which made her very, very sleepy. I asked about pumping at the hospital to help my supply come in, but the nurses sort of ignored that and were too focused on getting her to wake up and nurse. I began to get concerned that she wasn't getting ANY nutrition with her jaundice, so we gave her formula twice before being discharged.
We were discharged on time despite her nursing and jaundice issues (bilirubin at 10.1 at discharge), and the next day (12/31) her bilirubin skyrocketed to 17.4 and we had to get a photoelectric blanket for her at home to help with the jaundice and to reduce her bilirubin. She was on the blanket until 1/2 and I was pumping since she wouldn't wake to nurse. She was getting formula supplements through an SNS during this time so she could try to nurse a little bit at least. She wouldn't latch, so I was using a shield to aid her. Her latch with the shield is now pretty good in the cradle, football, and sideliner positions.
On Friday, we met with our LC and nursed her and she got almost 3 ounces total in one session (yea!!) and I nursed her at home (still with the shield). The next time I nursed her, she wouldn't nurse more than 5-7 minutes on each side and was still hungry when we were done, so we supplemented with a bottle of formula. I tried pumping a few hours later to see how much I was getting, and after about 7 minutes, my milk ran out. I went from building my supply to getting not even an ounce combined in 15 minutes of pumping. Yesterday I tried drinking more water and began pumping only to see how much milk I was producing in 15 minutes. The left is between 0.8 and 1 ounce and the right is between 0.3 and 0.5 ounces. So for the last 24 hours, I've been pumping, measuring and recording each side, and then giving this to her through a bottle at the next feeding and supplementing with formula.
I feel like I'm in an endless cycle now. My colostrum/milk supply is down, so she wants nothing to do with nursing (no incentive - I don't blame her!!) I don't know what to do to increase my supply so I can try to breastfeed normally. I am OK using the shield until we work through those issues, but right now I just want to get my supply back up so I know she's getting enough and can stop relying on pumping for every meal! I have another appointment to work with the LC on her latch this week, but my main concern now is getting my supply up so I can really start to breastfeed her normally.
Any advice on increasing my supply? How often should I pump and for how long? Right now I'm doing ~ every 3 hours and for 15 minutes (both sides at the same time). I'm afraid the longer it takes to get my milk in and get her back to breastfeeding, the harder it will be. Taking a bottle is pretty effortless for her right now and I'm afraid it's going to be too late if we have to keep supplementing with a bottle. (The SNS system was great at first, but then the tubing stopped working properly and the pressure was building up so much that she wasn't getting any formula to come out when she was sucking. We don't know what happened there, but it stopped working properly so we quit using it!)