To give you a little background, my baby was born 6 weeks premature and was in the NICU for 12 days. He was given mostly the bottle while there. I was only allowed to nurse him once a day and I was not very successful at getting him to latch. I have been pumping ever since he was born. He is now about 2 months adjusted (it's been three months since he was born) and ever since I brought him home I have been trying to nurse him and it has been very difficult. Lactation consultants told me he had just gotten used to the bottle and that's why he had trouble nursing. He wouldn't open wide and would fall asleep quickly. He clamped down on my nipple and made me sore and lipstick shaped. I always secretly hoped that he had a tongue tie, because I heard that snipping it could make things better instantly, but I was told he didn't have one.
Now I nurse him as much as a I can during the day and I pump 4 times a day. Nursing still isn't comfortable, but it doesn't make me as sore as before. It's definitely tolerable. However, my baby doesn't get on very deep and during letdown when he's feeding he often loses suction and sort of pops off. He reattaches immediately and keeps sucking, but his latch is usually even more shallow after this. He also doesn't take in very much usually. I rented a scale to see how much he takes, and he usually gets somewhere between 1.5-2 ounces and then he sort of stops, even though I have loads of milk. Sometimes he does take more, especially when I push him a little by putting him on multiple time in a row (he's gotten 4 ounces once, but mind you I had a huge supply then so it came out very easily). With the bottle he will take 3 ounces or more.
I went to see Maryanne Ohara of Seattle Breastfeeding Medicine. She is supposed to be one of the best in the city. She diagnoses and clips tongue ties. Well, she thinks my baby has a significant lip tie and that it quite possibly could be contributing to his difficulties. My husband hates the idea of cutting our baby and I don't like the idea either, especially since there's no guarantee that it will even help. I'm thinking of just continuing as is and hoping it will work out. Is his intake okay? Right now I have an oversupply, so it concerns me that he never gets the hindmilk, because he drinks so little and I have so much milk. If I stopped pumping would my supply regulate down to meet his needs better? Dr. Ohara said she thought I would lose my supply because he isn't an efficient nurser, but I have my doubts. I think maybe we'd be okay, but I'm scared to try, because what if I lose my supply and there's no turning back?
One other important thing to note is that I only nurse him on the left breast, because my right breast has been damaged by the pump and it has always been more painful to put him on that breast. I'm not even sure how to latch him on that side. I've tried recently and it felt so awkward, because I'm not used to it. And I'm still red and sore on the right nipple, because I'm still pumping it. I'd be willing to exclusively nurse my baby on the left breast only. I don't mind that I would be lopsided. But I would feel more confident about exclusively nursing and stopping pumping if I could heal the right breast and learn to nurse on that side as well.
This is such a long post. Hopefully someone will read it. Any input?