Bottom Line Up Front: For the last 8 months, my 16 month old "expects" the milk to come instantly when she nurses. I have to use the pump to start the letdown, then she will nurse fine (albeit short because she stops as soon as the letdown slows). I need ideas as to how to "wean" from using the pump to illicit letdown.
Background: My baby has been breastfed since birth. She was a very "fussy" nurser. She took bottles starting at 4 months when I returned to work, but nursed when I was home (never got a bottle when together). She also takes a pacifier to sleep and in the car. At 8 months she really started to struggle with breastfeeding and would latch, unlatch, scream, relatch, repeat, repeat. I could tell she had developed a bottle preference and was frustrated that the milk wasn't instantly letting down. I used the pump to illicit letdown and she would nurse fine. So, we saw an IBCLC who diagnosed her with Tongue and Lip Tie. We also started paced bottle feeding, including "simulating" letdown by making her wait for the milk for 30 seconds or so. She screamed during that time with the bottle too. We had the tongue and lip tie revised and while her latch improved, her patience for waiting for the letdown did not. She continued to scream while we "simulated" letdown with bottles. So, we ditched bottles altogether and went to straw cups. No change. So, here I am, 8 months later (she is 16 months) and I've been using the pump to start a letdown when she wants to nurse for all feedings except middle of the night (she nurses just fine then) and first thing in the morning (she's only gotten frustrated a few times first thing in the morning because she's sleepy). Sometimes, if she's super drowsy and I catch her waking from her nap, and she doesn't get too distracted she will nurse normally upon waking. Never when fully awake or falling asleep. Those times ALWAYS require the pump. She will actually sign to nurse, latch on for about 15-20 seconds and if no milk comes out she gives up and either goes about doing something else or screams (if she really, really wants milk). She often seems to prefer the pacifier to the breast, and she has never been a comfort nurser. I have always breastfed on demand, and never limited her access to the breast. I have never sleep trained and encourage nightime nursing. I would really like to get off using the pump to start the letdown. Any suggestions????