Re: 2 weeks in and trouble
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby!
When a new mom is having latch problems, the best thing she can do is to get hands-on help from a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. She needs to see someone who understands that a latch can look great on the outside and still be crappy on the inside. Someone who is willing to help her with positioning. Someone who knows how to check the baby for tongue and lip ties. Preferably someone who will do a before-and-after-nursing weight check to help determine whether or not the baby is capable of feeding effectively. Someone who can help mom with a nipple shield, if using one is indicated. Someone who can help mom with pumping if that needs to be part of her routine.
You can find IBCLCs in the phone book (sometimes), through your pediatrician, or through your local LLL.
If it's expensive, eat the cost- it's cheaper than a year's worth of formula. If money is an issue, it may help to ask if you can pay a reduced or spread-out fee- many LCs will do this because they like helping moms and babies more than they like making money, thank goodness!
To answer your specific questions: yes, age, experience, and size are all very important to a baby's ability to nurse. Things should get better if mom can just hang in there long enough- but don't expect everything to get better at a predefined time. Just hanging in there until 6 weeks may be all it takes to get breastfeeding sorted- but it could take longer. That's why it makes sense to get professional help now.
Lots of moms have used bottles early on and gone on to exclusively nurse, myself included. But bottles are a risk- a lot of babies do get hooked on them and start refusing to nurse- and you want to limit their use if possible. But this has to be a choice that mom makes- it's her nipples getting hurt, after all, and that's an incredibly painful experience. Only she knows whether or not she can persist.
Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"