I'm trying to joke about it because this issue has me in tears on the daily.
I don't know if this is a breastfeeding issue or a parenting issue, but I'm in desperate need of advice (and reassurance and strong-mama vibes). My first child, a son, is 17 weeks old (but he was born three weeks post-date) and has been EBF since he was six weeks. My milk came in late and slow, I still take domperidone as well as therapeutic doses of fenugreek and blessed thistle. He was 8lbs11oz at birth (I had an IV), went down to 7lbs15oz, and today weighs 14lbs8oz, which the doctor says is an appropriate growth curve. (He was in outpatients today for a mild fever, but no sign of any ear/throat/urinary tract infection.) He has lots of wet diapers and typically has bowel movements every other day, but the past four days have seen lots of small, green, mucous poops. The doctor was unconcerned about this, and believes he has a cold. He did have one good big brown-yellow poop today, so I'm also not too worried.
He has been teething for the past month, no teeth yet and the doctor said none were close to erupting. He has been nursing CONSTANTLY for a good week, typically hourly. This month has also seen his longest average sleep drop from 3-4 hours to 1-2 hours. He doesn't fall asleep easily anymore, not even content to be nursed to sleep, lots of back-arching and grunting and wailing, but he wants to nurse all the time. I end up doing a lot of rocking and shushing and nursing while he bobs on and off my nipple in between cries. IT'S UNSPEAKABLY FRUSTRATING. He has always had an incredibly strong impulse to suck, and he used to accept a pacifier but now refuses it. We bedshare, though I had intended on using a co-sleeper, to facilitate the constant comfort nursing and though I can side-nurse, I can't sleep once he finishes the let-down and constantly latches and unlatches. He does not always fall back asleep, and the wrestling starts again.
His wakes, six, seven, eight times a night, sometimes more.
We have experimented (for four days each)with cluster feeding before bed (every half hour for four hours before bedtime) and with a bottle of formula before bed. We experimented with putting him down in a different room, with sleeping in a swing, his carseat, and on his belly. Nothing resulted in longer sleep. When my partner takes him for long walks in a carrier on the weekend he can go quite contentedly for three hours+ without nursing.
In desperation, I read the Baby Whisperer and have come to realize that I was letting him stay up too long in between naps, and that we should have a strong bedtime routine and a flexible schedule. I have also realized that he is unable to self-soothe. So my fear is that the constant nursing is a sleep association, but I also can't justify not on-demand nursing and allowing comfort nursing for my teething/possibly growth-spurting little guy.
I'm miserable, exhausted, and coming close to wanting to give up on my hard-won breastfeeding. I've slept in spurts of an hour and forty-five minutes for the past four weeks. My partner has a medical condition that requires him to have a good, solid sleep schedule and he cannot help in the night even though he desperately wants to. He sleeps in the spare room and I miss him. I have zero luck with pumping, even back when I used the hospital-grade double-pump, and hand expression yields 10-20 mls, at best. And, just for fun, one breast never really kicked up the milk production (I suspect hypoplasia, and there is a wierd duct on the areola?) and so I'm walking through life as a zombie-mom with comically lopsided tits.
Is this baby ever going to sleep? Will solids possibly help, or am I setting myself up for disappointment? Am I making everything worse by letting him always nurse to sleep? Why is he behaving like he's hungry at the breast, when it seems like he's getting enough? What's with the latching/unlatching?
Please please. Help! Tell me it gets better. LIE IF YOU HAVE TO.