New to the forums, as someone recently suggested I may find some help or suggestions here for my ongoing breastfeeding struggles. I'll try to be concise but it's a long story.
41+2 - LO born after being induced due to high bp, laboring 18 hrs, getting stuck, and getting taken by c-section. Colustrum was in that day, but my milk didn't come in until 5 days later.
First week (hospital)- LO lost quite a bit and had moderate jaundice on day 2. Pediatrician said we needed to supplement with formula to get her system moving and cure the jaundice. I started breastfeeding every 2 hours, followed by pumping and feeding by syringe, followed by supplementing with formula. We had some latch issues because LO wouldn't open her mouth wide enough it seemed, and I worked with LCs twice/day every day I was in the hospital. By the time we left she had a decent latch but I had some minor nipple damage. Left hospital on a Friday at 8 lbs 2 oz
Week 1 checkup- 3 days later, at week 1 checkup, LO was still at 8 lbs 2 oz but pediatrician said I could/should stop supplementing with formula and just breastfeed on demand. Did that all week to an increasingly upset baby who screamed all the time and was doing more and more damage to my nipples causing open wounds and searing pain.
Week 2 checkup- LO was at 8 lbs 3 oz, for some reason ped was not concerned. We told her that LO had been screaming 5-7 hours/day and she said some babies are just fussy (????????). Kept on with BF on demand. LO seemed to latch well and was always eager to breastfeed, but was causing tons of pain and damage.
Week 3- Went to an outpatient LC who said I had far beyond the normal amount of nipple damage and when she weighed LO, she was only 8lb 5 oz. She said due to slow weight gain all the screaming was probably because she was just hungry all the time and I should spend the next week going back to breastfeeding, then pumping and feeding that, then supplementing with formula until LO was full. Also tried a nipple shield but due to the placement of my wounds it was just as painful as direct feeding. So that week I did as directed and LO was a much much much happier baby. But the bf/pump/supplement cycle was killing me. After BF I was generally pumping somewhere around 10-20ml combined from both breasts. No real change over the course of the week. LC also recommended all purpose nipple ointment, which I got an rx for from my midwife and started using that same day.
Week 4- Went to LC appointment and LO was 9 lb 6 oz and LC was thrilled that LO was catching up. LC told me my supply probably just was what it was at that point and wasn't going to increase. At this point my pain with feeding had increase to the point that I was literally clenching and crying with every time LO latched. My wounds were not getting better and were actually getting a little worse. At this point LC said she suspected a posterior tongue tie. Told me to go see a specialist for that, and in the meantime stop BF LO until my wounds healed and just pump/bottle feed. I didn't want to stop BF entirely so I decided to just BF at night and pump during the day. Did that for a week and it worked fine, LO was happy to BF and to bottle feed. Was getting around 30-45ml or so most times I pumped.
Week 5- Still BF at night and pumping during the day. Every day nipples would improve a little, every night they'd get ripped open again. Still using APNO. That Friday we had an appointment with a specialist who diagnosed LO with a posterior tongue tie and a lip tie. Got both clipped by laser. BF immediately after the procedure and she did okay(ish), but that night and through the weekend LO refused to latch onto the breast.
Week 6- Monday AM LC said to take a 24 hour nursing break and try again Tuesday. I did that and LO started latching okay again. Sometimes she would be fussy at the breast but through the week I could always get her latched. Breastfeeding was still painful but not as bad, and she seemed to be doing less damage with each session. I am starting to heal, slowly. Started BF every other or every third session through the day and pumping/bottle feeding otherwise. Still supplementing with formula. (Making at this point around 10-14 oz/day + 3 nursing sessions).
Week 7- Sunday morning LO flipped out at the breast and refused to even try to latch. All through the day she would wail and refuse to nurse-- not even attempting. Monday (yesterday) I talked to the LC and she said she thinks LO has developed a bottle preference and to try a nipple shield but if that didn't work I'd probably have to EP or use a SNS. Neither of which I want to do. I feel like she just gave up on us. I tried using a shield but LO wasn't getting milk, just comfort sucking (no swallowing noises). Today so far we've had two successful breastfeeding sessions and she hasn't flipped out on me at all. I'm still pumping e/o session to try to give my nipples a chance to heal. Feels like maybe the start of a turn around but I'm not sure where to go from here?
I want to know what to do when LO flips out and refuses the breast. I want to know if its possible I could still get my supply up. I want to know if I'm being over-anxious and should BF less to heal faster so I could get back to BF exclusively? Or if I'm being not aggressive enough and should BF every session, wounds be damned.
Any advice would be appreciated. I feel like our LC just gave up on us and I don't want to go back to her at this point.
ETA: a few more details that may be relevant. Prior to starting to see the outpatient LC, LO would nurse for over an hour at a time, every time. When we got to 30-40 min per side I'd pull her off and switch her. The LC said that she was probably burning too many calories trying to nurse for so long without getting much of anything, and also she was not helping my boob situation. She said to nurse no longer than 20 min per side moving forward, so that is what I have been doing. LO almost never pulls off herself unless she is super sleepy and falls asleep. Generally she is still going at 20 minutes on both sides. Also we did weighted feeds at both the 3 and 4 week LC appointments. At both appointments she got 70 ml combined from both breasts. When I pump now (to pump/bottle feed-- not right after a feed) I usually get 60-70ml. So that is double what I was a few weeks ago-- which makes me feel like my supply is not hopeless since it has improved I think.