I could really use some advice to try to help out my wife who is having a very hard time with breastfeeding. I apologize as this is a very long post but I wanted to provide adequate background information.
Our son is currently 10 days old. My wife was induced on August 15th as a result of high blood pressure. I believe she was officially diagnosed as pre-eclamptic. She had a successful delivery that day. We had some initial problems with breast feeding and getting a successful latch but the nurse practitioner at the hospital really helped us out. We went home on the 17th feeling confident that everything was going well.
By the 19th we realized he had not had any stool in his diaper for almost 24 hours and no urine for 12 hours. We called the pediatrician which we had not met yet and they told us to take him straight to the emergency room where we discovered his bilirubin level was approaching dangerous levels and my wife and sone were readmitted to the hospital. In the hospital, they connected my wife up to a breast pump and we discovered that her milk had not yet come in and she was barely producing anything (3 days old at this point). They told us we needed to begin supplementing with formula immediately to help bring his bilirubin levels down. They also had my wife begin pumping regularly.
We returned home on the 20th and began seeking advice on how to increase her milk supply. Her supply has come in at this point but is still not enough to sustain our son without heavy supplementing. Last Thursday, after we finally got out of the hospital and had a chance to meet with our pediatrician for the first time, he made the recommendation that we go 24 hours without breastfeeding to make sure our son was not experiencing breast milk induced jaundice. This was day 7 and while pumping every 3 hours, my wife was only producing around 10 - 15 mL (both breasts). Our pediatrician told us we should be trying to get him 40 - 60 mL worth of milk/formula per feeding at this time.
Last Friday we met with one of the other pediatricians in the practice who verified our son was growing great on formula. We spoke with her about the fact that we really wanted to get back to exclusive breastfeeding and how should we go about doing that. We were given the recommendation to spend the weekend doing exclusive breastfeeding (with pumping after every feeding) every 2.5 - 3 hours with a follow on appointment for today. By Friday night (Saturday 3AM) and being completely unable to put our son down without constant wailing, we realized this wasn't working and that he was starving. We called our pediatrician on call and were advised to supplement with no more than 30mL of formula and only if the baby was inconsolable. We supplemented once and continued to try to make it through the weekend with little success. By today we were back to supplementing at every meal so he would actually be able to sleep afterwards.
Today, we met with the pediatrician again who proposed a new plan. 15 minutes on one breast every 1.5 hours. Supplement with 25 - 50 mL of formula every 3 hours. Pump 3 times a day. When we got home from the visit, we heard back from a lactation consultant my wife found (through this website I believe), who recommended modifying the pediatrician's plan to feed (one breast) every 3 hours, pump (both breasts) after every feeding, and supplement after every feeding.
We implemented this plan and at first were very excited. After feeding for 15 minutes, my wife pumped and got almost 20mL total (with the fed breast contributing very little). This left us very hopeful that we were increasing our supply.
Since then, things have gone downhill. My wife's last pumping about an hour ago produced about 2 mL total of milk despite the fact that one breast had not been fed from in over 3 hours.
My wife is exhausted after 2 hospital stays, attempting to feed on demand while not producing enough for several days, and rapidly growing discouraged. We are on Reglan, taking fenugreek tablets, and trying to do everything we've been advised to do. Our son's latch is steadily getting worse every time we use the bottle (he won't open his mouth wide enough to get the nipple in far enough). My wife's breasts are getting increasingly sore and its not even clear that he's actually get anything of real substance from her.
My wife had her 1 week follow up due to the pre-eclampsia today and her blood pressure was so high, she has to have blood work done and begin taking her blood pressure 3 times a day (with a possible hospital stay if it gets much worse). Not only are we now contending with a poor milk supply but we are also rapidly becoming concerned for my wife's health if she can't get more rest.
We are on the verge of giving up on breastfeeding completely and going strictly formula if we cannot get relief soon. Can anyone please help?
Note: We do have the lactation consultant my wife found through this website coming for a home visit tomorrow. This may completely obviate the need for this post but I did not want to wait any longer before seeking additional advice.