Hi, I'm a first time Mom, and have had a rocky start to breastfeeding with my daughter. Her latch was very painful from the start, and by day 4 my nipples were cracked and bleeding. I saw an IBCLC, who noticed that she had a severe tongue and lip tie, and, when we weighed her before and after feeding, actually wasn't transferring any milk. I saw a pediatric dentist, who corrected both ties, at 9 days old. In the meantime, I was exclusively pumping and feeding her with a SNS tube on my finger, which she was able to suck. For the first few days, since she hadn't actually been removing any milk up to that point, I was still only producing colostrum, and not enough. So, for about 3-4 days, we had to supplement with formula, before my supply finally increased (around day 8 or so).
I worked with the IBCLC on her latch after the tongue tie revision, and it took her about 3-4 days to really get a good one that didn't hurt, and where she was transferring well. I've since been going to breastfeeding support groups weekly, where I can continue to weigh her before and after feeds to make sure she's taking in enough, and for the last little over a week we've been exclusively breast feeding, no more supplementation.
Now, however, we're seeming to have the opposite problem, in that I think I may have a strong let down and she's getting too much at once. Almost every time she latches on my left side, after sucking for a few moments, she pops off and chokes, coughs, and gasps for air. I sit her up, and pat her back until it passes, then she re-latches. It may happen 2-3 more times then during the duration of the feed. I've also noticed that, on both sides, she seems fussier while nursing. She'll make a kind of straining, grunting sound, and pull her head back (usually while still clamped down on the nipple), or flail her hands. I can also hear her clicking a few times in the early part of the feed, which is totally new for her, but I usually also see milk pooling around and out the sides of her mouth during these points, so I'm assuming she's just getting too big of a mouthful and is breaking her suction because of this. I can also audibly hear her swallowing and her stomach gurgling while she's feeding, and it sounds like a lot of air being taken in.
Many times a day, she also seems to be uncomfortable with what I'm thinking might be gas pains. She grunts and strains, drawing her knees up to her chest, then thrusting her legs out. She'll even turn red in the face and really look like she's straining. This can happen before feeds, after, when she wakes up from a nap, or sometimes during feeds. Sometimes, after a bunch of straining, she'll poop, and then seems relieved. Sometimes she'll just pass gas, and this doesn't seem to relax her as much. I'm worried that, with the fact that she's now choking on my let down and regularly seems to be taking in so much air, these are gas pains she's struggling with, but I'm not sure how to correct the issue.
Since I've been able to exclusively breast feed her, I've stopped pumping altogether, hoping to just let my supply get regulated to her demand now. She was eating about every 2 hours during the day and 3 hours overnight, but lately she's switched those. She now sleeps for slightly longer stretches during the day (can easily go 3 hours without waking if I let her), and wakes every 2 hours, almost on the dot, for overnight feeds. I'd love to switch these around again, but had also been wanting to go by her schedule and not try to alter it too much.
Any advice on what I can do to help with this? Does this sounds like gas pains? If so, how can I help her get some relief?
Also, does it sound like I have an overactive letdown, or might her choking, or breaking suction while nursing now be something else? I don't ever see anything spraying out when she pops off, and I've never been able to feel my own letdown, so I don't know if it coincides with that. She has been gaining quite a bit recently though, nearly a pound in the last week alone, but I was also thinking that might be still making up for what she lost in the beginning, not having taken anything in the first 4 days, and getting less after until we started supplementing.
Any thoughts appreciated, and sorry this is so long!!