I had a 6-week premature son in December. I was instructed to double pump every 3 hours to maintain my milk supply until he was ready to breastfeed directly... For about a month I was mostly pumping, occasionally attempting to breastfeed directly but having to supplement with a bottle after due to a very sleepy baby and poor suck.
Anyway, by 4 weeks, I had enough of the pumping (very sore nipples and tired of sanitizing all the equipment all day long). With the help of the nipple shield, I was able to switch over to exclusive breastfeeding within a couple of days. My son was latching on well and after a couple more weeks, I was able to ditch the nipple shield. All seemed well for a very short period of time...
Then the colic began, he was spitting up excessively, always hungry, very gassy, crying all the time, explosive green stools, etc... After reading an article on the LLL website, I realized I had an oversupply and he was getting too much foremilk. So I tried feeding one breast at each feeding, and then when that didn't work, one breast every other feeding (i.e. 2 feedings at one breast) and block feeding. This worked wonders and my son's crying fits stopped, for another very short period of time.
Then severe latch-on problems began... Every time I came to breastfeed, the baby would be crying for HOURS trying to latch on. Silly me, I didn't realize it was because the block feeding was causing my breasts to become too full to latch on.... not until 2 months after this misery began did I make the connection.
So I stopped block feeding and went back to one breast every feeding. Again, things got better temporarily... yes, he did start becoming gassy again, spitting up more, having explosive poops, and crying a little more from what appeared to be stomach cramps... but I'd trade this any day rather than deal with the latch-on problems. I was ecstatic... I thought my breastfeeding problems were all over. I had a good few weeks.
Then yesterday, my son, who usually eats every 30 to 60 minutes, took one of the longest naps he ever took in his almost 4-month life - 3 hours! Great, huh? Not really... while I did manage to get some things done around the house... when he did wake up, he couldn't latch on to either breast because they were so full. I ended up having to go back to the dreaded pump to empty them enough for him to latch on. In response, my breasts have become even fuller and one of them has a large painful clogged duct. I feel like I did during the engorgement days after birth. Now, the baby's really getting the foremilk and is having the worst gas/spitting up problems to date AND the latching problems returned.
I don't know what to do anymore. It seems there is no happy medium. I feel all alone. No one I know that breastfeeds has ever had such problems. Is it because of all the initial pumping I did when my son was first born? I don't know. All I know is that I'm extremely frustrated but don't want to give up. I was planning on breastfeeding for 2 years but have already encountered so many problems. Anyway, since block feeding is not going to work given the subsequent latch-on problems, has anyone tried alternative methods to reducing oversupply, like sage? If so, did it work for you? Any pitfalls I should worry about?
Any tips/advice would be appreciated.