I'm 35 weeks pregnant with my second child and I would love to be able to breastfeed. However I had a very bad experience with my first daughter and I have to say that I am very skeptical and I do not have my husband's support this time since he saw me how miserable I was in the past and he is not willing to go through the crying and sleepless days. I'll try to be as brief as possible.
Before my first daughter was born, the nurse practitioner (also lactation consultant) at my doctor's told me that I had flat nipples. The nipples come out when I press them but they are very small.
My daugher was born and right for the beginning we could tell that she was going to be a temperamental baby with no pacience whatsoever. I keep hearing that babies are very sleepy when they are born and I wish mine would have been like that. She cried constantly. As you can imagine that didn't help either.
I tried to breastfeed within an hour after being born but she wouldn't latch on. The nurse tried with me unsuccessfully. When they transfered me to the room, we tried again and again. My daughter was born at 3pm and it was about 8pm and she had not latch on yet. At this point the nurses suggested to start pumping and giving her the colostrum with my finger and a thin tube and to wait for the lactation consultant to come to see me the following day.
After this feeding, another nurse starting her shift and she told me to give my daugther the next feeding with a dropper. By the way, in the meantime my daughter was crying and crying. After giving her some more colostrum, my daughter was still crying. I was exhausted and ready to go to sleep but yet she would not fall asleep. The nurse suggested to give her sugar water with a dropper. And that's what we did. The whole night we spent pumping and feeding her sugar water and colostrum. I didn's sleep at all. The nurse would keep telling me that the baby was hungry but now I wonder how can this be??? I gave her all my colostrum, a lot in fact!! (I never had problems with my milk supply later on either). I thought that babies are supposed to be okay with just colostrum, so why the crying???
At any rate, we started the following day with another nurse and we went back to the finger feeding. At this point my pediatrician came by and she said that the baby was hungry and I had to start supplementing with formula. So the routine was pumping, feeding colostrum and formula. The lactation consulant never showed up because she was too busy with other patients. I tried to latch the baby on as much as I could but she was very angry all the time and no willing to cooperate. This was a full time job. I didn't sleep, I didn't have time to eat, it was a nightmare.
The second day the lactation consultant came by and she tried and tried. She tried the breast shield, she tried the lactation aid to supplement the baby when she was latched on. (yes, latched on for five seconds before crying again...). The lactation consultant was not helpful at all. The opposite if I'm honest. She got my baby angrier and she suggested unrealistic feeding procedures. She even said "your mom will hold here, your husband will hold there, and that's it!" and at that point I was so exhausted that I was even rude to her like saying "sure, and you expect me to do this when my mom goes back home and my husband goes back to work??". It was simply ridiculous!
So here I was pumping every two hours. That same day the pediatrician came back again to see the baby and she said that the baby got jaundiced because she didn't have enough to eat, to increase the formula. What the heck?? So how babies survived thousand years ago? So colostrum leaves them hungry AND jaundiced?? I could not believe it! Anyway, "she was the doctor" so we listened. We increased the formula and we went home. At home, the same thing. Pumping every two hours with a crying baby (thanks god my mom was still with me so I could pump comfortably) then I would give her my milk and in no time I was able to stop supplementing because my milk came in big quantities.
One thing changed at this point, though: "Mom, bring a bottle, I'm done feeding her with my finger!". That's it. The deal was sealed. I became an "exclusively pumper". I never thought I would end up there. I bought the best pump I could find at BabiesRUs and returned the rental I got in the hospital. My milk was the least of my problems. The problem was dedicating my 24 hours to this deal.
To make everything worse, my daughter ended up being colicky so I dealt with colic and pumping for three months. I that point I gave up. The colic went away and so did the pump.
Please, please, please... what did I do wrong????
The only thing I can think of is that it was unfortunate to have a very fussy baby and flat nipples. I also think that everyone around me worried me too much about losing my milk and I ended focusing more on "pumping" than "latching". It became a vicious cycle. The more I pumped, the less time I had to work on the latch because the baby would be already in the background asking for food. It was a job around the clock. Non stop. Pump, feed, clean pump, pump, feed, clean pump...
So, why on earth would I go again through this? My husband says he will go to live with his parents if I attempt to pump exclusively and I told him not to worry because that's not going to happen. I told him that I'm going to try to breastfeed (I know better how the latch works now thanks to Kellysmom website which is great...) but if that doesn't work I will not pump. Not even for a day, not even for a minute. It is breast or I will request a bottle of formula.
Please, can someone suggest a better plan? I would like someone to tell me something like "Plan A: do this, Plan B: do that...". I can't go through this again. Even if I have an easy baby now, I also have a toddler to take care of. How am I going to do it again? No way! Please help!