First of all, Hi I'm new to the boards
On Sept. 30th I gave birth to my first child, a baby boy. He was born at 32 weeks, 4lbs 6 and had an almost 4 week stay in the NICU with very few complications (which we're so thankful for). He's now 5 weeks old (actual age) and 5lbs. We're now all together at home but I'm having some real breastfeeding issues with him.
I started pumping when I was in the hospital, I've never had a problem with my supply (approx 3 ounces every 3 hours, which I understand is normal) and I continued pumping throughout his stay. When he was in the hospital the doctor and nurses assured me that he needed to use a bottle so that he could learn his suck, swallow, breathe motions. They had to measure how much he was eating, so I wasn't allowed to breastfeed him. Being a first time mother and not really knowing a great deal about breastfeeding I thought this would be okay.
I was allowed to breastfeed him for the first time 3 days before he left the hospital. It seemed to go well, he fed for 20 minutes on one side, 10 on the other and then finished off with 30ml in a bottle. I breastfed him a further 4 times before we left the hospital. Each of these times was with a nipple shield because I was told that my nipples were too small.
Since we have been home he will not breastfeed. I tried it with the nipple shield but he just didn't like it and kept knocking it off. I gave up with that and tried without. Turns out my nipples aren't too small after all and he fed well the first time. Since then I have tried to gradually increase his breastfeeding sessions in an attempt to get him off of the bottle. Now he just cries whenever I put him to the breast, he kicks me and squirms and refuses to stay latched for more than a few seconds.
I get upset, sometimes cry, and just give up and give him the bottle. He gulps it down as if he's not eaten for a week. He's been gaining weight on the bottle and I am scared that if I keep trying to push the breast onto him that he will start to lose weight because he's not getting enough.
I've considered just pumping for him and giving him EBM in a bottle at every feed, but I have to give back my rented pump this week and I can't afford to buy an electric one myself (I have a manual pump though). I don't want to give him formula.
I am just really upset because I was really looking forward to breastfeeding him and now I just dread his reaction every time I try.
I don't want to give up but I don't know what to do.