Never in a million years did I anticipate that my commitment to breastfeeding would be a million times harder than my commitment to a pain med free birth.
Everything we try works briefly, then stops working or something new doesn't work.
My now six and a half week old son was born with tongue tie and a high palate. We had his frenulum clipped after a week or so and have worked with two lactation consultants ongoingly. We've tried various positions and letting him latch himself. We've tried nipple shields. We've tried breaking his latch whenever it's painful and we've tried letting him just do his thing.
For two weeks, from age four weeks to age six weeks, my son's latch worked, and it was such a wonderful experience to feed him during that time. Not only for the connection, but for the ease that it provided to our lives. Outings were suddenly no problem, I felt human again, and began to feel that this whole parenting thing was manageable. My nipples started to heal.
Then suddenly there were a couple of nights that went poorly...his latch became occasionally shallower. My nipples started looking and feeling angry again. He has difficulty taking the Playtex Natural Latch bottle (the only bottle we're willing to give him right now, since it was actually seemingly responsible for him figuring his latch out one day when I had reached my wit's end and we introduced the bottle while I took a break that day), and pumping - even with the correct size flanges - hurts my breasts, so the occasional relief bottle doesn't feel like much of a relief and the fall back of exclusive pumping that I once pictured if we can't get things moving with his latch no longer sounds any better than trying to feed him with raw nipples.
And then today, a new twist. In the past, my oversupply seems to have meant that no matter how he latched on, he got food. No longer. The shallow, tip of my nipples latch he suddenly favors (yes, I'm making a breast sandwich for him, waiting for him to open wide, etc, etc, it's just no longer working with any consistency) is only getting him milk for the first few minutes of a feeding.
It's the middle of the night and my son and I just both had a massive breakdown. He kept trying to latch and relatch himself, frustrated by the lack of milk. I kept trying to help him, frustrated by the feeling that I am failing him even though I know I'm doing everything I can to make this work. Both of us ended up wailing together.
My husband is patiently trying to give him a bottle of expressed milk in the living room right now. With my son, this could take several hours.
My lactation consultant is on vacation this week.
This is just not what I had ever expected breastfeeding to be like.