I don't know where else to turn.
I have a 4 month old daughter who does not seem to like nursing. When she was born, she nursed normally... But we noticed right away that she wanted to keep sucking NOT at the breast. Well, this was brand new. I have six children (!) so this isn't my first time at the rodeo-- all prior children have nursed successfully, unscheduled, on demand and without any use of bottles or pacifiers EVER. I was happy to pacify at the breast as needed. I have experienced many bf'ing problems before and worked through them because I'm a huge proponent of breast feeding.
This baby is very, very different. She would get mad if I tried to meet her sucking need by latching her on... so I started out by popping my pinky finger upturned in her mouth. Instant happiness. I didn't like to do this but over the next few weeks it happened more and more, her wanting the pinky and not the breast. At about a month, while driving one handed, per usual, so the other hand could reach back and stick a pinky in her crying mouth, I thought "Something has to give... this just isn't safe." So I did the unthinkable and bought a pacifier. I've never used one before with any of my babies.
She loved it. I was devastated. I swore I would only use it for car driving or as an 'emergency, last resort' but it quickly became a regular part of her day. She wants it frequently. I always try to nurse her first to make sure she's not hungry, but she prefers the pacifier usually.
She does not eat frequently... every couple hours maybe or even three hours during the day and longer at night even while co-sleeping. This is brand new to me too. All my other kids "snacked" all day long. And when she does nurse, it's for about 7-8 minutes only, then she's done... and she pushes my nipple out. Sometimes she starts fussing after pushing me out until I insert the pacifier.
The problem is even more frustrating because sometimes, I KNOW she's hungry but she refuses to nurse... she prefers the texture of the pacifier so I sometimes start her suckling on that and then have to quickly try to trick her by slipping my nipple in. This works half the time. Other times, it does not and she screams when I try to put my nipple in her mouth. So I put the pacifier back in her mouth where she is instantly relieved but then she continues to cry when she realizes nothing is coming out of the pacifier. Nothing will soothe her at these times. So after fighting her and trying to trick her, and trying various positions, I have to get up and walk around the house shushing her until she calms done enough to be too sleepy to care and then -- and only then-- will she nurse for a few minutes... just long enough to go back to sleep.
And it is exhausting. And it brings me to tears. And it's causing problems because my husband can't get a good nights sleep when she's wailing half the night and he can barely function at work. I've become a coffee drinker for the first time in my adult life just so I can stay coherent during the days. I'm thinking of moving into the spare room with the baby so at least one of us can get some sleep at night.
I don't know what to do. Suck it up and suffer for 2 years? I'm also trepidatious because she's already shown a great interest in food and has started grabbing at what I'm eating! At 4 months! I have never introduced solids prior to 6 months and I try to wait even longer than that when possible.
Please help... this is a horrible feeling and it feels like my bonding is being rejected.
Edit: For context, she is thriving and gaining weight fine. Diapers are normal. She is a generally happy baby.