I wonder if anyone can assist me at all as I am in search of any advice and support I can get at the moment. My son is 8 weeks old and I am currently looking into the possibility of relactating.
I sort of managed to breast feed for the first week only and never established a milk supply - my milk just came in as my son stopped breast feeding and soon diminshed. I really wanted to breast feed but it didn't work out for us. Unfortunately one of my nipples is inverted and the other one is flat but can be pulled out slightly and although I thought I was breast feeding successfully I don't think my son was latching well (as there is nothing to latch onto!) and I could only use a nipple shield on the inverted nipple and quite often had to use one on the flat one too. My milk supply was late and my son lost a pound in weight (he was 7lb 6oz at birth), was constipated and badly jaundiced so he had to have formula or he was going to be admitted to hospital. The midwives didn't suggest that I cup feed rather than bottle feed and after that I never really got him back on the breast despite the help of numerous midwives and a day in hospital being assisted with feeding but he refused to latch on. This really upset me but after trying hard we decided that we would have to switch to formula. I read so much about how to latch him on as I knew we would probably have problems and I thought I had it all sorted when he was born which made me so happy but then it all went wrong.
It has made me even more sad that my son has reacted to formula milk and after trying 4 different milks and upsetting his tummy he is now on lactose free. He is a lot better on this formula but still has some problems such as being very phlemy and snuffly and I blame everything on not being able to breast feed. I have therefore been serioulsly thinking about relactating but I am scared. Scared that I will upset my son even more after he has already had a rough start. Scared that he will never be able to latch on so it won't work anyway, especially as he is so used to bottles and his dummy which helps his tummy pains. Scared that my milk won't come back. Scared that I will waste weeks of our time together pumping to bring up milk supply and it won't even work out!!!
We have now tried SMA Lactose Free which my son seems to have finally settled on. Prior to that we had tried SMA Gold, Aptamil 1 & Cow & Gate Pepti (hydrolised protein) all of which caused him some problems - bloating, wind, cramps, nappy rash etc. Since on the Lactose Free he has had almost no problems with his tummy but I really didn't want him on formula in the first place and the fact he has had problems has made me think about breast feeding again. I know this would be very difficult but I have been looking into it a lot and have also spoken to a local La Leche League leader but I am still after any experienced advice and opinions on my individual situation.
We have an appointment with a paediatrician but that is not for another 2 weeks which could be precious time for me to be pumping to get my milk supply back. I want to try and ascertain if he is cows milk protein and/or lactose intolerant (I understand the latter is very rare although he definitely has some problems with lactose as the lactose free formula has almost cleared his tummy problems which the hydrolised formula didn't fully).
I would say my main concerns are about the latching issues and the possible lactose intolerance although it will all be difficult I know. I really want to do whatever is best for my son, be this trying to relactate for him or maybe it is sticking to formula but I would prefer for him to have my milk as I always hoped? I can still produce a very tiny amount of milk (a few drops) if I stimulate my breasts but I haven't been able to get my son to latch on properly for more than a couple of seconds on my flat nipple only as he is used to the bottle and his dummies which help with the bad tummy cramps he has been suffering from. I understand the other feeding methods but this will be so difficult for us as my son takes up to 6 ozs every 3-4 hours. I would appreciate your advice/opinion on whether relactation is likley to be effective in my circumstances as it is likely I will have to pump only to try and establish a supply before I can even attempt to successfully latch my son to my challenging nipples!
In the mean time I am trying to get my baby to latch on with nipple shields at each feed to try and get him used to the breast again and he is very occasionally sucking for comfort at or towards the end of each feed but is very reluctant and mostly just licks, fusses and cries when I try this. I am also going to buy a Breast Flow bottle from Mothercare tomorrow to see if this is any harder for him to get the milk from than the Dr Browns bottles that we currently have.
I am going to hire a Medela Symphony pump to pump every 3-4 hours or more where possible (I have been so tired out due to my sons problems keeping him awake at night I don't think I can manage more than every 3-4 hours in the night but will do more in the day wherever possible). And I am also going to buy the Medela SNS system in an attempt to encourage him to stay on the breast if I can get him latched on (probably with shileds at least to start with). I am also going to get some More Milk Plus to take. I have a Moby wrap which I am going to start wearing him in with us both undressed and I also am trying more skin to skin including in the bath together which we always do.
I feel a bit like I am fighting a losing battle but that I have to do this for my son or I may regret it!!
I hope you may have some advice, ideas or support for me. It would be lovely to hear from anyone who has had similar experiences too.
Many thanks in advance.