I hope some of you experienced mommies can help!
First some background:
I am b/f my LO (nearly 4 weeks old) on demand. She was last weighed at 2 weeks old and had gained 500g. Generally she produces a 'healthy' number of soiled nappies (at least 5 wet ones and at least 2 poos).
Early on she would fall asleep after 5 minutes on the breast - so we got into the habit of waking her with a nappy change [as simply tickling her, speaking to her, etc. was not effective]. So now she typically feeds at the breast - heavily, such that I can hear her swallowing regularly - for 5 to 10 minutes, then comes off [sometimes falling asleep, sometimes not]...then I attempt to offer her more after some other activity for 15-20 minutes.
I have 4 main concerns:
1) The latch
I thought we were doing okay with latching during this initial 5-10 minute feed as she seemed to drink deeply and I am not in any undue nipple pain. However, she almost always makes sucking noises like the clicking when you snap your tongue on the roof of your mouth- and my Health Visitor said that she is not latched properly. I just thought she was noisy...but have since lost confidence that we've even got the basis right! Does anyone else have a noisy eater...or must I have a latch problem if all else seems ok?
Is is normal to have multiple 'nips' at the breast in a single feed as I am doing (e.g. she almost never actively feeds more than 20 minutes at the breast, but it might take repeated attempts (on & off the breast) over a course of an hour + to get her to take that much). Is this normal or could she really be done after that initial 5-10 minute feed?? [see below]
This is my biggest concern as the frequency is increasing. After the initial [usually successful] feed of 5-10 minutes on the breast, often when I return her to the breast to take more - she 'fights' me: clawing her arms, whining/crying, and moving her head from side to side. Although it sounds like she simply doesn't want to feed - there are other signals that she does: I only return her to the breast if she had been rooting or otherwise making mouth motions to suggest she is still hungry. Sometimes after grappling for a few minutes we do succeed with a latch and she does drink more.
This is really upsetting because I feel like she wants more and I am not feeding her properly. Sometimes I give up because she gets too upset and agitated...other times she will latch on again and feed another 5 minutes or more.
I am reasonably confident that the breast is not empty. My Health Visitor diagnosed the problem [based on my description, not witnessing it] as gas, so I have made extra efforts to burp her repeatedly during feeding...but the problem persists.
4) Night feeds
My LO feeds about every 2 hours, including at night. She co-sleeps with us [by necessity - as we are also having problems with her sleep behaviour!] and I feed in bed with us both lying on our sides. During these night feeds (typically 4 per night) she only ever takes the 5-10 minute full-on initial feed, before falling back to sleep. Unlike during the day, I don't try to wake her to take more...as we both need our sleep!
Are these feeds too short for her to get what she needs??
Sorry for so much information, but I'm concerned that - at nearly 1 month - I still haven't established breastfeeding with my LO.