I just discovered this forum today and have browsed some of the other posts and all of the responses are so helpful and supportive I was hoping to get some custome tailored advice/opinions on my situation.
My 2nd son was born 10 weeks premature and was hospitalized for 40 days (5 1/2 weeks). During his time in the hospital I pumped aprox. 8 times a day using an Ameda Purely Yours pump at home and the Ameda Elite pump when at the hospital and was able to establish a decent supply - not the 25 ozs in 24 hours that the hospital LC said I should have, but still good. For several different reasons my little guy wasn't put to the breast until just a few days before he was discharged and even then it was only once or twice a day.
Now that we are home and he is 6 1/2 weeks old I am trying to settle in to a good routine that will teach him to accept the breast instead of the bottle and also keep my supply up while he learns. I have been facing a few problems that I'm not sure how to help. 1st. I have relatively flat nipples - the do protrude a little bit and will go further after pumping but it seems to make it difficult for him to feel the nipple in his mouth and if I am too full he can't seem to get a mouth full at all. Also if I pump for a few minutes and then put him to the breast the nipple almost immediately goes back to "normal". 2nd. I have VERY large breasts (42 G currently) and compared to his tiny 4 lb body they are just hard to handle. It seems like he can barely fit the nipple itself into his mouth, let alone any portion of the areola. 3rd. He doesn't often get a good latch - probably due to all of the afore mentioned issues - with a sylicone nipple shield we have gotten a good latch a few times and he will suckle for just a few minutes and then fall asleep. Sometimes he will refuse to open up for the breast, or he will shake his head when I offer it. *sigh*
Sorry, this has turned into a rambling post... I guess I'm mainly wondering if all of these are normal things that will be over come by practice and time or if there is something more proactive that I can do to help.
Also, since he has been home, I have reduced my pumping to match his feeding schedule (6 times a day) and I produce almost twice what he takes at each feeding. I have started to "slack" off and skip pumping at one or two feedings in the past couple days. If my supply drops because of this will it build back up to match his demand once he is actually feeding from the breast? Or do I really need to get my act together and pump at least as often as he feeds?
Thanks in advance for any help, advice, tips or sympathetic "I've been theres" anyone can offer. I really want to have a successful nursing experience with this little guy but the schedule is just so grueling that it's breaking me down and the fact that despite my best efforts he isn't really nursing yet is very discouraging...