Re: EBF not working - baby not thriving
Welcome and congratulations on the new baby girl! I am sorry her arrival had to be so scary. Have you fully recovered from the HELLP? And the c-section? The postpartum period is hard enough under optimal conditions, let alone when a mom is recovering from major abdominal surgery and a life-threatening illness.
It sounds like you have done the right thing for your little girl: you've gotten her fed. I totally agree that with a baby as tiny as yours, there's not much room for experiment.
I know you hate pumping- believe me, I do too!- but if you want to maintain your milk supply and keep breastfeeding in the realm of possibility you absolutely have to keep removing your milk at regular intervals. What sort of pump do you have? Sometimes the right pump can make an enormous difference in how comfortable pumping is, and in how much milk you can remove at a time.
If you haven't yet been to see a lactation consultant, preferably one with the IBCLC credential, I urge you to see one as soon as possible. A good LC will be able to help you find the right pump and the correct breastshields, can give you pumping tips, can help you get your baby back to the breast, and can give you latch and positioning tips that may make nursing more effective. You may also want to rent a professional-grade baby scale- that way you can weigh your baby before and after nursing to see how much she has taken in, and can evaluate her weight on a day-to-day and even a feeding-to-feeding basis.
It certainly sounds as if your baby is experiencing some nipple confusion. This is not too surprising considering how many bottles your baby has been getting and considering that your milk supply has dwindled, so I think it's vital that you start pumping again. (I know! I know! It's awful! ) Once your milk is more abundant, your baby may be more willing to nurse. You may want to consider supplementing at the breast, using a supplemental nursing system (SNS) instead of the bottle. That way your baby will learn that all her meals come from the breast, and won't become hooked on bottles. Also, she will stimulate your milk supply even as she feeds from the SNS tube. A good LC should be able to help you with the SNS.
When I was supplementing via bottle, one thing that I think helped my baby avoid nipple confusion was to make bottlefeeding as much like breastfeeding as possible: when it was time to giver her a bottle, I would open my shirt, cuddle her close to my bare chest, tickle her lips with the bottle nipple, and then put it into her mouth only when she had opened really wide. That way she didn't learn lazy latch habits from getting a bottle slipped into a half-open mouth.
Hang in there! If you can get the right help and really commit yourself to making this work, I do not doubt that you can have the same fulfilling breastfeeding relationship with your new baby that you had with your first 2 kids.
Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"