I almost cried reading your post! I'm going through a similar situation right now. It seems like one obstacle after another keeps popping up, and for the last month I've been struggling to get my 15 week old, baby boy to latch on for even a few minutes. Most of the time he screams and arches his back when I try to get him to nurse.
I read that nursing strikes don't last long, so I thought we would get through it but after four weeks I finally called my lacation consultant. I talked with her last Sunday and we set an appointment for this past tuesday; she told me that in the mean time my main goal should be to pump every 3 hours for 15-20 minutes for a total of 6 or 7 times per day.
I also have the Medela Pump in Stlye Advance. I'd already been pumping a little each day, but still...when I started pumping last Sunday I didn't even get 1oz each time...so discouraging.
At our appointment my lac. consultant told me I definitely needed to rent the Symphony pump. She said that it's much more fine tuned to be like actual nursing and that it would make a huge difference. I'm really happy that I rented it because within a couple days I noticed a difference. Like I said, last Sunday I got less than 1oz each time I pumped, a total of five ounces that day, but today (1week later) I've been getting 2 or more. I know it doesn't sound like much but my supply has more than doubled; I got 10.75oz total today vs. 5 a week ago.
Also my consultant brought a Medela starter Suplemental Nursing System for me to use.
You should really check this out...it's been so much help! you attach the feeding container to your bra, and attach a thin tube at your nipple where the baby feeds. When the baby latches on he'll immediately get food from the tube, which makes him stay on and suckle until your flow is stimulated. Also, when he's recieving your milk it will stop coming from the tube.
When I used it with the consultant the first time my son finally latched on and stayed on...he hadn't done that for so long! I could tell when he was getting fed from the Supplemental Nursing System bc my expressed milk (you can also use formula) would bubble inside the feeding tube; when it wasn't "bubbling" it felt good to know he was getting milk directly from me!
The system really encourages the baby to stay latched on, because even when he's not getting milk from you he continues to get it from the tube. The fact that the baby stays on and suckles at your breast is great bc it helps to stimulate your body to produce more milk...and no breast pump could do a better job of that than your baby!
I thinking our nursing problems are very similar, so I'll share what my consultant told me to do:
1. Rent Medela Symphony Pump
2. Pump 15-20 minutes every 3 hours, for a total of 6-7 times a day. You don't have to pump late at night/ wake every three hours to pump; she said when he goes down for his long stretch of sleep at night I should also sleep...plus, your supply is lower at night.
She also said not to stress if there's a rough or busy day when you can only pump 4 or 5 times...just do your best to stay on track.
3. Use Starter Supplemental Nursing System 2-3 times a day. When using the system, if your baby still fusses over nursing make sure you have a bottle within reach so you can sooth him, and once he's relaxed try and get him back on the breast.
Also, if you do buy the kit...
The directions will tell you to place the feeding tube on the top of your breast, so that it comes down over the top of the nipple. However, my consultant has found that with older babies (3+months) it's better that the tubes comes across the side of the breast, and over the nipple from the side...this definitely worked better for me and my son.
You can buy the kit on amazon for $20...besides the Starter Supplemental System that I'm using, there's also one for more long-term use that's a little more expensive.
4. She also said I could try and get him to nurse (without the supplemental system) when he wakes to eat during the night. She said most babies eat less at night, plus they're usually groggy, so even a low supply will sometimes satisfy them. I'm still having trouble with this, so I keep a bottle near by to make sure he doesn't get too upset if I'm not producing enough milk for him.
5. I asked if I could do anything else to help get my supply up, and she said that the Mother Love More Milk Plus tablets are able to help some women but not everyone notices much of a difference.
I'm from the Chicago area and my consultant's name is Carol Chamblin. She's mentioned that women from all over the country email her, and she's always more than happy to answer questions. She's really awesome and knows what she's talking about when it comes to breastfeeding...if you're interested here's the link to webpage.
Also her email address:
I'm sorry for writing so much! When I read your post I felt like I could have written it. I've also been feeling depressed over how difficult nursing has been. I also have ppl in my life who have been less than encouraging about trying to continue with nursing.
I really think Carol has helped to get me back on the right track. I'm sure she'd have some great & loving advice to share.
Hope you and the baby are doing well!