Now a mother of two I can honestly say breastfeeding has never come easy for me. I can not tell you the number of days combined I spent crying- wondering why I couldn’t fulfill the most basic human task a woman has- feeding her baby. Especially given that I am a nerd, that I have read everything, seen specialists, and spent hours upon hours with lactation consultants agonizing on technique, etc. I have come to accept that while I know breastmilk is best for my baby and breastfeeding has many benefits- feeding your baby, making them happy while maintaining your sanity is the most important thing.
For Xavier we worked on it for four painful months. I could not introduce any nipple replacement such as a bottle for fear he would instantly prefer it (which in his case did eventually happen). So I painstakingly breastfeed, attempting to keep him alert and sucking for more than a few minutes at a time and then breastfed with an open bottle of milk on the arm of the chair beside me-attempting not to spill-while a tube went from in the bottle and attached to my nipple. The idea was avoiding nipple confusion and tricking him into thinking if he sucked long and hard enough at my breast he’d get more milk. He was not fooled and in his desire to be lazy would try to slurp only the tube spitting out my nipple all the time.
With Felix we again had the same issues:he couldn’t/wouldn’t latch and therefore couldn’t drink enough to properly bring in a good supply. The difference was that Felix already hated sleep and from the moment he came out wanted to breast feed all day. After the first few days of constant latch attempts and what seemed to be great suckling I thought we were on the right track. WRONG. He dropped from 6lbs 12oz to 5lbs 14oz-nearly a full pound. I tried supplementing the same way-we couldn’t do it. I moved to cup feeding him formula then tried this new tube supplement cutting a nipple to thread the tube through and holding the bottle between my cleavage> That worked- for Felix. This time with a toddler as well it just became a lot of work. Luckily Felix liked breast feeding enough introducing a bottle didn’t affect him and we’re at a place I can supplement that way. It would have been nice to exclusively breast feed but given my low supply it just wasn’t in the cards for me.