The saga continues…
I saw another lactation consultant shortly after my last entry about breastfeeding. She assessed everything and admitted that she can’t do anything for me; the baby’s latch was good, his suck was strong and my supply wasn’t a concern. The baby was just lazy. Jarvis would breastfeed for a few minutes and either let go or fall asleep. He got used to bottles and likely preferred the faster flow and little effort required. Her recommendation: keep trying and maybe he’ll just stick with it one day.
The following week, the paediatrician said the same thing. Keep at it and maybe he’ll get it.
I was really hoping for a more concrete answer from either of them. Was that all I could do? Just sit and wait? With all the information I gathered, I decided to try a few more things over the following weeks:
- Nipple shield: I thought that since baby preferred an artificial nipple, maybe he’d like the nipple shield. Nope. Same result. He unlatched after a few minutes.
- Tube-feeding: I thought this would trick him into thinking that he could get a faster flow, so I successfully tube-fed for a few days and then tried breastfeeding without the tube. Same result.
- Syringe feeding: Same result as tube feeding.
- Breastfeeding only when he was really hungry: I thought if he was extremely hungry, he’d put in the effort to feed himself. This didn’t work. It’s difficult enough to keep a calm baby on my breast, let alone a screaming, teary-eyed baby.
- Switch feeding: I thought by alternating back and forth between breasts every few minutes, this would keep the baby awake and alert. Unfortunately, the little guy hates my right breast for some reason. He just won’t take it.
- Take Fenugreek and Mother’s Milk tea: Some say these help increase milk production. I haven’t noticed an affect on mine.
All the while, I was pumping in an effort to increase my milk supply or at the very least, keep it stable.
Frustrated that nothing was helping, I decided to breastfeed only during the day — forget night-time breastfeeding. Sleep was too important. It continued like this with no progress, until one feeding session last week. He stayed on my breast for 20 full minutes! And they weren’t little insignificant sucks; they were real sucks with pauses and swallowing. I was so proud of my little baby. I put him down to sleep when he was done, assuming he was full. Sadly, he wasn’t satisfied. I tried to put him back on my breast and he just wouldn’t take it. Feeling dejected, I, yet again, mixed some formula in a bottle and fed my hungry baby. I did make progress, but very little.
It’s been a rollercoaster since then. Sometimes he would stay on my breast for more than 5 minutes and actually get milk, and other times he would just give up. And at times, it’d be worse than just ‘give up’; he’d let go wailing and screaming, turning red, like he was regressing. I’m running out of ideas. I’m starting to feel defeated and find myself feeling jealous when someone in my mommies group would nonchalantly pull out a breast and feed her baby. I’m jealous that their baby is always getting the best nutrition. I’m jealous that they don’t have to lug around bottles, formula, expressed breastmilk and a pump. I’m jealous that their days aren’t consumed by washing bottles and pumping sessions. I absolutely hate the feeling.
I have one last idea: start taking Domperidone, a prescription drug that is known to increase milk production. I’m hoping this will actually work, and baby will appreciate an increased flow. If not, I’d at least be able to pump enough to exclusively feed expressed milk rather than formula.
Here’s to my Hail Mary pass.