Last week I decided to try breastfeeding one last time with the help of a lactation consultant. I had pretty much told myself it wouldn't work since Nicholas has been exclusively bottle-fed since we left the hospital.
Barbara at The Pump Station was very helpful and gave me lots of good tips. I realized that I had been putting too much pressure on the back of his head, causing him to pull away. I also learned that many of his behaviors, while frustrating, are normal (shaking his head, putting his hands in the way, etc.) and not the result of my poor breastfeeding skills. After an hour with Barbara, Nicholas was latching on like a champ and I was feeling much more confident.
We've had a few rough moments and I caved a couple times and bottle-fed him when I just didn't have the patience, but overall breastfeeding has been a huge success. I'm so proud of my little man, and I love the closeness I feel when I'm nursing him. He is no longer inconsolable when he's hungry...he now realizes that nursing = satisfaction instead of frustration, which means both of us are a lot less stressed out.
In addition to my fabulous lactation consultant, I could not do this without the help of the Brest Friend nursing pillow and the Breastflow bottles. The Brest Friend is so much better than the Boppy because it stays in one place and it puts baby on a flat surface so he doesn't roll. And the Breastflow bottles were wonderful for transitioning him to the breast because they force him to compress as well as suck, just like with breastfeeding. When he was really upset and hungry, I had him drink expressed milk out of a Breastflow bottle for a few minutes, then I took it away and introduced the breast, and he was able to latch on pretty well.
The best tip Barbara gave me was to have baby practice latching with a bottle--touch the wide base of the bottle's nipple to baby's chin, wait for him to open wide, then pull him toward you while guiding his mouth up and over the nipple. This works well with the Breastflow bottles. I always make sure to hold him the way I'd hold him if I were breastfeeding (in a cross cradle hold), so he gets used to the positioning.
If you are considering seeing a lactation consultant, DO IT. It was so worth it!