So we haven't really moved on from yesterday's gains. He can suck, but more like he latches, then just sits there, then has an ineffectual suck... and gives up, crying (as in: screaming his head off), to revert to the classic "headbutt" manoevre.
I can't keep putting him through that. It's not fair, it's stressful for all concerned and it adds christ knows how much to the feed, after wshich he still has barely eaten anything anyway, so I pump out. If mck's here then I do that whilst he cup feeds James the last lot, but otherwise I have to do it after all of the rest.
So today I tried the old Medela nipple shield. I'm not 100% keen on it as a move, given that over time it reduces the amount of milk you produce. However, not only did he latch almost immediately but he stayed latched, and sucked like a bugger. I pumped out afterwards (yes, I do know just how weird all this must read to anyone who hasn't been through the parent thing, but you know... you don't have to visualise if you don't want to) and there was very little left.
This I like. Now then, James also had a cup with about 20 ml in as a backup - which was half of that which was available but that was approx what was taken out at the end. Given that he had had a good half an hour of screaming and headbutting, you know... you never know he might end up sucking the whole lot later. I've taken the precaution of sterilising my trusty old Avent and all needed extras just in case, and we have another 40 ml backup.
So anyway. What are the plus points of shields: well. It might be that he's only headbutting because he's so wee, and I'm rock hard at the mo. It must be like trying to suck ice sream through a cement wall. So once I've gone "normal", maybe no more shields? We went through part of this with Nora - and it took a hell of a long time to get her off the shields. Meanwhile my milk started reducing and I got totally freaked out. Until an incredibly sensible health visitor said to me "Look, do you know of any child who has been poisoned by drinking formula?" at which point, I flustered a "But! But!" reply whilst the undoubted, simple wisdom of her point sank in. Did it matter if Nora had one formula drink a day whilst we sorted out all the rest of the crap? not in the bloody least. it was that simple change that saved my breastfeeding. Do I give a fuck if James has the odd drink of formula? well right now, with a delicate new tummy, I'd prefer not to, but long term I don't give a toss. The vast majority of his milk will be mine for at least a year. He'll get all the benefits, and I *absolutely* refuse to go through all that stress again. Besides the point, with Noo around too, I don't think that level of stress would actually be feasible.
A minor downer is that whilst he's still using the shields, they're a pain in the ass to carry about with you, whilst sterilised (this has always perplexed me - since when were your knockers ever sterilised? What - are they exempt? No bacteria ever touch them?) butttt you know... talk about a minor bloody hassle, as it goes.
So. To summarise: things could be turning a corner.