Whew. After nursing 3 babies successfully for about a year each, I wasn't prepared for any problems with nursing Kenna...other than expecting the initial soreness, I mean. She nursed great the first 4 days of her life. Friday evening, March 2, Ted and I were quite taken aback when she began screaming and couldn't seem to latch on. No problem, we thought, I'd just pump a bit to make things easier. After all, my milk was definitely in, and I was considerably engorged (though not nearly so badly as I was with Charis, as I recall). It didn't help. We tried for about an hour, and after then, she was so frantic that we decided in desperation to just give her a bottle of the milk I had pumped. She took it all right, but then we went through the same scenario at the 11 p.m. feeding. I was dreading the middle-of-the-night feedings, but she actually did very well, so I thought the worst was behind us.
Boy, was I wrong! We continued to have problems, so much so that I sent Ted to Babies R Us to purchase nipple shields, which I had never used before. My mom had recommended trying those. Of course, as Ted was walking out the door to go get them, Kenna latched on great and had a wonderful feeding. Still, I asked Ted to go ahead as planned, and I'm glad I did, because she had problems during the night as well. She refused to latch onto the shields during the night, but I did manage to get her fed (with minor help from a bottle once or twice).
Sunday morning she nursed with the shield on, and I was relieved, thinking that now, finally, she'd get the milk she needed from me and life could go on. Wrong again! All last week, each feeding was a complete drama, with anywhere from 10-40 minutes passing before she would finally latch on. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to what was happening...I began making notes so I could try to see trends, but there were none! After she would finally latch onto the first side, she would nurse just fine and then switch sides as if nothing were the matter. It was the initial latch that was the problem.
During some of the more difficult feedings we occasionally tried offering her a bottle again, and she began refusing the bottle as well. That was probably a good thing, because it forced me to keep trying.
I am pleased to report that as of Saturday, March 10, at the 5:30 p.m. feeding, she latched on like she had been doing it all her life (!) with no problems, and we have had no problems since. Every now and then I've had to start her with the shield, but she'll suck on that for a minute or two, then seems to decide that she'd rather have the real thing, full strength. :-)
All I can think is that perhaps she was having so many problems because she was early and still so little. It's just strange that she eventually WOULD latch on and continue the feeding on the other side with no problems. At any rate, I am SO thankful and am still praising the Lord for getting us through the past week. It looks like we'll have no more latching problems from here on out, as it is now Monday evening and she has consistently been nursing well. Thank God!! I'm so glad that we stuck it out!