I know exactly how you feel. I’m in almost the exact same situation now. My daughter is 5 weeks old. We live in a similar community with a “family friendly” hospital (they encourage breastfeeding to the point that they don’t pass out free samples of formula anymore.) I’m also convinced that the nurses in the recovery floor are trained to do everything possible to keep a new mom from using formula or listen to what the mom is telling them.
Like you, my daughter latched on right away after birth, but I could tell by the time I got down to the recovery unit she wasn’t getting enough milk. Shortly after latching, she would fuss, cry and scratch. She never really seemed to settle down to sucking.
Every nurse I spoke to and the lactation consultant automatically assumed that my daughter was having problems latching on, even though I told them that wasn’t the problem when they walked in the door. They were always surprised when she latched on right away. Then they told me to continue trying to feed her every 2 hours.
My poor daughter would fuss and fight at every feeding and scream in between because she was hungry. One nurses’ comment was “Don’t worry all babies are born with extra fat.”
After continuing to plead with the nurses for help (I was hoping that they would bring me some formula eventually), they brought me a breast pump, which did nothing.
When they saw that didn’t work they encouraged me to hand express milk. They didn’t bother to show me how and left me with a plastic spoon to catch what I could express, which was nothing.
When they returned, they were surprised I didn’t have anything. That’s when they brought in a supplemental nursing system, a tube connected to reservoir of formula. The tube is taped to your breast and your baby is supposed to latch on to your breast and the tube.
Except my daughter didn’t like the tube. The nurses had to tape the tube to their finger and put their finger in my daughter’s mouth to get her to use it.
After continuing the struggle for another day and most of another night, my husband was finally able to brow beat the nurses into giving us several small bottles of formula.
Currently, my daughter is mostly formula feed and topped off with the 2 oz. I’m able to pump. Luckily, her pediatrician doesn’t care how she’s fed as long as she’s gaining the appropriate amount of weight.