Hi 2Boofulgals, I just had to reply as I had a 6wk prem, and ended up, after 4months of BF'ing, simply pumping now full-time and bot feeding. My bub had shocker reflux, and for me, it just wasn't meant to be, either, despite no discomfort for me (I found it to be blissful!).
You poor thing ~ it would be terrible to be in such agony while BF'ing.
"Do what you have to do to get through."
If this means permenant nipple shields, so be it. If this means part-time bot feeding, so be that too. My bub did bith bot/BF from the SCNursery onwards for the whole 4months. Just try to use a different position to hold and feed with each.
You can still get the same closeness with bottle feeding as BF'ing if you really try to make it a special time. IMhO, as long as your bub is getting your milk, or as much of it as poss for as long as poss, you've done brilliantly.
You are never a failure whan you've bought a beautiful bub into the world, and that is awfully difficult sometimes with a prem. Some don't even to attempt to BF even their premmies, so I, for one, think you are a great success.
Good luck with whatever path you take ~ as long as bubs is fed, all is well.