My second breastfeeding journey has been very different from my first.
Since I was working full-time when Lucy was a baby, I had to pump. I only nursed her in the mornings and evenings, and on the weekends. I hated pumping. It was time consuming; I spent 1.5-2 hours a day pumping at work. It was uncomfortable. It was a big pain in the ass...lugging the pump and milk back and forth every day, washing pump parts, excusing myself from meetings because I was engorged. Mostly, it was a reminder that I couldn't be home with my daughter.
But I'm home now. I have been home for Parker's whole life. He's been nursed exclusively, unless I had a farmers market or a (rare) date night. And wouldn't you know it, the grass isn't always greener.
I have since realized that pumping was not the challenge the first time around... The challenge was, and still is, breastfeeding.
Parker is 8 months old and still breastfeeding. We've managed to get by without formula so far, and I'm hoping we can keep it that way until we're able to introduce cow's milk. (It's not that I hate formula...formula would actually make life a lot easier.) I want to prove to myself that I can meet my breastfeeding goal of one year (which is shallow, but whatever), and I really do not want the added expense.
My supply is so different this time. Then again, Parker is a much different baby than Lucy was!
Parker loves solid food and eats two meals a day. (Lucy hated it!)
Parker has been sleeping through the night for months. (Lucy didn't until she was 9 months.)
Parker self-soothes. (Lucy was only soothed by nursing.)
Nursing has proved to be extremely challenging when Lucy is awake. Parker is so distracted. I started nursing him in a separate room, while Lucy watched Barney or ate breakfast/lunch; but I hated leaving her unsupervised. So I decided to start pumping and bottle feeding Parker. Ironic much?
It's been a couple weeks since we switched and it's made a world of difference. Casey can put Parker down in the evenings, and I can start dinner earlier. I've been able to pump while the kids are eating breakfast and lunch-- though there have been a handful of times where I dropped the ball with pumping and had to nurse. We're not exclusive, because I refuse to pump at 4 am, but he's so sleepy at that time that he nurses easily.
Breastfeeding is a huge commitment. I have a love-hate relationship with it. Four more months, buddy boy! LET'S DO THIS.