W was on 100% breast milk for 8 months and I had enough frozen milk to give him a mixture of milk/formula until he was 10 months old. I was proud of this accomplishment. Working full time and pumping certainly isn't easy. W never had a good latch so I exclusively pumped from 1 month on.
When S was born, I knew I wanted to breastfeed once again. I didn't set any goals for how long we'd go. If it was working for us, great. And if it wasn't, I refused to let myself feel guilty. S was a natural when it came to nursing. I still ended up pumping because it just worked better for us, but it was nice to have the option to nurse. S ate every 2 hours and he ate a ton. Nearly 40 ounces some days. Every book and website told me that was too much, but they didn't know my baby. My 10 pound boy was a great eater from birth. And here we are. 1 year later. S was on 100% breast milk for 11 months and I've just started supplementing with formula. I'm extremely proud. Given S's appetite, I never thought we'd make it as long as we did.
There were a few surprises/lessons that came with nursing/pumping this time around...
- As this was my second go, I was no longer self conscious about pumping. I had to ask about the pumping room at work, had to explain the breast pump quite a few times at the airport (a sure fire way to get TSA to leave you alone), and had to explain the large black bag to quite a few people.
- Speaking of airports, they are ridiculously ill equipped for pumping moms. The only available spot for pumping was the airport restroom, which had no outlets. There has to be a better solution.
- Breastfeeding is horrible for my skin. From months 3-8, my skin broke out like crazy. It was way way worse than anything I experienced in my youth. I had cystic acne, which was the result of hormones. I tried to remind myself that it was temporary, but I was extremely self conscious about my skin. So much so, I even cancelled lunch with a friend one day. That's very unlike me, but it exemplifies how terrible I felt about my skin.
- Breastfeeding saved us a crap load of money. I think S would have gone through a container of formula a week. So roughly $100 per month. Yikes.
- Nursing was a great way to lose weight! I was back to my pre-baby weight relatively quickly! Woohoo!
- It was totally worth it to me and I would do it again in a heartbeat.