I have nursed two children for 1 year, 18 months and the third is 4 months old. Here are the highlights of my experience.
1. When your milk first comes in, it is PAINFUL. Cabbage leaves or baby washcloths soaked and drained in warm water can be effective compresses while you nurse and after.
2. With each subsequent baby, the pain associated with the first milk coming in decreases. The let-down pain of my third baby has just diminished to the point it just feels funny, but the first 2.5 - 3 months were pretty painful.
3. My two older children did not have latching issues. Third baby did. Some speculated she had a smaller mouth. Her smaller mouth led to breast preference.
4. During the infant stage, my babies nursed for 1 hr at a time. At 3 months, they were efficient and so it only took them 10-15 minutes.
5. Invest in a nursing apron or some good nursing tops so you can nurse in the living room with friends around. Don't feel you need to be isolated in the nursery. Feeding a baby should be just part of your own life.
6. Pumping does not produce as much milk. Some told me to watch a funny show or think of baby while pumping, but I never really got it to work as well. I pumped after some feedings for my first child, in case I would need it. However, with the other ones, I rarely pumped or pump now. I think I have about 20 ounces in the freezer. C'est tout.
7. Baby #1 and I experienced thrush, which is a painful yeast infection in the breasts and babies' mouth. We eventually won the battle, after weeks of treatment. However, I took preventative measures the second time and this time, but taking supplemental acidopholus pills.
8. Don't be afraid to talk to lactation consultants. Most will come to your home, watch you and give you the advice you need.
9. It is a wonderful bond between mother and child. Enjoy it while it
lasts. I know I cried a little when both of my older children
self-weaned. Even after all the pain, I know I will miss it too when
baby 3 finishes in the future.