My feeding journey with Leo was a completely different one from the one I had with Sam. Even those initial early struggles were blissful compared to the agonisingly raw and overfilled feeling that marked the first month or so of Sam's feeds.
With Leo, I'd recognised the creeping depression before his arrival so my mood was on an even(ish) keel and I had the confidence to feed him anytime he cried and if that didn't work I would check all his other needs. Unlike the start with poor colicky Sam and some well meant but poorly delivered advice that had me convinced my milk was causing the screams, which used to have me frantically trying to appease him with everything else before offering a feed.
The end of our feeding journey was different too. Despite a tear soaked wail on my mum's shoulder, I knew that I was ready to introduce Leo to formula feeding not long after he was six months old and I did that alongside nursing until he was nearly eight months old. I knew I needed to start feeling like I could have a break while he was fed by someone else and I knew that as well as being top notch nutrition, my breastmilk was also being digested so fast by my hungry boy that it was keeping him from the sleep he craved. I wanted to stop at a similar time with Sam but guilted myself relentlessly until stopping almost cold turkey when he was nine months old.
But now I'm looking forward to starting a new journey with a new baby and wondering if this time I'll find a way to extend the time I feed for. I think past six months there will have to be an element of combination feeding or expressed milk feeding. With that in mind, any electric pump recommendations are most welcome as are combination feeding schedules.
The key thing to me though, as always, is that it doesn't matter how mothers feed our babies, just that we do. And if we could all just chill out about how everyone else is doing it, there'd be one less thing to worry about.