What a wonderful idea! I wish this thread had been around back when my DD was born! I’m afraid I can’t help much with the older baby issues as DD weaned herself on Mother’s Day, when she was 6 1/2 mos old. But I did go back to work at 12 weeks, full time, and pumped during the day and nursed at night, sooo…
Kelbell: As I said, I nursed at home and pumped at work for almost 4 mos. My job was wonderful - I got to pump 3 times per 9-10 hour day. (If you don’t have one already, a hands-free pumping bra made a world of difference - that way I could do computer/paperwork kind of stuff while pumping). In fact I ended up pumping every 2-3 hours but DD was only nursing every 3-4. Anyway, overall it worked really great. I will say that a couple of problems cropped up that I couldn’t really do anything about. First, I didn’t pump as much as she ate during the day. I started stockpiling around 4-6 weeks, and we did exclusively breastmilk until I’d say DD was about 4 1/2 mos old. At that point we decided that we’d rather have her get some breast milk longer as opposed to all breast milk for a shorter period of time. Therefore daycare started rationing at that point and giving formula for 1-2 bottles per day, breastmilk for the rest. On days off I’d exclusively nurse and try to pump at least once. Once DD weaned herself at 7 1/2 mos, I stopped pumping altogether in preparation for trying for #2 (also my milk had pretty much dried up - see below) and we decreased her breastmilk at daycare to once per day and the supply lasted until she was a year old.
The other problem was that my milk supply did really decrease, probably around 5 mos. I tried a two week course of Reglan (twice) and didn’t get much improvement. I ate oatmeal, drank tea, etc. I think the pump just wasn’t stimulating my production like DD had. At the same time, my DD got very frustrated with the slow flow of the breast and nursing her really became a struggle. She really liked the speed of the bottle I guess! Anyway, despite everything I tried I never got my supply back up - by the end I’d pump for 30 minutes and get a total of 45 ml.
I agree that breast is best and wish we could have nursed longer. I cried the first time I gave her a bottle before bed. Anyway, I know plenty of women who pumped longer and their supplies stayed up; it just wasn’t meant for us. And I wanted to let you kow the other side of it so that if it doesn’t last for a full year, you don’t feel like you did anything wrong!