So, I have decided to tell the two very different stories of my two children, when it came to breastfeeding. One is still in the works, but is still very much so valid.
My Son: Our bonding relationship in general was off to a rough start due to how his birth was. I didn't get to hold him until he was cleaned up and wrapped like a baby burrito. I remember holding him and staring into his jelly looking eyes (due to the antibiotic eye ointment) and him staring back at me. I failed to nurse him during the crucial time after his birth. Later, the pressure was then on to get him to eat. I had nurse after nurse come in telling me that he had to nurse. I had lactation consultants coming in and fussing with my boobs and my baby. They drizzled formula on me to try and get him to latch on. By the time I left, he was nursing, but he was still sleepy and not really interested.
At home, it took almost a week before my milk came it. The sweet sound of my baby gulping filled my ears. Then the misery started. He had a tucked in chin, making him resemble a baby bird, but also making it difficult for him to nurse. I suffered from cracked nipples that took weeks to heal. My left one is scarred from how badly it was cracked. With cracked nipples I suffered plugged ducts that turned into mastitis, leaving me useless and in bed with my baby shaking with cold chills. I struggled through nights of screaming as my son had emptied me and cried with hunger. I gave in a few times, giving him a bottle with the formula that 'magically' appeared at my doorstep. This would fill him up and he would sleep, then I would sleep.
Pumping so the I could go back to work was challenging. I had a manual pump and I do not recommend them. I could barely get any out and we had to supplement with formula while I was at work. He took the breastflow bottle with his milk warm. It never seemed to bother him that it wasn't me.
At 6 months, my son decided he didn't want bottles of any kind anymore. He ate only baby food and woke up when I got home from work. I would take him to bed with me and he nursed while I slept.
He continued to nurse until he was 2. I nursed him through teething and a double ear infection that Christmas and then he never showed interest in it or asked for it again after.
My Daughter: With my daughters birth, I was able to nurse her immediately after she was born. She suckled, not really interested in it for anything else but comfort. All she wanted to do was nurse. Her rooting reflex was beyond strong, with her going after anything that smelled like me or milk. She has continued so far, making her demands quiet clear by head diving for it when I hold her.
I am also working again, but this time with a dual electric pump. She doesn't like her milk warm and she doesn't like the breastflow bottle. It's almost as though she is saying "I know it's not mommy, don't even try to trick me." She hasn't ever been supplemented with formula and it hasn't 'magically' appeared at my doorstep. Coupons have, but not actual product.
I am hoping that we will be able to continue as long as with my son. So far it is the lifesaver of teething.