I forgot to say earlier, about working, that I will go back to work on a very part-time basis once this baby can go four hours without a feeding. I was an engineer back in my pre-children days, but I work in a local bookstore now (well, not RIGHT now) for as few as three hours per week. I had worked my way up to about 12 hours per week as DS#1 got older, but I'll resume at three hours per week in a few months.
It does help me tremendously to get out even that little bit and be in an adult environment. It's nice to talk to grown-ups. It's nice to be somewhere I'm very unlikely to be spit/pooped/spilled upon. The best part of working just a few hours a week is that, every time I'm there, I can remember why I miss being with my son(s). (Same reason I like to go visit my family without DH a couple of times per year. It really does help me put daily squabbles and differences into perspective and remember how great he is.)
Anyway, I also must say, Medela "Special Needs" sized containers are my new favorite product ever. They are 2.7 oz/80 mL, so almost exactly how much I pump at my max. I feel SO MUCH MORE PRODUCTIVE as I fill these little containers than when I look at the big (6 oz?) bottles that come with the pump!
I'm wondering whether to look into trying/renting a Medela Symphony pump instead of my current rental Lactina... That's got their "more like baby" dual phase technology. It looks like I'll be pumping long-term. Has anyone tried one?
I do have a Pump-in-Style that I got from my insurance when DS#1 was first weight-challenged. When that didn't work, I had to rent a Lactina anyway. I haven't tried a manual pump (like Wombat mentioned), but I'm getting tired of buying so many parts.
That said, I really want to buy at least one, and maybe two, more sets of connectors and flanges for my pump. It is better this time because I now know it is okay to store your pump parts in the fridge between uses (so you don't have to wash everything every time!), but I don't like even that for more than a couple of uses. I have two pairs of connectors and two sets of flanges (one "soft" set that I prefer, and the original hard ones that came with the pump) right now, but sometimes the washing still sucks. Since the 80 mL containers came in a 12 pack, I'm great on storage bottles now (and, really, the milk is used up at the next feeding after I pump it) but those extra parts... Hmm...
Never mind the closeness of all you lucky exclusive breastfeeders--you are saving SO MUCH MONEY!!! Grr!
But I am really regaining my equilibrium, I think. I can't say that I enjoy the pumping, but it is "under control" this time and not a huge burden as I remember it being the first time. (Top reasons it is better: 1) I have more milk so it doesn't seem like a waste of time. 2) I have extra pump parts and don't have to wash them at night. 3) I made a hands-free pumping bra out of an old sleep bra so I can look at the computer or change the channel or get a drink of water while pumping. 4) I'm less exhausted as this kid sleeps better.)
I guess it really is easier with a second child...
That said, HOW DO YOU GUYS DO IT who don't have someone helping you every day?!? I am so impressed by you all! Seriously, when my mom goes somewhere, I feel completely at a loss. I can barely handle the 2-3 hours in the morning before Mom wakes up where I'm trying to nurse the baby, help DS#1 go potty, get some kind of snack for DS#1 so he doesn't starve, and pump after nursing DS#2. Sheesh. Never mind getting myself fed (imperative for my supply!) and washed. God bless you all who can manage is alone.
I do have to wonder, with all this pumping I'm doing, if I will ever be able to leave the house again. Feeding + pumping takes me about 1 hr 15 minutes, and we start over every three hours. How much can I get done in 1 hr 45 minutes between? Oh sigh. I'm so lucky Mom is here, but she's already driving me a little batty at times!
It was SO SMART of me to make my "sitting room" upstairs in the nursery. I'm SO GLAD I splurged on a cable box with DVR for myself. It really helps make the pumping sessions go by quickly, and I can entertain my big boy with a show much more easily when I need to.
Okay, must go eat before the next feeding session begins.