Nursing is difficult, beneficial, rewarding, and exhausting. I was told all of these things in advance and I still felt blindsided.
The first weeks are brutal as you and the milk monster try to get into a rhythm of timing and duration. Each mother and each child is different so its hard to set a schedule that will work for all babies. In the midst of mastitis and kidney infections, it was an annoying chore to feed my child from my body. Thank God for formula.
On a good day: I nurse Susan on both sides right before bed, one side right after waking, then pump the other side. I'm usually able to nurse her throughout the day while on the couch or chair while Joanna reads, colors, or dictates what is happening on Sid the Science Kid. When I need to feed Susie more quickly, I'll use the milk I pumped earlier. When Joanna sleeps, Susan nurses for 30-40 minutes on each side. By the time she finishes, I have 20-30 minutes of freedom to do laundry and dishes before Joanna wakes.
On a typical day: I nurse Susan on both sides right before bed, one side right after waking, then pump the other side. Joey wakes up, we hang out, then Susie wakes. She wants to be held, fed, and held again. If she were first born, I'd be down with the demands. But she's not. So I hold her, put her down, she screams, I pick her up again, try to parent Joanna with one hand, fail, put Susie back down, she screams, I make a bottle, give Joanna my phone so she can play Endless Alphabet, try to feed Susie, clean up spit up, bounce, rock, burp, change, beg her to stop crying, then give up and start nursing. This sequence happens at least 4 times each day.
In these screaming moments, whether coming from Susie or from inside my brain, I have to remind myself that nursing is beneficial for my baby and myself.