I am a mother of three, and I nursed all of them. I've been a pumping working mama, a stay-at-home nursing mama, a pumping student finishing college, a nursing single mama, and a toddler-nursing mama. I figure that I have been nursing a third of the time in the past ten years. I think I finally know my bra size!
Some of my babies nursed much longer than others, and each baby's nursing habits were different. Nursing to me is as intimate as being pregnant, and giving birth. It is part of the natural progression of things. You get pregnant, you enjoy the wonder of pregnancy, you deliver your baby, and then you nurse the baby. It's always seemed to be the natural way of things for me.
Somewhere in my family history I must be part cow. I could always produce more than my babies needed. And that is one of the biggest blessings for a mother set on nursing her baby. I hear stories of friends who just "couldn't produce enough." If you tell me that after two or three months of trying, then I say "good effort!" But you don't know that in the first month, so keep at it.
My daughter was almost 3, and she wanted to be just like me, so she is nursing her dolly, just like mom nursing the newborn baby. :)
Here are some tricks for success. They worked for me, so maybe they will help you, too.
Pump as often as you can. You will be topless more hours of the day than not, but with a newborn, that's ok. She doesn't mind, trust me. Nursing on one side and pumping on the other helps that first month. Pump after she nurses - even if nothing is coming out - it stimulates your glands to produce more the next day.
Invest in a nice electric double breast pump that has a battery pack. I used to pump in bathrooms between college classes, at my desk at work, in a moving car on road trips, and other strange places. Hand pumps are frustrating, and single pumps take too much time. You might also want to get a Costco membership for all the AA batteries, but it's so worth it!
Buy a hands-free pumping band! No more excuses about an aching back from holding the pump up, no more time off work to pump. It looks like a big elastic bra with two slits at the nipples - your partner will raise an eyebrow. You can sit in the back of a car, pump with a blanket over you, then immediately give your baby a bottle. No stopping on those trips up North!
Don't be ashamed! You are busy, and as you learned above, you will pump in the strangest of places. You will also nurse everywhere. That's the beauty of it - you can be in the middle of the woods and your baby will not go hungry. You can also be at a crowded park, and you should whip it out! Feed your baby. It's your job. Just as you should never be ashamed of being a mother, you should never feel ashamed about feeding your baby.
Don't give in and buy formula. Keep at it. Keep at it. Keep at it. Give yourself at least three months. Be one of those crazy moms who vehemently pushes formula aside.
Wishing you are also part-cow, but if you are not, I wish you courage and patience.