Because I was home for almost the entire 1st year with Sophia, any pumping I did was purely for convenience - a bottle before bed or when I when out. I was diligent about pumping in order to keep up my supply, but I knew that I could always just feed her if I needed to and there wouldn't be an issue.
With Theo, it was different from the get-go. I was back at work 2 weeks after having him, so pumping started very very early. I was convinced I had a low supply, so I started in on Fenugreek and eating lots of oatmeal. I soon realized that it helped a lot, but that I was also producing what I needed too as he was still so young and not taking a ton at one time.
Even through my delayed maternity, I still kept up a rigorous pumping schedule so I could stockpile milk in the basement deep freezer. There is something gratifying about seeing the ounces accumulating (and equally demoralizing when they don't.) Luckily, I was able to make some good headway and accumulate quite a few ounces so that when I went back to work it wouldn't be session to session coverage.
I had always planned to breastfeed through a year, as I did with Sophia. But I wasn't sure with the almost full-time pumping if I'd be able to make it. I also knew that I would introduce cow's milk at some point in his 11th month (as I was clear there was no dairy allergy - this child lives on yogurt & cheese and anything else you'll give him). The introduction of cow's milk a little early would also give me some wiggle room on the pumping. I was currently pumping 4-5x/day to cover his feedings. (2 of those pumps were at work, 1 was before work and 2 were dinner/before bedtime.)
Over the Christmas break, one thing I checked off my list was taking stock of what was downstairs ounce-wise. I pulled all the bags and counted. And counted. And counted some more. 97 bags. 6 ounces each bag. Basically I was looking at almost 600 ounces of liquid gold!!
I was amazed, gratified, and frankly, really damn proud of myself. After some quick calculations, I realized I could begin dropping to 3 pumps/day (ahh - the time this frees up is amazing - trying to facilitate breakfast for both kids while pumping concurrently...it's a sight no one needs to see.)
The pressure is off and I can slowly whittle down my stash and know that little man is covered with mama's goodness. I'll happily keep breastfeeding him past 1 (our morning time together is so precious to me) but I am thrilled to have the end in site with the pump.