I think we can all agree that breastfeeding is best, and according to the World Health Organization your baby should have nothing but breastmilk until six months old, yadda yadda you can nurse until two years and beyond.
I think we can also agree to not judge each other.
I started feeding Liam baby food before he was five months old. All signs said he was completely ready for them, and I don't care if someone thinks that he will be obese in five years because I fed him early. He slept well, and he was a happy baby. He also basically weaned himself around 9 months.
MG, on the other hand, is nowhere near ready for solids. She doesn't even like to taste our food. I've started feeding her formula bottles with a little rice cereal in them to beef her up, and still, she is tiny.
Point is - you're the mama, do what you think is best.
I can't give much helpful nursing advice through a blog post, but, here's a list of things that have been valuable to me as a breastfeeding mother.
1. Lanolin cream. My dear Tay gave me some Lansinoh and suggested that I start using it weeks in advance. I did, but probably not as faithfully as I should have. I still cracked and bled a little.
2. Nursing pads. Honestly, I haven't needed these much. Like, maybe ten times and mostly in the night. So I never used them regularly and I don't know which ones are best. Sorry.
3. Pump. I've used a few and liked both this one and this one just fine. Don't use the one you get from the hospital, it's awful.
4. Boppy pillow. Not everyone loves these. I did. I could nurse Liam and still use the computer (ha!). Also, sometimes I dozed off during the nighttime feedings, and it was nice to have him cradled in the thing instead of falling out of my sleepy arms.
5. Nursing bras and/or camisoles. Buy yourself some decent ones, you'll use them to death. The Motherhood Maternity salespeople can be very helpful. Think about a couple things when you're looking: clothes you normally wear, activity level, comfort, size, padding. I never really needed a sports or sleep bra, didn't want underwire, did want padding. Try on a few at Motherhood Maternity or Target, and buy the ones you like. I never wore the 3 cheapo ones I bought.
6. Tops. I didn't realize how tight-fitting all my shirts were until I had to nurse with them. Then I went out and bought 7 new shirts. One way around this, if your shirts need camisoles underneath (mine did), is to buy nursing camis or halftees, or a bra like this that can pass as a camisole .... but you'll probably want a white one. Ahem.
7. Special underwear. DON'T buy nursing tops, they will make you furious. Any top with a stretchy neckline will do - cotton or carinessa.
8. Nursing covers, if you want them. I use mine mostly at church. They're much easier to use than blankets, and don't have to be anything fancy.
9. True grit. You will be in exceedingly great pain for at least a few weeks. Just plan on it, and know that it will end, and know that it's worth it.
When I first started nursing I thought it was inconvenient. Now that I have to supplement with formula, I know better; compared to bottle-feeding, nursing is suuuuuper convenient.
Just a thought.