I made it home at the end of nine nights and ten days and found that my baby didn’t seem to have been affected at all by my absence. He returned to breastfeeding instantaneously. He warmed up to me instantly. The only odd moment was when he repeated bit (hard) my nipple while breastfeeding, the same way he does a bottle nipple. After removing him from the breast each time he did that, he never did it again.
My milk supply was reduced and I had to give him between 1 and 3 bottles a day for the first week or two after I returned.
I learned that it is possible to go away for that long and to continue breastfeeding, as long as one is willing to spend a lot of time pumping. I learned that babies can be happy as long as they are being well cared for and that I shouldn’t overvalue myself. I learned that while I sometimes disagree with some of my husband’s parenting choices, River was in good shape at the end of the period. And I learned that babies don’t forget boobies, even when they’ve been gone a (relatively) long time.