Re: pumping question..
I have a history of low supply so pumpin tends to give me anxiety. Obviously anxiety is not conducive to achieving let-down. Now as I'm tending to my day, as soon as I feel myself let-down, I go and pump. That way I'm not all tense waiting for it, pumping nothing and getting really stressed. I have a Lactina and I always start off low and slowly increase pressure once the mill flow starts to slow down. I never go beyond midway, either as I find it makes my nipples really sore afterwards. If you find you nipple cracking really bad, I'd see the doctor cuz you may be having an issue with thrush and lanolin or nipple creams won't really offer long term help with that. You could also look at getting a Rx for Dr. Norman's nipple cream. It is really amazing stuff.
Please excuse my spelling- I am typing with one hand and trying to hold on to my sanity with the other.