Or I could just say 13 months before I HUTH. Yes, I had to chuckle yesterday when I read that there is even an acronym for ending pumping "Hanging Up The Horns" - don't ask me who made this up!
But before I go into my story of EPer (being an exclusive pumper), I want to share a list of everything that I believe helped me to be able to continue that long, especially in the early weeks when I was practically living in the NICU and trying to increase my milk supply production which was a struggle at first.
1. Start pumping ASAP after birth
2. Don't be discouraged when you only get 2 drops of colostrum (and yes, our NICU was amazing because they gave these 2 drops to Eleonora - even sending a nurse up to my floor to get it for her believing it to be so important!)
3. Pump literally every 3 hours around the clock (from the beginning of 1 pumping to the beginning of the next)
4. Use a hospital grade pump and have a lactation consultant make sure you have the right size shields
5. Drink lots and lots of water and eat 3 good meals a day (easier said then done)
6. Buy a pumping bra so you can have your hands free - this was essential for me
7. Look into taking Fenugreek capsules
8. After 6 weeks contemplate going one 5 hour stretch at night to get at least 4 1/2 hrs of sleep straight.
9. Call and see how your baby is doing during those lonely night pumping sessions
10. Pump for at least 15 minutes each session- but up to 20 or more, making sure you get every last drop
11. Talk to other NICU Moms to know you are not the only one doing this
I was blessed to have incredible support from my husband, encouraging me in moments when I really thought I could not keep doing this and to have his understanding when everything we did centered around my next pumping session really kept me going.
Be encouraged that it should get easier as the weeks go on and know that you are doing an amazing thing for your baby/babies!
What tips and suggestions have helped you in your pumping journey? I would love to compile a longer list to share at some point.