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Rachel’s Story: Expressing My Milk

Rachel's son Jameson playing with a pump partBy Rachel Rhodes, Newport, Pennsylvania.

I was blessed with a little boy on August 22, 2018. My mother has always stressed to me the importance of breastfeeding for as long as I can remember. Instantly my son, Jameson, attached to my breast and had a pretty good latch. Lactation consultants came to the hospital room and thought that everything seemed to be ideal, so they would leave.

After a day or so at home, my milk came in. No one told me about this. My breasts hurt and were hard. I couldn’t even express any milk. Jameson never latched on consistently again. He would latch and cry, latch and cry. All I can think was that he wasn’t getting enough milk quickly.

I talked to many people about this. I heard everything from: “Your breasts are too big” to “You are not trying hard enough.” Here and there I could get him to latch on and feed but not for very long. I eventually stopped trying because he was clearly not happy, and it was very frustrating for both of us.

Now I exclusively pump (which I knew nothing about). I have just enough and struggle to get ahead; the most I have is a day or maybe two. I have heard that this is an issue when you exclusively pump since a pump can’t empty your breast as well as a baby.

I pump every two hours. My life revolves around pumping. I feel isolated sometimes, but I have learned to enjoy this time (especially when I am at work.) I used to pump for 20 minutes each time, but now I have it down to about 10 minutes per session.

As I write this, my son is currently 11 months old. My first goal was to make it to six months. After I made it to 6 months, my next goal was a year. I am almost there! I am not planning to stop. I am going to keep going, but I am going to pump less and try to enjoy life and my son a little more! My best advice is to set small goals. I joined a Facebook group about exclusively pumping, and it has helped me a lot just knowing there are others like me.

Editor’s Note: LLL USA is here to support everyone with their human milk feeding journey, whether it is breastfeeding/chestfeeding or expressing your milk. More information about expressing milk is available at

Rachel faced challenges in the early days with latch and milk supply. You can read more about these issues and find helpful information at the following links:

Information and support from a La Leche League Leader is available online or in person and is free. Find the Leader nearest you at

Please send your story ideas to Amy at [email protected].

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