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 www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/pumping-milk/.

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 lllusa.org/locator/

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

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