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The Work Pump Balance

I promised myself when I got pregnant (knowing I would only have a few months off at best) that I wouldn’t force anything post baby and would do whatever made our life easier. I wanted to mitigate stress and didn’t want unnecessary mom guilt.  That meant breastfeeding and supplementing with formula. Whatever happened happened. But when Leo was born there was an instinct there I couldn’t ignore.  I wanted to feed him and I wanted him to have my milk. One piece of advice I got from a dear friend, was start pumping as soon as you can (like the day you get home from the hospital) Get your boobs used to draining and reproducing, start building a supply and get your babe used to taking a bottle from someone else.

I did that and became like a little obsessed chipmunk trying to hoard as much food (milk) as I could. I was lucky my milk came in the day after I came home from the hospital, and I started bagging and freezing 3 oz bags and soon 3.5oz and now 4 oz bags as often as 1 a day. I did that 4-5 days a week until I went back to work so I had a nice big supply to take to Vancouver for the Nanny!

But of course, that supply doesn’t last forever and I wanted my milk supply to stay consistent so I have to pump at work! We have a rule that however many bottles Cassandra (our Nanny) uses in a day, I have to come home with that many bags of milk.

I usually feed Leo in the morning and start a timer for 2.5 hours. When the timer goes off, we break filming and I go pump. Now depending on the day, how busy we are I can push that up to an hour, but I try not to push it more than 3.5 hours so I come home and can replenish.


I have to say, I was very fortunate to receive the creme de la creme Medela hands-free double pump and I used that exclusively until I went back to work. But the only problem with that is it was big, had lots of components to wash and needed to be charged. So, for the heck of it, I dug up another pump that had been sent to me, the Avent basic single hand pump (this blog is NOT sponsored by the way!)  I tried it camping one weekend and was FLOORED on how well it worked. I pumped a full 4 oz in about 10 minutes, and it was SO easy to transport and clean!

After that trip, I kind of shelved my Medela and now only use my single hand pump. I don’t know if its just me but they work so good, are so portable and easy to clean! I keep one at work, and another at home which makes it even EASIER! I also keep spare bags at work to bag my milk and a little portable cooler bag to bring my milk home!

I found pumping at work a lot easier than I thought, and am happy that I am able to work full time and still feed Leo expressed milk and nurse when I’m not working.


THAT SAID, I have gone through a few stages of decreased milk supply. I was so stressed about it at first but then remembered my rule and started supplementing with formula. We use Nestle Good Start and if we are running low on expressed milk, we mix half formula, half milk. Then I step back and ask myself why my supply is low. Usually its a lack of hydration, and I get back on my lactation pills, nursing tea and EATING MORE! … like magic, the milk comes right back in …

The Work Pump Balance takeaways: 
1. Use a small portable hand pump
2. Keep bags at work
3. Set a timer
4. Keep hydrated
5. Be easy on yourself
6. Always wear a nursing tank / bra / button up shirt

  1. Lactation Stimulant | 2. Nursing Tanks | 3. Breast Pump | 4. S’well Water Bottle | 5. Breast Milk Storage Bags | 6. Nursing Bra | 7. Reusable Breast Pads | 8. Nipple Balm | 9. Baby Laundry Soap | 10. Swaddle Blankets

What are your tips for have a healthy work pump balance?!?! Comment below!!!!


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  1. It’s definitely a juggle! Going through the same thing! I love my medela but I envisioned working at my desk with the handsfree attachment but I looked like a science experiment when I was wearing it/ it didn’t work great.

      1. Love your blog and your authenticity about motherhood. Just wondering why you chose nestle good start for top up? I am in the same boat and always wondering what is the best brand of formula. Any insight is super appreciated. Thanks! Natalie

  2. Oddly enough, my husband was the best expert on breastfeeding. He spent 10+ years in the dairy industry (not as a farmer), and was definitely qualified on the topic of lactating mammals. 😉 lol
    Here are some points I would add:
    – be relaxed. Relaxed overall in life, relaxed while nursing and relaxed while pumping. Bond with baby while nursing like sing or talk, to continue oxytocin to be produced. Oxytocin is a hormone produced from your brain so you have to think about it. Not just expect it to happen.
    – be comfortable. Make your space appealing and enjoyable. If your body can’t relax and let go, you will tighten up and reduce the amount your body produces. Make is bright, smell nice and put some low-key music on.
    – stretch yourself from pumping sessions only once a day. It is all about supply and demand. If you stretch yourself too often, your body will learn to produce less. Especially the older wee Leo gets :).

    I’d share more, but it isn’t my blog! Hahaha.

    BTW- love love your posts and show! And I love hearing your real life mom stories!! Nursing is my most favourite of baby things and I was sad to finish. (After all 5 kids too.) It is just so special of a time. 🙂 Enjoy!

  3. Breastfeeding by far is one of the most amazing and challenging experiences. I was very fortunate to be able to provide milk for my son, both pumping and directly from the source until he turned 2 this summer. It’s such a journey but so worth it. Once I went back to work, I pumped until he was 18 months old and that included traveling to and from Kelowna twice, with a pump and trying to figure out how to get my stash back over 8+ hours of travel time through airports and flights. It can be done, just a juggling act. SeaTac has some nice nursing/pumping rooms as well.

  4. Thanks for this post, Jillian! I’m wondering what tea you drink to increase milk supply. My one month old is a milk-a-holic and I’m looking for natural ways to increase my supply.

    1. Hi Bianca!! I like Weleda Nursing Tea!! I typically have a cup of this nursing tea almost every night before bed. I love how it makes me feel, how it tastes and what it does!! XO

  5. I’ve been there… 3 times now and know it’s definitely NOT easy! Be easy on yourself, you’re an amazing mom and the absolute best mom for Leo?
    I actually also tried the same lactation supplement you did and found it helped me tremendously with my milk supply. Hang in there and you’ll find what works for you!

  6. How do you like the h&m nursing bras? I never would of thought to look there for any! They’re pretty cheap at 25$..I was looking at more expensive nursing bras 50$ and up and was wondering if the quality and comfort of the h&m ones are still up to par?

  7. Jillian, You are such a wealth of information for everyone. Although my child rearing days are over (grandchildren please!). There are so many new and wonderful things that are on the market that can help women and families through the home/work life balance. Love reading all your posts about your family. Leo is soooo cute! Well Nacho is too!

  8. Wonderful post! I just stopped nursing (made it almost two years) and pumped for a year and a half while working full-time. One tip I would add if you are using an electric pump is to change the tubing and connectors frequently. They are all available on Amazon and worn tubing GREATLY impacts the pressure and can make you think supply is going down. Great tips!

  9. Honestly, this was one of the best posts I have seen on this topic. I wish I would have read it 9 and 7 years ago. Being Swedish you are supposed to nurse but I thought that it will figure itself out. I solely nursed until 6 months and for the first I still produced some for two months but for my second there was nothing left. I assume I was more stressed the second time around (18 months apart) and that took a toll on my production.
    Ah, well, no matter the choice, the most important is for baby and family to be happy. Thanks for this honesty and openess. /Caroline

  10. My baby girl is only a week younger than your cute Leo so I just love all your posts and can relate so well. I actually got the Avent Manual Pump because of you and LOVE it. Can’t beat how easy it is and it’s true that it’s seriously so quick. Who would have thought?! Hope you guys are enjoying the sunshine!

  11. So, so helpful! Thanks for sharing. I’m on mat leave for 10 more months (1-year mat leaves are pretty great) and I’ve been stressing about pumping when I’m back at work. You’re a champ!

  12. He is so cute and previous. The most beautiful baby i have ever seen. I am do happy for you. My husband Gary watch your show alk the time. Even the repeats. You are gifted from above and great talent.God bless you and your little family. ?

  13. Hi Jillian! My baby is only two days older than Leo so I love hearing all you have to say about parenthood/ nursing process via snapchat and on the blog! It’s so nice seeing someone else go through the same thing at the same time! Keep em coming! Hope you guys are enjoying Hawaii!

  14. So helpful. I totally felt the same way about what you said in wanting to feed Leo your milk. I had to supplement with my first as he wasn’t gaining fast enough and I didn’t have enough milk, but with my 2nd one who is just 5 weeks old, I wanted to feed her with just my milk. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  15. Hi Jillian, congratulations on the baby! I myself am a new Mom to a baby boy who will be 5 months tomorrow. I also sometimes give my baby formula but exclusively use an organic formula called Holle. I highly recommend it as it is the next best thing to breast milk. It is only available online as it is a European brand.

  16. JUST saw an episode when you were pregnant…. started googling….and there’s Leo! He is precious. Congratulations, Sweetie. And Merry Christmas ????

  17. Leo is so adorable!! Great post on breastfeeding and pumping! My little girl is 15 months old and I am back to work and still breastfeeding and pumping to nourish her the best way I know how 🙂 I have a medela hand pump and it helps express more milk than the electric pump I have and in much less time. Breastfeeding is definitely one of the hardest but most amazing things I’ve ever done.

  18. Great post! I found it really helpful to look at a photo or video of my baby when pumping. I read online that studies show milk production actually increases if you see images of your baby! Also second another poster in recommending Holle baby formula. I did a lot of research and it’s definitely one of the best formula out there.

  19. Great post! What lactating pills do you take? I feel like my supply is decreasing and would be interested in anything all natural.

  20. Kudos to pumping Jillian! I did it almost exclusively for 9 months and it wasn’t easy. But like you, I wanted my LO to have my milk. Thanks for the share. Nice to know other women out there are pumping around the clock too! 🙂

  21. I recently finished reading “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” and it’s seriously the best book!!! You don’t have to read the whole thing (although I would highly recommend it) but they have chapters you can read as you need them! They have a pumping section. A sleep section. I will recommend it to everyone now!

  22. I pump every two to 3 hours and am exclusively pumping. My baby comes to work with me. There is no “balance” it’s old school. I bring the baby bag, the pump bag and even her exersaucer along with all our tools and equipment!

  23. Breastfeeding by a long shot is a standout amongst the most stunning and testing encounters. I was exceptionally blessed to have the capacity to give drain to my child, both pumping and specifically from the source until the point when he turned 2 this late spring. It’s such a voyage however so justified, despite all the trouble.

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