I know – this is a headline you never expected to read. Breastfeeding is impacting the podcast? Well, as you probably know – The Archaeologist and I had a baby in June 2023. ArchaeoBaby is a delight and he is the best part of our lives.
Traditionally, babies are not very accommodating to content creators. However, we made plans on how to make him fit into our lives, to allow both of us to carry forward, while also ensuring he had our undivided attention.
So, what went wrong?
I haven’t talked much about my full-time career and what I do. To provide some background – I design and manage the production of software, typically Software as a Service (SaaS for short). I spend my days working with developers, other designers, business leaders (in Sales and customer service), all while producing documentation that allows both sides of the equation (Technical and business), the insight they need to make decisions. I have always found my job rewarding and was always going to return back to work, after I had ArchaeoBaby, with enough time to recover and bond.
However, when I became pregnant, I found out that my employer did not provide supplemental maternity leave. Note: In Canada, we have public benefits for leaves, like Maternity, called Employment Insurance (EI for short). EI for Maternity Leave, is for 15 weeks at 55% of your income, max of $650, and the same amount for Parental leave, for a remaining 35 weeks (50 weeks in total).
As an American – I appreciate there being a regulatory structured plan. Especially, because the US is inconsistent and dependent on the generosity of the employer. However, $650 a week is low for most people, and especially so in a city like Toronto. Our rent is $3200 CAD per month – EI would have been $2400 after taxes.
With my employer not providing supplemental leave income, and me being the sole income in our household, I returned to work after 9 weeks.
Wow – That’s short…What does that have to do with Breastfeeding?
When I returned to work, I had worked with my medical team to determine what would be the best plan for me to work full-time, while breastfeeding my son. It was determined after numerous conversations that I would be more than capable to work from home, breastfeeding as needed, while The Archaeologist, focused on being the full-time caregiver. This meant his reduced his schedule for Brad’s Labs to focus more on our son, and he does not regret it.
However, when I gave this return to work plan to my employer, they decided that it unreasonable for me nurse at home and adjust my hours to compensate for time lost (1.5 hours per day expected to be lost to breastfeeding, I offered to work from 8 a.m to 6 p.m., rather than my existing 8:30 to 5 p.m. schedule). This was rejected and I was informed that if I stayed at home, they would allow me, but I would have my weekly hours reduced by 7, with a loss of income of $1200 a month. I was informed that if I came into the office and pumped, there would not be the same reduction in hours.
After many conversations, we decided that was our only option, and starting on August 14th, we started the long commute into Toronto by train.
Well, I’m something called an exact producer. Meaning, I only produce enough breastmilk to feed my baby. It’s very normal and unlike what instagram would make you think, most women don’t have multiple deep freezes full of breastmilk. So, when I returned to the office and we intended to do a system of “I pump, you pick up milk to feed him bottles”, it required Brad, myself and ArchaeoBaby to be in Toronto. This meant, 3 days per week, we pack up our family and are away from home from 7 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.
After 3 days of doing this, ArchaeoBaby decided he preferred boob only, and I had to change from pumping in the office, to instead, nursing him in the office and in the PATH, where Brad spends his days working in a temperature controlled environment.
Wait, isn’t Brad immunocompromised?
He sure is! If you have seen one of the more recent Brad’s Labs, where Brad discusses his condition – Psoriatic Arthritis; you will have learned about his condition and the immunosuppressant he takes once a month. When he takes this, his immune system crashes to 20% and never gets above 80%.
Because of this, we wear masks, do not eat in close proximity/enclosed spaces if we can, frequent handwashing and avoidance of people. Which if you’ve ever been on a GO Train during either rush hour, you know is nearly impossible.
So how is breastfeeding impacting posting?
Well, simply enough – There aren’t enough hours in the day. When we are home, we’re exhausted. Having a newborn is tiring enough – having a newborn, who is exclusively breastfed, while doing a three hour commute, plus the need to work, eat and sleep means that sometimes, we will miss things.
We have worked hard to keep up with the recipes posts and I hope you do enjoy them. We love making them and will make sure to always have time for that. However, the podcast can be a bit more cumbersome, and along with social posting, can fall to the wayside.
Can we help at all?
I hate to ask – But if you have a moment, consider sharing our content or becoming a Patron. We love the content we create and while I love my career, I’d love to have the pressure off of me to be the sole income. When you are in a position where your family’s livelihood lives and dies with you, you are more willing to accept abuse and other experiences that you wouldn’t if you were in a different situation.
This situation could evolve faster if Brad had more stable income coming in through sources like Patreon, or monetization on YouTube. Both of those may be way further in the future, and that’s okay. Rome was not built in a day, nor is a sourdough starter. But, if you like this content, like us, want to show support for our effort and energy or even just want to say “Hey, you got this momma”, consider helping our community grow.
Any questions or suggestions?
We’d love to have them. Having a baby is amazing and I love being a mom. I know this situation is weird. I know a lot of people have provided me feedback in the past that may not have been so helpful (Actual statements below):
Why isn’t he on Formula?
You should force him to take the bottle!
Why are you being so selfish?
Why can’t your husband get a real job so you can be home with your baby?
But, I know some people may actually be curious or have another solution we may not have thought of. So let me know in the comments either here or on social because I love our community and everything we do. Food is life. Our history of how we eat and survive is my passion. So feeding my baby is my passion.