May 19, 2019

What Baby Formula Does for Fathers

“When my wife and I put a bottle of baby formula to our son’s lips for the first time, it felt like a great defeat.

My wife had been struggling day and night to get her breast milk flowing. While we supplemented with formula in the first few days, we hoped it would be a rare occurrence. We turned our house into a milk-making laboratory and invited in consultants who showed us how to encourage our son’s sucking with a strange contraption that involved tubes and a syringe. When my wife wasn’t trying to feed the baby, she was hooked up to a pumping machine. We were all miserable, and at a certain point it became clear that the breast milk would not be enough.

But would switching to artificial milk consign our son to years of earaches and, eventually, diabetes and asthma? What about all those health benefits we’d been hearing about for years in the arguments about why “breast is best”?

Our turn to formula, though, ended up being one of those unanticipated twists of parenthood that I look back on with the most gratitude.”

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