If you're lucky, one of the first skills you will acquire as a new parent is flexibility. Because when it comes to babies, not everything will go as planned. For example: unfortunately, most new moms will not reach their breastfeeding goals. Fortunately, there's formula. And there are things a grown-ass man says when his partner switches to formula... and things he does not.
Look, I get it: adulting is hard. There are bills and jobs and responsibilities and one day you wake up and realize you threw out your back reaching for a spatula. (OMG how does that even happen?) Physically, emotionally, and psychologically, it's all just a lot to handle. But being a grown-ass man, once you get the hang of it, isn't actually that hard. It's really mainly about being a thoughtful, compassionate person who respects others. When you love someone, this should be your default mode of behavior. (Of course everyone screws up sometimes: you may be a grown-ass human, but you're still a human.)
Being a new parent challenges everything, including your ability to function as a grown-ass man. This is all the more reason to really commit to it, though. Wile it might take a little more effort in the short-term, in the long-run it will make your relationship with your partner and child so much better and easier.
Deciding to make the switch from breast milk to formula is one of the early moments when you can assert yourself among the ranks of other grown-ass men. So here are some of the things you should and absolutely should not say:
Do Say: "Cool!"
The most grown-ass thing one can do when a partner decides it's time to switch over to formula is simply to be supportive. And it's not hard, fellas! When you understand that your formerly breastfeeding partner did not come to this decision lightly or on a whim, and that it's their choice entirely to make (you know, what with it being their body and all) is probably 85 percent of what you'll be expected to do.
Don't Say: "Have You Really Tried, Though?"
Any amount she has tried before saying "we're going to switch to formula" is the amount of trying that feels right for her. But how do you know she's really tried? TRICK QUESTION! THAT'S NOT UP TO YOU TO DECIDE! Because it's her body and her choice! Don't be a jerk. Recognize whose decision this is and respect it.
Do Say: "Formula Is A Great Option"
Because. It. Is. It's nutritionally complete and, in many ways, a modern miracle. Depending on the circumstances of choosing to switch from breastfeeding to formula, a mom might feel (needlessly) guilty, so having a grown-ass man remind her that formula is healthy and a completely valid feeding choice can be helpful.
Don't Say: "Formula Is Poison"
It's... just demonstrably not. I mean, really, what a ridiculous statement. It's neither actual poison nor unhealthy. It's a nutritionally complete way to feed a baby. A grown-ass man would never resort to hyperbole or misinformation to try to convince his partner to change her mind.
Do Say: "Now I Can Help With Night Feedings More Easily"
Step up, my dude. Don't wait to be asked, just be proactive. A huge benefit of formula is that feeding responsibilities can be more easily distributed, so lean into that.
Don't Say: "My Sister/Mom/Friend/Co-Worker/Ex Breastfed For Way Longer"
A grown-ass man never compares women in this way, especially not as a means of shaming someone to try to do something they've told you they don't want to do.
Do Say: "I've Researched The Following Brands"
It might take a while for your baby to settle on a particular formula that works for their finicky little tummy... or they could be like my kid and just guzzle down literally anything you give them with no problems. One never knows. Be a part of figuring out which way it's going to go by coming correct with forethought and analysis.
Don't Say: "But How Will You Bond?"
Breastfeeding is not the only way a parent and a child can bond. Have you bonded with your baby, father who I assume hasn't breastfed his child since he's pressuring his partner to do so? OK, then calm down. Obviously she's still going to be able to bond with your child.
Do Say: "I Picked Up A Bunch Of Different Bottles To Try Out"
Ditto on the bottles, because babies are weirdly picky. Honestly I don't know what their deal is: it's a bottle, little dude. Get your you-know-what together. They're the opposite of being a grown-ass man on this issue sometimes (other times they're fortunately zen: again, you just never know how it'll play out).
Don't Say: "But You Know Breastfeeding Helps You Lose Weight, Right?"
Y-... you didn't really just... no. No, you wouldn't ever dare say such a thing. I must have misheard you.
Do Say: "She Said What...?"
Less grown-ass people than you may have "opinions" on your partner's decision to switch over to formula. Support her and, if she wants you to, defend her. In any case you need to have her back.
Don't Say: "You're Being Selfish"
No. She's not. She isn't obligated to feed her baby any particular way.
Don't Say: "Finally!"
This is not something a grown-ass man would say because it makes it sound as though he was quietly betting against his partner's breastfeeding efforts. Don't do that. Even if while your partner was trying to make breastfeeding work you thought, "Maybe we should switch to formula," and you're happy your partner now agrees with you, just keep it to yourself. Even if your wanting her to switch was motivated by care for her! I get it. But you can be supportive without letting her know you weren't really on board beforehand.
Do Say: "Great Work"
A grown-ass man recognizes that any amount of effort his partner put into breastfeeding is effort worthy of gratitude and acknowledgement. "Thank you," is, in my estimation, one of the most underutilized two words in many relationships. It's a simple way to let someone know "I see you and I love you and I appreciate the things you do that make the life we have possible."