The Family Weekly: Care and Compromise

Highlights from this week’s coverage on relationships and family life

Victor Ruiz / Reuters

This Week in Family

While the U.S. has been reluctant to outlay large amounts of public funding for child care, other countries have taken more aggressive approaches: The Canadian province of Quebec is in the midst of a decades-long experiment that provides generous family leave and a highly subsidized child-care system. But the experiment has its challenges: Quebec has had to start supplementing public child-care centers with private ones in order to make space for every kid, resulting in very different experiences for different families.

The Big Question

Last week, innovators met up at an MIT hackathon to figure out how to improve the experience of breastfeeding:

The occasion was a hackathon that brought together developers, designers, and others to, as the event’s title puts it, “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck.” ... What emerged was an awareness that the challenges surrounding breastfeeding were not just technical and equipment-based. There were practical, social, and economic obstacles that needed to be addressed. Even under perfect circumstances, breastfeeding will not work for every family, but at the core of the hackathon’s vision is that it definitely could be much easier for many people, and there are plenty of borderline cases for which changing the circumstances, technologies, and systems could have a real impact.

What was your experience with breastfeeding? What would have made it easier? What did you struggle with? Tell us your stories in Homebodies, The Atlantic’s Facebook group for discussing family life.


This photo, taken by Ken Richardson, shows a session at the “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck” hackathon at MIT last weekend.

Dear Therapist

Every Wednesday, the psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb answers readers’ questions about life’s trials and tribulations, big or small, in The Atlantic’s “Dear Therapist” column.

This week, a reader worries they’re going too far in sacrificing career goals for their partner. Lori’s advice:

When couples bring disagreements to therapy, often I find it useful for them to talk with each other about the “why” of what they’d like to see happen, and not just the “what.” For instance, why does your girlfriend want you to live with her at the cost of turning down your acceptances? By staying in the “what,” people tend to assign motives to their partners that are distorted or simply wrong—and these assumptions back both people further into their corners.

Send Lori your questions at