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Sharing custody with a breastfeeding newborn

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I am no longer in a relationship with the father of my unborn child. This was my choice, and I think he may be bitter about it and lashing out. Either way, we need to come up with a solution that will work for both of us, hopefully without having to involve the law.

Exbf wants to be VERY involved. This is his first child, and he doesn't want to miss a thing. (I explained to him that even evry involved, married parents miss out on some stuff, but he didn't like that.) He seems to want to spend half time with the baby, and says that if I want to breastfeed, I should just plan on pumpng, so that baby doesn't have to be with me all the time and can stay overnight, etc. with Daddy. He does not like the idea of only seeing baby on my time, on my turf.

I have a 6yo son and know all about breastfeeding. I did not make much of an effort to bf exclusively--he just got formula when I went to work. I did try pumping, but I didn't have a great pump, and never got much. Now that I know about ap, I really want to do it right this time around. I can't afford a pump, so plan to avoid it. I am getting started as a mobile massage therapist, and will hopefully be doing that full time by the time baby is born, so would like exbf to come with me to my clients and spend alone bonding time with baby then, and I can bf before and after. Outside of that, exbf can come see baby every day if he wants to. Once baby starts supplementing with solids, he can have baby alone for hours at a time--as long as he moves to a place where no one smokes indoors.

Exbf was appaled that i'd only let him see baby a few hours a day, and prob at my home. I'd come visit him, but it's really important to me that baby get all the bf benefits, and I don't think pumping just for exbf's sake is the best for baby. Opinions? Anyone know more about pumping vs. feeding at breast?
post #2 of 3

Congrats on your new pregnancy!

 

I don't have many answers for you, but I don't know how you can come to an agreement if you both seem to have such separate desires, particularly if you want to avoid court involvement.  He seems to think that you guys can split time with the baby 50/50.  But, as you already know, that's not really realistic.  In fact, since it's his first child, he may believe in the "Hallmark card" version of this whole baby thing- sleeping baby in his/her crib, cute coos, smells like baby powder... he's probably not expecting screaming, puking, pooping, etc.  You know, the real deal.  In fact, I'd bet that even if you both agreed to the 50/50 thing from birth, after 1 night alone with a newborn, he would come running back to bring the baby back!  If you tell him that you have trouble pumping, his response may be "Let's go with formula, then."

 

Even if you don't plan on court, I would consult with a lawyer anyway.  You need to know more about your rights in your state, given your specific situation.  

 

You can check out the single moms forum here on MDC, they would probably have lots of advice about different custody arrangements.  DS#1 is from my previous marriage, but I have sole physical and legal custody, so I control all the visitation.  One thing you want to remember is that if it ever goes to court (and, if you guys are already disagreeing so much, this may be a possibility), whatever visitation you have already placed can set a precedent that the judge may follow.  So, if your exbf was seeing the baby 50% of the time (going to work with you, at your house, at his house, etc) then the judge may just follow suit and keep that arrangement, even if you don't want it.  

 

2nd, I don't think I would plan on exbf as being reliable child care (until you know he can/will do it).  He may be great!  Or he may be overwhelmed and will bail on you.  Or, he could get mad at you and bail on you anyway.  When you say that he will follow you to your clients, do you mean he would be in your clients' house with the baby?  That may not work so well.  I've had 2 really laid back babies who STILL had crappy days that required a lot of nursing and crying- and your clients would not be cool with that.  I would plan on more reliable child care until things are settled with your exbf.

 

I wish you luck and I hope you have a peaceful pregnancy.  blowkiss.gif

 

 

post #3 of 3

What Sharon said.

 

I left my XH when DS was 4.5 months and still EBF, so in a way I've BTDT.

 

Also, it sounds like your X has control issues. If he's already adament that he wants you to pump so he can have the baby 50% of the time and not listening when explain EBF, that's a bad omen for when this baby becomes "real". You KNOW that baby will need to be with you each night until they nightwean, regardless of what X says.

 

I very heavily agree with Sharon that you need to scrap your plan of having X come along with you to babysit while you see clients. If it works out, you'll be one of the rare few to ever have it work. I'm not saying that it's impossible, just that you really need to have a very solid backup plan.

 

On the legal aspect, you absolutely should consult with a few different lawyers. Consults are almost always free and even if you choose not to retain a lawyer, a consult can give you a mountain of insight and advice on what to do and what NOT to do. This is just heresay, but judges will typically side with the EBF mother on custody disputes (have a doctors/pediatricians letter just in case) until the child is nightweaned. Once the child is nightweaned (provided your X isn't mentally unstable or abusive or something like that), you will be expected to allow overnights. Of course, that's only if your X asks for them and if you refuse, he can take you to court to enforce it.

 

My best advice to you is just let him talk when he makes all these promises and demands on you about custody and visitation and just keep restating what you know about breastfeeding. Stick to the facts about how it's best for baby and doesn't he want the best for his child? And back it up with the best ways to assure this child gets what's best. Once the baby is born, he'll get a reality check about just how tough newborns are (I'm reading that this is his first?) and likely back off on the demands. But absolutely have the name and number of a lawyer you feel comfortable with on standby in case he starts threatening craziness like taking the baby. Be versed on what exactly his rights are before he makes any demand on you for visitation/custody. You don't want to have a 1 week old and him to just show up expecting to take the baby and not knowing what you can legally do/not do. It's a bad situation to be in, so talk to those lawyers and ask what happens in each scenario you can think of!

 

Also on the BTDT front, expect to be threatened with formula if you can't pump obscene amounts of milk. My XH did this and even gave DS formula a few times (my poor baby got insanely constipated which I had to deal with). I was stupid enough to trust him with my small freezer stash and he blew through it in a matter of days. He was intentionally over-feeding DS and never had extra milk no matter how full the bottles were when I dropped DS off with him. I learned the hard way to quietly monitor what was in the bottles I sent over (I poured off and froze any excess that I *knew* DS didn't need that day) and if XH ever asked how much was in my freezer, I always said "nothing", otherwise it turned into a opportunity to control and manipulate me. And guilt trips over how I was a horrible mother and should just "pump more milk". Thankfully, formula isn't the end of the world and if I wasn't able to pump enough and knew DS would be hungry, I would also quietly top off the BM bottles with formula so that he would only get 1 or 2 ounces instead of an entire extra constipating bottle.

 

Lastly, join some BF support groups.

 

Congratulations on your pregnancy and good luck with everything! It's going to be tough but you can do it!

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