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Extended breastfeeding- court advice

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi lovely ladies :)

I just have a brief question and call for info or examples or advice.

My childrens father and I are just at the beginning of the court process though we have been split for nearly a year and a half. We have three children, two together one is his. Our youngest is 31 months old and still nursing. The schedule we have been doing since January had her staying two overnights a week at his house. I would go down to his house to nurse her once in the morning and once in the evening but that is no longer feasible as he has been cornering me in his home and making me feel unsafe and insisiting on talking about really innapropriate things and arguing in front of the kids. So on my lawyers advice I told him she would not be going overnight until our daughter is weaned.

Today I got his reply and affidavit to the courts stating that as our daughter is healthy, eats lots of solids and drinks milk from a cup there is no need for her to be nursing. So we go to court next week and I am just afraid of getting a judge that is all about mens equality and against extended nursing. My daughter needs it so much, more than anything emotionally for the connection with me as she is in daycare and these extra overnights have been hard on her. She turbo nurses and is super high anxiety when she comes home from his house. Like she literally nurses all night and if I roll over or try to get up to pee she clings to me. I had been trying out this schedule to placate him and try to keep things out of court but it just was not working.

Anyhow, my question is... anybody have any legal precedent with this? Or facts, like good scientific stuff to give my lawyer on the benefits of nursing toddlers? It would be so bad for her if I was forced to wean her. I know the WHO recommends 2 years min breastfeeding and the world average is four years old but is there anything else I can use?

He wants 50% of the time with all the kids and he is so unstable and a really scary person. And so manipulative, I am pretty afraid of him pulling the wool over a judges eyes. He is good at playing the poor caring father that just wants time with his beloved children.

Thanks for any input,


post #2 of 10
Try cross-posting in the breastfeeding forum.

I've only been as far as mediation but have been told by the mediator and legal counsel that most judges are not at all concerned about a breastfeeding relationship - and we were talking about my baby.

I'm sorry your ex is not putting your daughter's best interests first. I'm still bfing both my kids - going on 1 and 3 years - and I know how important that bfing relationship is, especially with changes at home and daycare.
post #3 of 10

I'm sorry you are dealing with this :( Unfortunately, I don't have any legal precedent for you other than I think it is unlikely that a judge will agree with you :(  I know some states will say no overnights for younger kids, nursing or not, but 3 is the oldest I have heard of this happening (correct me if I'm wrong please!)


My dp and I are separating as well.  My son is 3 years + a couple of  months and still nursing, but honestly I'm not even going to bring it up should we got court because I don't think it will be a positive for me...at all.  My son can go for a night or day without nursing though without a problem (or has a few times at least) so it sounds like he is not nursing as much as your daughter.  Despite some theatrics otherwise, I also believe that my STBX will not insist on multiple nights away for me, at least at first.  I may be proven wrong, but fingers crossed at this point.


I have heard plenty of anecdotes saying that often kids will just adjust to not nursing at dads and continue nursing with mom.  I wouldn't feel that you have to wean her entirely even if she is ordered to spend several nights with dad. 


You  might do better to set up a slowly increasing schedule building up from no overnights to however many you are comfortable with to at least show the judge that you aren't trying to keep your ex from having overnights ever, just until your daughter is more comfortable with it, and leave out mentions of breastfeeding being the reason.  


Also, contact La Leche League in your area to see if they have any info for you!  

post #4 of 10

You aren't going to get much traction with breastfeeding when your toddler is 2 1/2 years old.  The court simply isn't going to care.  In fact, in some states, they don't care if the baby is under a year old (I don't agree with that, but it is what it is).   Your stbx is going to get overnights.  There's not a thing you can do to stop that.  And if you are in a state that has a presumption of 50/50 physical, you can't stop that either.  Without actual proof that he will be a danger to your children.  I know that's not what you want to hear, but it's reality. 


What you can do is see if he is willing to do a step up plan. Maybe just one overnight a week, with several other "visits" for the first 6-12 months. 

post #5 of 10
Is it an option to request the nursing visits to his houses but have the court mandate he leave you in a private room and not bother you?
post #6 of 10

Le Leche league has a section on breastfeeding and divorse;   https://www.llli.org/law/lawdivorce.html

My thoughts are with you.

post #7 of 10
Area you in Canada? If so, my advice won't necessarily apply to you, but you can certainly search my past posts on this topic and Google Liz Baldwin's writings.
post #8 of 10

The official position of the Canadian Pediatric Society recommends until at least age 2 and then as long as mutually desired.  I think about this one a lot too (dd2 is 18 months now).  x blamed breastfeeding for his lack of bond with dd1.  My lawyer said judges are good with bf'ing in Canada until age 2 but after that they don't care.  It's probably best to focus on issues that have nothing to do with breastfeeding....eg who was the primary caregiver, work schedules that are better for the kids (eg if you both work full time there is a greater liklihood of him getting 50/50).  Personally my position is that when my dd2 is old enough to emotionally handle the separation and waking up in a strange bed, then I'm okay with overnights.  


You might want to do some sleuthing and get some evidence that might point to him wanting 50/50 just to get out of paying child support.  I have no idea how to go about that though....good question for your lawyer.  In my case, I had offered extra time (in a way that didn't hand it on him with a silver platter, but it was clearly an opportunity). We don't have a final agreement yet - just interim orders.  He didn't take advantage of the offer.  He shows no initiative (but likes to make a big show that he is super dad too).


What about proposing to x a one night per week schedule?  Or have the overnights occur not on consecutive nights (then you're less likely to dry up in between).  Is the schedule by court order, or do you have flexibility allowed?  Anything to keep it out of court!  


I would try to record him being verbally abusive (eg i-phone in your pocket).  The new family law act is supposed to consider that.  (just be very careful to not engage - otherwise it can "appear" to be 2-way)


Good luck - I'm keeping fingers crossed for you!


Oh - and no one can force you to wean!  Something to consider is to have a "broken wing decoy issue".  E.g if breastfeeding is really important, then downplay the breastfeeding and emphasize a different issue instead.  If x is manipulatifve and wants to hurt you, then if he knows what is REALLY important, he'll go after that.  Not sure if that makes sense.  I really really feel for you, mama  hug2.gif

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your help in this and words of advice. I am in Canada, so some thing some different here, thanks dotl for your post you make some good points. I don't really want to focus on the braestfeeding either, my lawyer suggested I say no more overnights until she is weaned and I kind of regret having used that as now he is super mad and saying my daughter shouldn't be nursing at all anymore and just is for my own selfish reasons. It is more her emotional wellbeing, the increase in overnights (which we agreed in mediation to 'try out', jumping from one overnight every two weeks to two a week) has led to a lot of anxiety in her and she displays this in her nursing behaviour more than anything but it's not so much the nursing. Also my lawyer was concerned for my safety when I was going down and feeding her at his house, hence why she suggested no overnights until she weans. Anyhow we have court Wednesday so I'll update and let you know how it goes. This is pretty stressful wow. I'm so afraid of whats going to happen. I think he's going to try and take my son away as well, he keeps telling me my son feels unsafe at my house and that he should just be with Daddy. So scared for my kids, my son is such a sensitive guy!


post #10 of 10

Oh big hugs mama.  Abusers accuse their targets of abuse.  So sorry you have to deal with this.  What does your lawyer say about ds and your ex's attempts at parental alienation (I'm sure he is making things up about what ds says...or else planting seeds to brainwash ds into saying or believing that).  That sickens me that he would say that.


I hope you can keep the custody arrangement or go back to less overnights.  Is there another way to deal with the nursing e.g. maybe have him bring her to a public place and you can nurse in the car?  Or he could bring her out to the car if you're in a busy neighbourhood.  I know it's hard, but maybe there is someone you can bring with you (as sociopaths often behave best when they have an audience).

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