Father wants visitation on our 2 week old infant - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 44 Old 01-17-2012, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i just have a few questions about visitation for the father, and can't find the laws about it in Washington State

 

Can he take him overnight when he is only 2 weeks old?

 

Can he feed him formula, even though I want him to have breast milk, but don't want to pump? Just want baby to be with me when he needs to feed?

 

If i don't trust that he will know what to do with our infant does that matter to a judge as far as visitation?

 

Thanks, New Mama

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#2 of 44 Old 01-17-2012, 11:14 PM
 
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Has paternity been established?  I wouldn't let him take the baby out of your care until there is an order.  Do you feel comfortable having him come for short frequent visits in your home so that you can feed the baby?  You will probably need to pump or allow formula down the road but until ordered I would stick with short frequent visits in your home and document everything.  Someone better will give you information soon I'm sure but I didn't want to leave you thinking you need to hand over a two week old.

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#3 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 05:36 AM
 
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Congratulations on your new baby!

In my opinion, the best thing to do is to get custody and child support squared away as quickly as possible. Until he's established paternity, he has no legal right to take the baby (though I would argue that unless he's dangerous, he has an ethical right). Was he with you for the birth? If he was, he may have signed the birth certificate. That's the first step. From there, getting a visitation schedule requires filing a motion in court-- this typically also includes child support orders.

Typically, judges will not order overnights for a newborn (that usually starts between 2 - 3 years). Short frequent visits are usually preferred for babies.

What kind of guy is he? Is he abusive, an addict, dangerous, or somebody that you really want to keep out of your life for legitimate reasons? If so, he technically has no legal right to the baby. If you don't want child support from him, you can wait for him to file for visitation, and if he never does it, he's basically got no rights to the child.

On the other hand, if he's basically a decent human being, I would certainly encourage you to help him build a relationship with the baby. Even if you two don't get along, he may still be a pretty good father, and he deserves a chance at a relationship with the baby. I would encourage you to invite him over for short frequent visits (say, two hours twice a week?). If you can do it at your house, fantastic. You can help him learn how to care for the baby, and it would give you some time to read a book, take a shower, take a nap, get the laundry done, whatever. And when you do go before a judge for custody, it will look a whole lot better if you helped foster that relationship (again, barring abuse, substance abuse, etc). And if you can get a cordial coparenting relationship going (again, barring abuse) it will make everyone's life, including the baby's, a whole lot better in the long run.

I would also try hard to explain to the baby's father why it's so important to breastfeed. Ultimately, you will probably have to compromise with pumping, though you may very well be able to avoid it for at least the first six months.

 


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#4 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Paternity results should be in today/tomorrow.

 

He wants to visit our son, but doesn't want to visit at my house with me there. We don't get along and he doesn't feel it necessary for me to watch over him. He is a genuine guy, I just don't want my newborn with someone who as little to no experience.

 

After results come in we will start our court process, but the only way he will visit his son is if I am not there. If I don't allow him to take him will that be a mark against me in court?

 

Thanks, New Mama

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#5 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Does he have rights even though he isn't on the birth certificate and an affidavit hasn't been signed? Just if the test says yes.

 

I just don't want any bad marks against me in court that he could use, saying I with holding his son.

 

New Mama

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#6 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 11:39 AM
 
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Paternity results should be in today/tomorrow.

 

He wants to visit our son, but doesn't want to visit at my house with me there. We don't get along and he doesn't feel it necessary for me to watch over him. He is a genuine guy, I just don't want my newborn with someone who as little to no experience.

 

After results come in we will start our court process, but the only way he will visit his son is if I am not there. If I don't allow him to take him will that be a mark against me in court?

 

Thanks, New Mama


As for little to no experience, most new parents have little to no experience. It's the name of the game, and the only way to learn is by doing. That's not going to hold up in court as a reason not to allow access. Breastfeeding may allow you to get an order that requires short visits while you are available to feed, but that will only work until Breasfeeding is well established (IF it works - some judges could care less about breastfeeding). Think of how long you think that will take (6 weeks sounds reasonable), and then tell the judge that. If you are being very reasonable, and thinking realistically, and don't appear to be just limiting dad's access, you are more likely to get what you want.

 

Is there a specific place that he wants visitation to take place (ie, his house)? If he wants visitation to take place somewhere inappropriate then that may count against him, but from what you've posted he doesn't sound dangerous, sounds like he wants a relationship with his son, and just doesn't want to do it all on your terms - which honestly sounds very reasonable. How is he supposed to bond with the baby if you are there to feed/comfort/handle all baby things?

 

Would you be more comfortable proposing a series of short visits with you there, and then allowing him to take the baby with him for longer and longer periods of time? For example, 3 2hour visits in your home. During those 3 visits you will show him how to hold baby, change his diaper, bathe him, etc, and then afterwards allow him to take the baby outside your home for 2 hours 3-4 times, and then gradually increase the amount of time baby spends with him?

 

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#7 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He also lives 2 hours away, but his girlfriend lives in my town, so that is where he would take our son. He doesn't want to spend time with me there at all, so the short visits with me there isn't what he wants. But if I say sorry that's the way it is or you don't get to see him, will that be held against me?

 

If the only way he will visit his son is by him coming to pick him up for a couple hours at a time, will the court say that was reasonable?

 

Thanks, New Mama

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#8 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 12:48 PM
 
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I don't know your back story and the reasons why you two don't get along -- and I'm sure they're perfectly legitimate reasons, I'm not doubting that. But if you have the option of building up a functional coparenting relationship, it will make your life easier in the long run.

Maybe it would help if you sent him an email suggesting a timeline -- a couple of visits at your house where you show him the ropes, then he takes the baby for short (say, two hour) visits at his girlfriend's house. Would it work if you were really polite and positive and stressed that you wanted to do what was best for the baby?

The baby definitely shouldn't get any formula at all until breastfeeding is well established. I think offering to pump milk for longer visits, as the baby gets older, is a very reasonable compromise.

Keep track of all correspondence -- you want to show that you are giving him an opportunity to build that relationship with his child.


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#9 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 01:24 PM
 
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Do you know where the girlfriend lives? If so, then I think it's reasonable to let him take the baby for a couple hours between feedings. Esp if he can agree to bring him back if he shows signs of being hungry. If you don't know where she lives and he won't allow you to bring the baby, then I don't know that a judge would look down on that. Especially as you're offering him time with the baby at your house. But if you're totally sure he's a good guy and just wants time with his son, then I think I would trust him and show good faith. The judge WILL look upon that favorably, and your ex might calm down about you. Plus, then you get two hours to shower and eat! I know it feels weird to hand your baby over and see him go somewhere else, but you might appreciate the time alone with your hands free.


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#10 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 01:36 PM
 
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Im shocked anyone thinks its reasonable that a 2 week old be separated from the mother.  Ive never met a baby that young who could go that long between feedings.  I would send an email saying that he is welcome to visit the baby in your home 3 times a week for an hour and then if that goes well then at six weeks he can have the baby out of your home for  an hour 3 times a week progressing to 2 hour visits when the baby is twelve weeks.  You will need to be pumping or offering formula before the visits get longer.  It's still too early for pumping and not good to supplement if you mean to only breast feed.  Just because he's more interested in his own comfort (baby without you) than his childs need to nurse on demand at such a young age doesn't mean you are being unreasonable to say no.  You should really find out what's standard in your area because visits and overnights for young infants can vary wildly.  Also put in your note that he will need to have a properly installed carseat before he can take the baby anywhere.  

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#11 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 01:48 PM
 
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Quite honestly I think you would do nothing but make yourself look bad if you refuse to allow access to the baby, and by refusing to pump. Your baby has a right to have a relationship with his father, even if you and he can't stand the sight of each other.

 

 

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#12 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 01:49 PM
 
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It is NOT reasonable for a 2 week old baby to be separated from his mother. After DS was born, I was upset when I felt like other family members were not letting me hold him enough. (It wasn't due to any bad intentions on the part of others, they were just excited to hold him too.)

 

 

I agree that it is best to keep things amicable with the father, but I hope this can be done without separation.

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#13 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 01:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PoppyMama View Post

 


Im shocked anyone thinks its reasonable that a 2 week old be separated from the mother.  Ive 



The other side of the coin is that it is shocking to think a father should be kept from his child!

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#14 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 02:07 PM
 
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Especially when he's clearly showing interest in the baby.
 

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The other side of the coin is that it is shocking to think a father should be kept from his child!



 

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#15 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 02:16 PM
 
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His showing interest and desire to see the baby does not trump the babies need to fed on demand.  We aren't talking about a 4 month old even this is a newborn.  How many partnered mothers had a partner take their baby away from their home for 2 hours.  It's ridiculous.  If the father really wanted to see the baby and was putting the babies needs first he would suck it up and go visit the baby at the mothers house, as she has offered.

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#16 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 02:18 PM
 
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Here are some useful links.

 

http://www.lawhelp.org/documents/1887413601EN.pdf?stateabbrev=/WA/

 

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=26.09

(the parenting plan bits are in the middle, starting at 181)


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#17 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 02:20 PM
 
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2 weeks is really early to pump and unlikely to do much other than cause misery to mom.  In a couple of weeks it would be reasonable to start pumping so that the baby can learn the.the bottle but 2 weeks is too young.

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#18 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 02:21 PM
 
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No I get that but we're only getting part of the story.  Is he being vindictive or is there a good reason he doesn't want her around?  No she should not have to give the baby over while she's nursing on demand.  However two people made this baby and two people want to be part of the babies life. 

 

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His showing interest and desire to see the baby does not trump the babies need to fed on demand.  We aren't talking about a 4 month old even this is a newborn.  How many partnered mothers had a partner take their baby away from their home for 2 hours.  It's ridiculous.  If the father really wanted to see the baby and was putting the babies needs first he would suck it up and go visit the baby at the mothers house, as she has offered.



 

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#19 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 02:23 PM
 
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Is there a mutual friend or maybe a grandparent that could be there for the visits and you can stay in the bedroom unless you need to feed the baby?

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#20 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 02:23 PM
 
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This is for Yakima County...not sure if it applies to your area

 

http://www.lawhelp.org/documents/1887413601EN.pdf?stateabbrev=/WA/

Parentage and Parenting Plans for Unmarried Parents in Washington

Residential Schedule Guidelines Used in Yakima County Superior Court When Parents Get Along and There is No Need for Restrictions on Either Parent
July 2011

INFANTS (Birth to 18 Months)
Birth to 6 Months
RECOMMENDATION: two hours, at least twice per week
A baby must have consistent physical care and sensitive, cooperative interaction between the infant and caregiver. The pattern of access shouldn’t interrupt the ability of the parents to provide smooth child care routines. Visitation should happen often enough to help the infant and parent bond. Daily contact of a few hours in the primary residence of the infant is ideal, with both parents sharing in feeding, bathing, changing, and otherwise caring for and playing with the infant.

It’s best if both parents are committed to the infant developing a good relationship with both parents. Cooperation is important at any age, but it’s the most important factor in designing a plan for infants. When parents cannot restrain themselves from fighting or arguing in from of the infant, visitation should be somewhere besides the residential home. Special family circumstances may require that visitation be in a protected setting or the office of a mental health professional.
During this stage of infancy, frequent and predictable contact with the infant is best. Unless circumstances allow several contacts each week, time with the infant away from the residential parent should be limited to one or two hours at a time.

 

6 to 18 Months
RECOMMENDATION: Two hours, twice per week and four hours, once per week
The major issue at this age is the forming of secure attachments. The most important features of care giving are stability and responsiveness. Young children can quickly lose feelings of attachment to people they do not see often. Like with younger infants, the more frequent and stable the visitation is, the longer each visit can be. If visits are less than once or twice a week, visits shouldn’t be more than three hours at a time. Children this age need routine contact with familiar people. Overnights away from the primary caregiver should be discouraged unless the instability for the child is outweighed by other factors.


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#21 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 02:23 PM
 
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I think you need to talk with a lawyer.  In terms of "reasonableness" there is a strong argument to be made that he is being unreasonable for refusing to visit your newborn in your home, and that it is reasonable that his earliest visits should take place with you present or at least nearby.  I know Kellymom has some resources for breastfeeding and legal issues, might be a good place to start.


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#22 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 02:28 PM
 
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It doesn't matter what his motivation is.  I doubt mom wants him at her home but it is not in the best interest of the baby to be away from mom right now.  

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#23 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 02:33 PM
 
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No I don't think it is either.  They should get a third party involved.  Like a cousin or mom.  A place they can go for the visit.  And I doubt if this goes to court he'll get to take the infant away if she's nursing.  WA is pro mom pro breastfeeding.  That's how they roll there. 

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#24 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 04:04 PM
 
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It doesn't matter what his motivation is.  I doubt mom wants him at her home but it is not in the best interest of the baby to be away from mom right now.  


It's also not in the babies best interest to not have the opportunity to bond with a parent. A parent. A good intentioned parent. I don't like parenting with my ex looking over my shoulder, and he doesn't like me looking over his.

We know that it is not ideal for a newborn to be away from his mother for 2 hours at a time. It's also not ideal for a child to have separated parents. There is nothing ideal about single parenthood. Are you a single mother? It's far from ideal.

OP - I would recommend sending your ex a detailed outline of what you propose as a reasonable parenting for the next 3 months. How often he can visit, how many times you want him to visit the child in your home before taking the child out (not very many I think 3-4 is reasonable because you don't want the child with someone he's never met before).

Also, for those saying newborns ate incapable of going 2 hours without feeding, that is not always true. My ds regularly went 3-4 hours from 0-2 months between feedings. He was nursed on demand as well. He was almost 9lbs at birth, and that may have had something to do with it (he also gained very rapidly).
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#25 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 05:07 PM
 
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I was a single mom from DS1's dad for a long time.  One thing I learned was to try hard to avoid ultimatums.  When possible, give choices instead.

 

I am sorry you are having to deal with this post-partum.  I could barely deal with breathing two weeks out.  Good for you for reaching out to get advice on this issue.

 

Best of luck, mama.


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#26 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 05:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hillymum View Post



The other side of the coin is that it is shocking to think a father should be kept from his child!


He's keeping himself from the child, 2 week old infants should not be away from their mother unless it's absolutely necessary. And mothers of 2 week old infants deserve the security of knowing they're safe at all times. It just isn't equal at this stage, it just isn't.

It sounds to me like this man is playing emotional hard-ball at the most inappropriate time. He needs to grow up!

Thankfully it looks like the law is on OP's side.

The only thing I can suggest is to offer to stay in a different room for his entire visit, and offer it in writing (text message or email).

 

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#27 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 05:58 PM
 
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I was a single mother for 7 years so I know how nonideal it is but I think it's ridiculous to move so far to the side of catering to the father as to recommend sending a 2 week old away from its mother, first attachment and meal ticket.  Separating this young is bad for the baby, bad for successful breast feeding and bad for the post partum mom.  The person whose body made the sacrifice for the child and whose body needs a little peace to heal.  If he was any kind of man he wouldn't be such a brat.  Why shouldn't he have to suck it up and be a little uncomfortable in order to put his childs needs first we know the mother has.

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#28 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 06:01 PM
 
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The general recommendation for establishing breast feeding is every 2 hours, and that's 2 hours from start to start so there is no 2 hour gap.  

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#29 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 07:20 PM
 
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I would not agree to send my 2-week-old baby away for a couple of hours, and at this point it sounds like you legally do not have to.  I would make sure that your offer to have him come and spend time with the baby is well-documented (via email) and that you repeat the offer several times so it is clear you are not trying to keep him from bonding with the baby.  I would also send a proposed schedule outlining when you are comfortable with him taking the baby for a couple of hours at a time, again to make it clear you are not trying to keep him from the baby entirely.  I believe in father's rights, but not at the expense of the baby, and I do believe that taking a 2-week-old away from his mother because his father is uncomfortable in her presence is completely unnecessary and unreasonable.

 

I don't see how the courts would look badly on this so long as you have clear evidence that you have offered appropriate time with the baby and plan to continue to do so.  I'm sorry you are dealing with this and hope it works out for the best. Congrats on the new baby!


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#30 of 44 Old 01-18-2012, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for all the great information.

 

All of the information has helped me work out a plan, or at least try to. He doesn't feel comfortable in my house because I live with my mom, who doesn't like him. We don't get along because we broke up on bad terms and I made horrible choices while we were still sleeping together, but not actually together.

 

So through out the 9months prior we haven't known 100% if he is the father, there for he hasn't been around at all given the circumstances. He wants to be there as a father, but doesn't want to be around me.

 

Is there any advice on what age is okay for the child to start feeding off a pumped bottle or formula so he is able to take our son outside of my presence?

 

Thank you, New Mama

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