Subject: Custody sharing effect on infant
Question: Hi M,
I was recently attacked by my husband while I was breastfeeding and reported the incident to the police. Long story short, while trying to extend a temporary restraining order, my lawyer advised that I will have to share custody of our 9 month old daughter. Currently she stays with her dad for the majority of the day in a room he is renting from a stranger, and also spends an entire Saturday with him. There are no overnight visits as I was adamant on this request. My issue is this, how do I ensure this is a healthy situation for her? Initially she seemed very tired and looked like she had been crying for a long time. She also wakes up in the middle of the night howling, then falls back asleep when I hold her. I understand that adults may be able to separate time equally, but that concept is very different for babies and toddlers. What are some signs I should be looking out for that tells me she is not adapting well or needs something different? What are some suggestions that might make her situation more comfortable for her?
You need to get support NOW. First of all make sure your lawyer understand how domestic violence affects a baby if not get a NEW attorney who does. Next, check out the attachment parenting site as there are legal advisories about custodial issues. An infant this young should not be separated from you for that many hours. A child has a different sense of time. Get her to an infant mental health specialist and get as much professional support as you can now in your corner. I am not saying she should not have a relationship with her father and in time when it is developmentally appropriate he can spend longer periods of time as well.
M Kay Keller