Subject: overnight visitation for a newborn
Question: i am about to have a baby in about 3 weeks and my husband and i are seperated. He is very involved in the pregnancy but is now asking for overnight visitation with my son as early as 3 weeks after he is born. He wants him every other week, thur-sun and then thur-monday, every month. I plan to breastfeed him exclusively and i don't know what to do. He seems to think that i am just using my son to get him to spend more time with me and that i just don't want him to take him home with him but there is so much more than that. i am truely concerned that my son will not take a bottle well or that he will not want to breastfeed when he comes home. I am worried that he will be confused by his mother figure being that my husband has a live in girlfriend. I worry about the long term emotional effects of being detatched from me at such an early age. About not being able to set a routine. The fact that we live over 2 hours away from eachother.
I have told my husband he can come and visit my son ANYTIME he wants. My husband thinks that i am saying that he won't be a good enough father, which i do not think at all. I am in no way trying to keep my son and his father apart, infact it is truely the opposite. I don't want for my son to be without his fathers influience. it is just the timeframe. i need to know what is a proper age for my son to start spending the night with his father and how many days he should stay when he does. We are trying very hard to keep this out of the court system and keep thing as nice as it can be but i am not sure we will be able to do that this time. please help me!!!!
Answer: Dear Rachael,
Your husband and you need to know this is not about who is the better parent this is all about the baby. Babies and children have a different sense of time than do adults. It is imperative that this baby be with you more and not less. Overnight stays should not even be on the table for discussion. What should be discussed is how your husband can spend time with the baby without separating the baby from you.
Your concerns are totally valid as this confusion with the baby interrupts attachment and bonding and has serious long term consequences.
I suggest you go to the attachment parenting website and read up on the research listed there as well as share it with your husband and your attorney.
The site is www.attachmentparening.org and if you put in a search for attachment parenting research you will find the recommendation about parental visitation.
If you husband can see this is not all about him and his need to be a good dad and comes to understand being a good dad is putting the baby's needs first then I am confident you both will work this visitation out appropriately for the best interest of this child.
Please do continue to look up information and provide it to him. Trust your instincts as they are right on!
M Kay Keller