Divorces rarely happen at "convenient" times. However, one of the most inconvenient times for a breakup is immediately after the birth of a child. In these cases, both parents may want to spend equal time with the baby, but needs of a baby necessitate certain, unavoidable arrangements.
This article will discuss some of the most important considerations parents should keep in mind when developing a parenting plan for a baby.
Parenting plans for babies: What do they look like?
From birth to the age of 18 months, babies have specific, undeniable needs. In order to make sure all of your baby's needs are met -- while also honoring the needs of both parents to spend time with the baby -- divorcing parents will want to keep the following in mind:
- A newborn baby requires consistency. Your plan needs to offer your baby a consistent routine for eating, sleeping and waking.
- Babies don't have a very good memory. As such, both parents should be in frequent contact with the baby to establish a lasting bond, so the baby remembers the parents from one day to the next.
- Babies grow and change quickly. Parents need to communicate with one another on a daily basis about the development of their baby. When your baby's needs change, you need to be able to adjust your parenting plan to fit the changing needs of your child.
- Babies are sensitive to anger, fear and harsh words. They feel everything that's going on in their environment. As such, your plan needs to provide ways for you and your ex-spouse to work through your areas of disagreement. Most importantly, you and your ex need to make every effort to air out conflicts and disagreements in a way that your baby isn't present to absorb the anger and stress.
What if my baby is still breastfeeding?
Doctors and psychologists stress how beneficial it is for the physical and emotional health of babies to breastfeed. If your baby is breastfeeding, you'll need to schedule parenting time visits in a way that honors your baby's feeding times. You'll also need to wait until you can have overnight visits.
Babies are resilient and adaptable -- probably a lot more so than their adult parents -- when it comes to divorce. As long as you and your ex can manage your disputes in a diplomatic and peaceful way around your baby, and as long as you can agree to a workable parenting plan, all should turn out well for your child.