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How to handle shared custody when your child is an infant

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2020 | Divorce

Some people believe that custody determinations favor the mother. This myth is so prevalent that some fathers don’t even bother requesting shared custody because they assume that they can’t win. In reality, the law about parental rights and responsibilities doesn’t mention gender or sex specifically.

Mothers or women have no stronger of a claim to parenting time than fathers or men do. Even knowing that, some men are reticent to seek shared custody or even parenting time, especially if their child is still an infant. However, dads play a critical role at every stage in life, including when babies are still very small.

A father can still work with a breastfeeding mother

One of the reasons people frequently site for presuming that the mother will have primary or sole custody over an infant is that the mother may be the primary source of nutrition for the child, which is one role a father can’t fill without outside help.

Breastfeeding an infant is incredibly beneficial for both mother and child. However, it doesn’t have to prohibit the relationship between father and child. A mom can pump breast milk when her supply exceeds what the infant needs and provide an appropriate supply to the father for his parenting time. Parents can store breast milk via refrigeration for short-term needs or freezing for longer storage.

An adequate supply may even allow the father to take an infant that solely eats breast milk overnight. If pumping is difficult or impossible for the mother, the father can still likely arrange for frequent, shorter visitation until the infant grows. Alternatively, the parents could agree that the father can supplement the breastfed diet with formula during his parenting time.

Both parents have an important role to play in the life of the child

Being present during infancy and early childhood is of utmost importance for establishing a strong parental bond and a secure sense of attachment. Even if you know that the mother will spend more time and may be the child’s primary attachment, you as the father are still a critical figure in the life of your child.

The more time you spend with your infant and the more routine your visits or parenting time are, the more integral you will become in the life of your child and the stronger your bond will be.