Visitation and Custody Involving Young Children

When going through a divorce, one of the most difficult decisions is how to create a parenting and visitation plan for very young children. Especially when the children are so young that breastfeeding is involved, it can become very complicated to work out a schedule that will benefit both parties and the child’s interests.

Consider the following example: a mother is breastfeeding her infant and claims that allowing the father overnight visitation would be detrimental to the child’s health due to the disruption of the schedule and bonding, causing separation anxiety. The mother can provide the courts with support and studies for this argument; however the father is convinced she is only making these claims to deny him overnight visitation.

One possible remedy for such a situation is that the mother pumps milk so that the father can feed the child at night. However, there are still arguments against that option: the mother can say that this method would cause “nipple confusion” or that she cannot pump enough milk. Additionally, the court may be hesitant to order such an action because it would be difficult to enforce.

Ultimately, the court’s decision will rest on what is in the best interests of the child. While some studies have shown that children can exhibit separation anxiety if they are separated from their primary caregiver for extended amounts of time, other studies show that it is best for the child to have a stable father figure from an early age. The court will take into account factors specific to your family in its decision, and may suggest cooperation with a family therapist to mediate an appropriate parenting plan.