Newborn separation from mother: New Jersey breast-feeding custody laws

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Newborn separation from mother: New Jersey breast-feeding custody laws

Woman sitting in a chair holding a newborn babyBreast-feeding in custody issues

When a baby is born, there are extraordinary decisions that have to be made concerning the child’s health, safety, and overall well-being. Those decisions become significantly more difficult when parents do not reside together due to separation or divorce.  In co-parenting situations, a child’s care and routine decisions that have to be made can far too often create obstacles for the new parents. 

The best interests of the child is the standard that is maintained when courts in New Jersey are called upon to make decisions pertaining to the child. If you have questions concerning breast-feeding custody, or newborn separation from mother, it is important for you to understand that breast-feeding is not specifically identified as a factor for consideration, when making a determination as to the child’s best interest. However, since ensuring that the child is well nourished and cared for is a consideration that needs to be evaluated by the court,  addressing situations concerning breastfeeding are necessary and routinely handled by the court.

Breastfeeding and child custody

Oftentimes people litigate issues concerning parenting time schedules when the child is young enough that the child would still need to be breast-fed. At times, parents are litigating before the child is even born.  These circumstances obviously impact the amount of time that the child could be separated. from the mother.

Visitation schedule for breastfeeding infant 

At times, courts do not allow for overnight parenting time with the other parent when the child is young enough that the child is still being breast-fed, particularly when the child is a newborn or still in the infant phase. An infant visitation schedule typically differs from the schedule that is implemented once the child is older.

The court is required to make decisions that protect the best interest of the child and while from a matter of public policy, ensuring that the child has a strong bond with both parents is a priority, there also must be a determination as to how the child will be fed and nourished to support the child’s overall  health.  The decisions that parents have to make when determining whether to breastfeed their child, can be difficult, even for parents in strong, healthy relationships. That decision is much more difficult in situations where people are separated and may not see eye to eye on many issues.

In co-parenting circumstances, sometimes parenting schedules have to be modified to ensure that babies have their needs met early on in life.

As the child grows, and the mothers milk supply is established, the parties can gradually work toward a schedule that ensures that the child’s needs are being met while allowing for longer periods of time away from the mother. Consulting with a lactation consultant, or the child’s pediatrician, is paramount when addressing these issues and another opportunity for the parties to work together and co-parent for the child’s best interests. 

If you need help with navigating your breast-feeding custody issues, contact our office today. The family law experts here at DeTorres & DeGeorge will ensure that you have the information that you need to make the decisions that are best for you and your family when considering issues such as newborn separation from mother, as you move forward in this phase of your life. Contact us today.

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