How breast feeding impacts child custody, visitation

Many new mothers make the decision to breastfeed their babies. But when a Missouri couple who has a child who is still breastfeeding makes the decision to divorce, it may impact visitation or child custody. Before anything else, however, the child’s best interests need to come first and that includes maintaining the nursing relationship between mother and child.

When nursing is part of the custody equation,  there may be some conflict between maintaining a nursing schedule and the other parent’s parenting time. A woman can still breastfeed her child without it affecting a co-parenting plan, experts say. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF suggest babies be breastfed for at least one year, and preferably until two years of age and beyond. A baby can still bond with a co-parent even when the baby is breastfed.

If parents put the needs of their child before anything else, nursing should not be a problem in terms of custody and co-parenting. It is best not to include a child in a legal battle and the parents can usually make decisions — perhaps with the help of their respective lawyers — without having a judge decide the issues. There are options regarding parenting time and custody issues of a child who is still nursing, including the possibility of sending expressed breast milk with the child when he or she is with the other parent.

A Missouri lawyer experienced in child custody issues may be able to help a parent to fashion a co-parenting plan that takes unique circumstances like breast feeding into consideration. An attorney will always strive to represent the client’s interests in a manner that’s also consistent with the best interests any children involved. He or she may be able to make recommendations based on a client’s individual lifestyle.

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