how soon can a breastfed newborn be away from mom for long periods of time?

Steph - posted on 01/26/2010 ( 13 moms have responded )




i was just wondering at what age is it ok for a breastfed baby to be away from his mother for a long period of time because i have an 8 week old son & his father, that has only seen him a week out of the 8 weeks hes been alive, has now decided he wants to see him more often but without me there. he said he wants to set up a schedule to where we see our son the same amount of time in a week & at this age i think thats an insaine idea since hes so young & being breastfed & since i've been the only person taking care of him since the day he was born i really don't feel comfortable with the idea...any advice would be wonderful!


Michelle - posted on 01/27/2010




My advice to you is to:

1. Go to a citizens advice bureau and seek legal aid. Tell them that you need it because you want to take your ex to family court. (this may not happen) you may instead be given a solicitor who is trained in child welfare cases and can sort it in a small claims/settlement court (normally with you there and your solicitor and then your ex and his lawyer/solicitor across the table).

2. Dont let him have that baby without you being there! Hes a drug addict and lazy. What if he falls asleep while the baby is with him and forgets to feed him/change him or even worse, he gets ill quickly ( I know it may sound terrifying in this repect but you have to put the baby first).

3. Did he go with you to put the name on the birth certificate? Or did you do it by yourself? If he didnt go with you and sign for himself, then he has no parental responsilbity. in this case you dont have to answer to him. Proof will have to be seeken by a court order for a DNA test.

4. Your child needs a father (some people would say it not nescessary, but it is) so put it to him that he can have your son if he gets clean and gets a job and starts to pay child maintenance. Dont give in to him unless he has done this..and also a course in anger management.

5. Your solicitor will help you do all this, so try not to stress over it while proceedings are happening.

6. Make a list of all the things hes said or done to you that have abused you or made you feel scared.

7. Keep breastfeeding. Dont pump it can disturb you milk supply and been as youve just got passed the worst part of breastfeeding and its now established well, dont ruin it for your ex's sake.

8. When it comes down to visitation rights...once youve been to court and made an agreement, he will have to be supervised..for a certain amount of maybe find a visitational centre near you that you can both go to...he can play with baby, spend time with him and you can stand behind the glass wall and watch them. then you can take him if he needs feeding. If hes asking for you not to be around, whats his reasoning for this?

9. Be strong! Dont let him in your home, dont go meet him on the sly..if there is a court order in can have social services knocking on your door...

My friend has been going through the same situation as you.

She is 24 with a young son (was born last may) since they were together a few years ago, he beat her. He used to force her to dress in muslim attire and wouldnt let her speak to her family.

Well her mum contacted social on him and he was arrested. He was then bailed. When her son was born he would still hit her and he told her that he enjoyed it cause she would hit him back and he 'like the fight in her'...Im sorry but no excuse! So his court date came round and he was jailed for domestic violence and other crimes...but before this he tried to get ther to take back her statement but luckily she never, but she did carry on seeing him (letting him see his son) behind the courts said that she would have her son taken away from her if she did this as she was the one putting him in harms way. They never found out but I think she was silly to do this, but I also think she was scared of him coming to her she went to meet him instead.

Holly - posted on 01/26/2010



5 no......This is impossible and you can tell him that! If you are strictly breast feeding, he's gona have to deal with the fact that he see's his son on his son's time. An infant is too fragile and needy to be away from mom for more than an hour. And if you actually let him take him..he would bring him back faster than you would think. not knowing how to handle him or what he wants when he screams..etc. Sounds like baby daddy is feeling jealous and selfish. Tell him right now is all about baby and not him. If he truly wants to see his son, he will work it out to where he is at your place in maybe a different room with him for "alone bonding time", but other than that there is no way an infant can be put through that. You could pump for him...but that also messes up any schedule you have for him. And in any case...if he were to try anything legal, you have all the rights right now. He is breast fed and you have been sole provider since daddy will have to figure it out until baby is old enough to handle alone time with anyone but mommy for more than an hour or two. good luck, I hope things work out and daddy doesn't have his head stuck up his ass.

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Amanda - posted on 08/26/2011




Im kinda going through the same thing my ex wants over nights with our daughter who is only 2 weeks old and breestfed. He is a great daddy but doesnt understand the whole breestfeeding thing, He has 3 other daughters but they were never nursed. So any advice is great.

Minnie - posted on 01/31/2010




The simple biology of lactation and infant feeding pretty much dictates how long an infant would be comfortable away from mom.

For reference, my 15 month old still nurses at least once an hour and three or four times a night.

What his father is expecting is ludicrous.

Rebecca - posted on 01/31/2010




I've just read a bit more - take the advice of these women! Do whatever you can to be sure this man has as little influence on your son as possible, until he has proven he is a very different man and has himself together. Unfortunately you're going to have a tough time with him for some time I think. Definitely document everything, and get legal advice. You have a responsibility to proctect your son from his "father", and that is far more important than even the breastfeeding issue.

Best of luck!!!

Rebecca - posted on 01/31/2010




I think that is ridiculous, and it also won't work. Unless you express - a lot (which I never did, and can create it's own issues with feeding as well) then your baby will not be able to be away from you for more than 2 hours for quite some time. My bub is now 9 months old and is on a more predictable schedule these days, and can be distracted a little more easily if I am late, but even she still has 4 feeds per day and I only leave her once per week when I work for no longer than 3 hours.

User - posted on 01/31/2010




Okay so I read the advice you've already been given and I'm pretty much in line with Michelle. Document everything this worked for my sister and if you can record your conversations. Get leagal advise and work to get child support and supervised visitations. They will randumly drug test him so if he really wants to be in his son's life he'll stay clean.
Be strong for you and your son. Get a plan together to move forward and get these issues resolved while he is still too young to know. Last thing you want is to still have these issues once he's older and can see you guys fighting.
If you're not comfortable leaving your son with him don't.

Andrea - posted on 01/28/2010




He's just threatenting with court because he knows it works - same with the abuse. Get as far away from him as you can - there is no "changing" for him - it will not get better - I assure you! Accept and be happy that you will be an only mom - don't look for a dad in him, it's not going to happen - it's not worth the risk for your son. TAKE HIM TO COURT, get custody, child support, and then maybe, MAYBE he can have supervised visits. That's it. Do NOT take your baby away from you and breastfeeding to go see his father who is not ready to be a father.

[deleted account]

Michelle Jones gave you excellent advice!

One thing I want to add is to document every time he has attempted to see your son and every time he has seen your son. Document that he insists that he be alone with the baby, etc.

You definitely want to have ALL your ducks in a row when court time comes.

Steph, if you are in the U.S. I don't think we have those people Michelle was talking about. Try calling local women's shelters and inquire about legal aid for single mothers with custody issues. You definitely want some type of legal person to be helping you with this.

Danielle - posted on 01/27/2010




tell ur ex NO...not until you stop breastfeeding. if u are demand feeding then your child could need another feed after 2hrs+ from the las feed...also if u can express alot of children will not let others feed them the bottle unless its from their mother, this is in the case of breastfeeding.

TEll ur ex that you are notcomfortable with it, ur ex hasnt been around ur son very much and has no experiance and so u will only let him see your son with you there until u are more comfortable and then you can go from there.

IF he threatens you with court dont listen and tell him to do what he wants as you are just looking out for your son. DO NOT back down just because he mentions court ( if he does mention it) obviously have your ons best interest at heart so stick with your instincts...
I didnt stick with mine and unfortunatly i let my ex have my daughter for a few hrs while i worked..she received 2nd degree burns from that was the WORST mistake of my life and i will never forgive myself for allowing him to see her wihout me there..he now has nothing to do with her and i have full custody

April - posted on 01/27/2010




What your baby's father is suggesting is inappropriate. He is not going to take you to court. Where will he get the money to do that? AND The court will want to know why he isn't helping to support the baby. If he has hit you and you are afraid of him and don't trust him do not allow your baby to be with him without you. Seek some legal council. God Bless you!

Steph - posted on 01/26/2010




see thats the thing i've been having problems with his dad since before i got pregnant...when i found out i was pregnant his reaction was that he wanted me to get an abortion & i refused to so he dropped off the face of the earth & was around maybe a month out of the 9 months i was pregnant & didn't go to any doctors appointments or parenting classes or anything with me. then right before i was due he came around & started acting like mister wonderful & came to the hospital & was great it was like he did a complete 180. but then when we came home from the hospital he dropped off the face of the earth again & only saw our son like once a week sometimes once every two weeks...he keeps going thru these mood swings that he wants to be around & be his father, then he disapears & has nothing to do with us & then he'll come at me in this fit of rage saying if i don't let him see his son hes gonna take me to court & take him from me & all this stuff...he goes from one extreme to the other & i just don't know what to do.

i wanted him to be in his sons life at first but since he disapears at the drop of a hat & his rage & temper have gotten out of control im really scared now that he might hurt me again (hes hit me in the past) or god forbid hurt my son. he doesn't help me out at all financially with the things our son needs because he has yet to get a real job. all i want is for whats best for my baby & he doesn't it seems like hes trying to control the only tie he has left to me. i've told him so many times that he can come over here & see him or i can try to bring him over there but he refuses to come over here & keeps insisting on me just dropping him off so he can spend time with him alone. thats he keeps saying i can pump & that would solve everything but hell i tried last night & in an hour i only got out a little over an ounce...i'll be at the for days to get enough to let him see him for a few days cuz my son is an eating machine! lol he thinks taking care of our son is so easy & that he can do it no problem but i really don't think he can...he hasn't spent any real time with him since he was in the hospital only a few days old...hes so different now & has so many more demands & his father is a lazy bum ( he sleeps for 12+ hours a day & wakes up to smoke pot & screw off online) & he really thinks i'll trust him with my son alone?! hell he slept right thru our son waking up crying his head off cuz he was hungry a foot away from his head! i really don't know what to do anymore because this happens every few weeks he finally calls & wants to see dylan & threatens hes gonna take me to court for everything under the sun to take him from me if i don't bring him over & then once i do he disapears again for a week or two...this is a first though for the split time seeing our son like this...i'm really regretting putting him on the birth certificate...

Jodi - posted on 01/26/2010




Personally, I do not believe that it is appropriate for a very young breastfed child to split time 50/50 between parents until they are a little older. Here are my reasons:

1. You would be required to express a LOT of milk to be able to maintain a 50/50 custody arrangement. Unfortunately, expressing milk can be difficult if the baby is not present for long period of time. Expressing is also not as efficient at extracting milk as actually breastfeeding the baby, so sometimes, your milk production may be affected. This is not in the best interests of the child.

2. Nipple confusion is very common if you have to use bottles to feed a young baby to frequently. Been there, had the problem. My daughter required tube and bottle feeding with my expressed milk and ended up rejecting my breast altogether. This is not in the best interests of the child if the child is currently breastfeeding contendedly.

3. Is dad currently working? If so, who will be caring for the baby? It seems pretty pointless to me for dad to have the baby 50% of the time if he is going to be spending a fair amount of that time at work.

4. Realistically, most fathers don't spend 50% of their time with a baby. My husband worked when our kids were young, and I didn't. I spend most of the time caring for them, and he would have quality time with them in the evening when he got home for an hour or so, and then on his days off.

Perhaps what you could do is consider how long you believe you will breastfeed for, and then work out a plan with dad as to how this could work for everyone. I am assuming that at some stage you are going to have to go back to work, so you can also factor this in. Perhaps start out with an arrangement where the baby can currently spend weekend DAYS with his dad (Saturday morning and SUnday morning, for instance) and you can provide the expressed milk for him, and gradually increase this in some way as he gets older until you are sharing 50/50 time at [say] age 2 (this is just an example).

Your son does have the right to get to know both parents, and spend time quality time with him, but I can hear from the tone of your post that you recognise this. It is fair that he wants to set up a schedule. What you need to do is work out what you can feasibly live with while breastfeeding, and then work towards an amicable outcome for the long term.

Ideally, perhaps you could both attend a mediation session with a qualified mediator. They may be able to help you come to a workable solution without having to drag it through the legla system.

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