Contact with a newborn

(20 Posts)

Im 18 weeks pregnant and separating from my husband. So many worries but the main one is about what is likely/reasonable in terms of contact when the baby is born.

I've been a lone parent before, exH left when DD was a few months old and DS was just under 2. He was not so bothered about seeing the DCs and it just used to be the odd sat afternoon although we went through mediation and the actual defined access was week one sat afternoon, week 2 overnight sat.

STBXH has shared custody of his boys and has already started talking about this in terms of the baby! I'm getting a bit worried, and wondered if any of you have advice on what I can request/permit. I exclusively breast fed both DCs and intend to with the new baby. He's even mentioned that I'd have to express milk etc.

It's getting me down, I also have Hyperemesis and have been in hospital 5 times already with that. Could anyone give any advice on what is reasonable, or even when mediation should start?

blackeyedsusan Fri 01-Mar-13 11:22:32

oops just swoe at your h's comments about you will have to express.

short periods building up to longer times is what is recommended I think. building up to overnights when baby has finished breastfeeding? (for dd that was 13 months and for ds that was 2.5 years) not that they have overnights with their dad.

you really need to seek legal advice though.

angelelle Sun 03-Mar-13 17:28:20

Hi waves. i have peeked at your other thread and just wanted to say hi and send a hug.

My ex left me when I was pregnant and amongst several nasty things he said was that he wanted shared custody (he said it in a nasty controlling way). Dd is now 4 months and he has not mentioned it again confirming my thoughts that it was to stress me out during pregnancy. Could this be the case for you?

If not I personally think as long as you bf she cant be away from you for too long. It is. what is best for you and baby in the beginning as far as I know.

in the beginning you should be in control of when and where contact occurs. will he be at the birth and will he be with you to register the birth? My exp is not on the bc so its easier for me.

talk to a family lawyer. you normally get 30 mins free. I did and it really helped me.

Flojobunny Sun 03-Mar-13 17:36:49

Aw this is the last thing you need when your pregnant is added worry and stress.
I was 8 months pregnant when my DH left. He used to come and see baby at my house or take him for a stroll in his pram locally. DS was 7 months by the time I let him take him for longer and was weaned and not as reliant on his milk feed.
XH decided it wasn't long enough and took me to court. Judge ruled he could take him for 2 hours every saturday, about 3 months later it got increased to 6 hours and then when DS was 18 months he got over night contact and it has continued til now he gets 24 hrs every week. I hasn't been easy but now DS is 7 and has a good relationship with him.

Confused40 Sun 03-Mar-13 18:08:36

http://www.rightsofwomen.org.uk/

Hi,
This organisation give free legal advice on a telephone helpline and have loads of legal stuff on their website. Run by women solicitors and barristers for women.

Good luck xx

HerrenaHarridan Tue 05-Mar-13 01:37:12

Call your local equivalent lone parent helpline.

No court in the land will award him an overnight under a year. You can also refuse to let him take dc out of you sight until dc has started weaning.

Don't let it get to you, no one is going to take your tiny baby away.

I'll definitely call for some advice, but already I'm feeling more reassured. Such a lot to cope with and trying to reduce my stress levels.

Thank you all so much for your help

PixieFlying Tue 05-Mar-13 12:59:52

Agree with what everyone else said about no overnights until at least 1, and you will only have to then if he has been consistently involved and it is considered in DC's best interest, as in DC won't get too distressed.

Also if you are breast feeding, you cannot be made to pump, by him or court. He will have to initially visit with you there (I'd guess until about 2-3 months, longer if you have any genuine concerns about his ability to care, or about DC's distress level) and then once DC is feeding with longer gaps in between he could start taking DC out for a few hours at a time between feeds, but you would need to be nearby incase DC did need feeding.

Also BF is recommended by WHO up until 2 years, so if you are intending to do more natural term BF then overnights/longer than 8-12 hours wouldn't really be possible until 2. Court won't interfere with breastfeeding as long as you are offering reasonable contact, as it is what is best for DC's health.

They are looking at what is in DC's best interest, not into "parental rights" which don't actually exist. Parental responsibility is a parents duty to the children, only children have legal rights in these situations.

There is no point worrying, as you don't even know what DC will be like yet. When it has just been mum from day 1, they will quite often get more severe separation anxiety early on from what I have seen. If DC does get very distressed being away from you, then STBXH is (if he cares about the DC anyway) unlikely to push the point until it will be an enjoyable experience for them both rather than just him being screamed at endlessly by a baby who is scared and resenting him for taking him away from all he is familiar with.
My DD screams blue murder if I even leave the room, and she is 9 months. It's to the point where my own mum doesn't even want her alone, after her having all these plans to take her swimming and have grandma time so on during the pregnancy.

On the hyperemesis note, stress and dehydration both make it worse (as you probably know) so try to force water down in regular little sips, make sure you are eating as much as you can, and relax. Have a bath, sleep in as much as possible, relax infront of the tv when you can and don't put pressure on yourself to be doing too much, the priority is keeping you and baby healthy. The other DC will cope with a few months of slightly less interesting activities/slightly more TV, and your STBXH needs to be ignored as much as possible until the DC is actually here, other than handovers for the other DC etc.
If I were you I would tell him you will discuss plans once DC is born, as you aren't feeling able to deal with extra stress during the difficult pregnancy.

pixie thank you very much for your really detailed message. It has certainly put my mind at ease considerably, and I shall definitely explain that we can discuss plans for contact once the baby is here. I really want to bf for as long as possible - managed a year and then 9 months respectively with my DCs and want to extend that this time per the WHO guidelines.

I'm now on a day care plan for the hyperemesis, so up at hospital for 4 hours a day having fluids etc, so hopefully that will ease the dehydration, and once STBXH has moved out, the stress should lessen too. Fortunately my DCs aren't his - they are from my first marriage, so I don't have any handovers to contend with until such time as the baby arrives.

chocoreturns Thu 07-Mar-13 20:21:44

I know it doesn't necessarily help to hear what other people have done. But in case it reassures you, as I mentioned on your other thread, STBXH left me when I was 15 weeks pg and DS1 was 17months. DS1 is now 2.7yo and DS2 is 8mo. Neither go overnight. The toddler goes 9-5 twice a fortnight (e.o.w) and the baby goes 9-1 or 2 on the same days. The plan is to extend up to 9-5 for them both by the time baby is 12months. There is no question of overnights. I am also bfeeding.

I think you will be fine as long as you offer reasonable, regular access and keep focused on what is in your DC's best interests. I would seriously consider finding a neutral place for visits, or a third party you trust to accompany you though, given what you shared about your rather horrid exDH on your other thread. You don't need to be sitting around having cups of tea with him in your home while he sees the baby. Perhaps a cafe, or softplay or relatives home (with another neutral adult present) would be a reasonable thing to offer in the first instance.

I suggest that because I started off letting my ex visit in my home and it was effin' horrible. When DS2 was 10weeks old I put an end to it, because I needed my safe and secure place to remain that way. Contact moved to my MIL's house and that has been much better all round.

Totally agree with earlier posts, and meeting in a mutual place will really help your stress levels when contact starts, and will keep healthy boundaries in place. You can meet at a park/café/softplay (your older dcs can play maybe?)/kids museum/local library kids area/maybe even children's centre playgroup if any locally. Having in your home, especially as he once lived there, will just allow him to try and stress you out/upset you, whereas meeting somewhere public and neutral should help things a little.

Totally agree with earlier posts, and meeting in a mutual place will really help your stress levels when contact starts, and will keep healthy boundaries in place. You can meet at a park/café/softplay (your older dcs can play maybe?)/kids museum/local library kids area/maybe even children's centre playgroup if any locally. Having in your home, especially as he once lived there, will just allow him to try and stress you out/upset you, whereas meeting somewhere public and neutral should help things a little.

jen79142 Sun 10-Mar-13 00:16:28

Hi
Me and my ex split when I was pregnant. He also talked about 50/50 contact and I told him it would be a while. I ebf and he also said I could just express for him but I struggle to express. Our lo is almost 6 months old now, to begin with I use to let him visit as and when he wanted but after an disagreement we now have set days and he comes for an hour 3 times a fortnight. I always make sure someone else is in the house with me. When she is about 7 months then she will start going to him, starting slow at 2 hours and then building it up. He assumes still that after a few visits she will be staying overnight but that will not be happening until she no longer wakes in night and is weaned from the breast. Please don't worry, as long as regular contact is offered then no court will make you stop bf xxx

Thank you to choco, yourhand and jen for your comments. I've been slow to get back to this as still battling Hyperemesis and working on stbxh moving out. Agreed deadline is 25 march and really hoping he sticks to that!

I found out today at my 20 week scan that I'm having a little boy smile my DS and DD are thrilled. I'm seeing my lawyer again on Monday to get all the legal wheels rolling properly, and also have support kow fro
Women's aid.

Trying to remain focussed on staying/getting healthy for now, and hopefully that will be easier once twunt has left. Once that has happened I'll try to tell more people in RL too which might help.

Dervel Fri 15-Mar-13 15:57:12

I'm experiencing this from the other side of the table as a Dad, and I got a lot of support and sound advice from friends, family and my solicitor. I am very much of the school of thought that the child's needs must be paramount, and at this stage (both in terms of pregnancy and especially also as a newborn) the division between mother and baby is indivisible. I found this much easier to deal with once my son was actually born.

Maybe there is a trusted friend or family member who can delicately get this across to him? It's fantastic you are breatsfeeding (as my ex has chosen to do), and in the end as I have he has to realise that means he may not be able to have the baby as much as he would like. I'm a few months in and I'm starting to have him at mine for short spells (not overnight yet, but its essential this happens at a pace mum his happy with).

I started going over regularly from the birth in short spells, and always tried to do so at mums convenience. We've had a few hiccups of course, but I have tried to stress that I respect her space, and do not go over unannounced and have offered to time my visits so I could look after the baby when she picks her eldest up from school.

Now as idyllic as all this sounds, this has all taken place under the spectre of an acrimonious break up, where we had both behaved badly, but in the end baby must come first, and to reiterate he just has to realise whatever bad feeling there may be your needs = baby's needs at least for awhile, and that very much includes your emotional state of mind. My solicitor drummed into me my ex would be feeling vulnerable particularly for the first year, and I must take very great care around her. It sounds like your stbx needs a good sit down and have all this explained. Especially about expressing milk, as I am reliably informed by female friends that this can be quite uncomfortable, and not at all like when a baby feeds. All I can close by saying that in my case when the baby arrived everything got a lot easier as there was now a very tangible positive in the equation which made dealing with the negatives much much easier. Best of luck and congratulations!!

AnnandBarryAgain Sun 17-Mar-13 18:09:11

this is the same bloke who was googling late term abortion? this guy wants contact with the newborn?

Thanks for your feedback dervel I hope stbxh has similar advice and is as understanding as it sounds you have been.

anna yes, this is the same man. He is causing so much grief at the moment but thankfully I am getting more support in real life now. It hurts that the man who kept saying how much he regretted "getting me pregnant" and looking up late abortion is now trying to bully me with threats over contact with the baby (who is doing brilliantly according to the 20 week scan)

For now I'm trying not to worry too much, and have faith that should it end up in court, that the court will be understanding of a baby's needs and rights.

AnnandBarryAgain Tue 19-Mar-13 17:31:54

well done you (and well done baby at 20 weeks smile

Oscarandelliesmum Tue 19-Mar-13 19:28:49

Hi waves , so glad to hear you sounding so strong. Your ds dd and tiny ds are lucky to have.you!!
Sorry that tool of a stbxh hasn't just fucked off.angry

Count down to moving out date - he is due to be gone by Monday. I am staying out on Saturday with my DCs, so after tonight there are only 3 more nights of having to cope.

I'm not having him here at the house to see the baby whenever he wants, as he seems to think will be the case. But to be honest, that can be dealt with when the baby arrives. For now, I am just looking forward to a few months respite from his presence. Well I say that, I know I will still worry like anything. And he has form, amply demonstrated over the past few months, for being utterly unreasonable and downright cruel.

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