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Concerned about baby being alone with dad

(21 Posts)
Lia87 Tue 27-Nov-12 11:53:02

My daughter is 10 weeks (2 weeks corrected)
me and her father have never been properly together.
He's never shown much interest, bringing friends and girlfriend of 2 weeks during his visits in intensive care. After his week of paternity, he didn't ask about her for 10 days, and didn't reply to me. Then as soon as she was home he started saying he wanted her overnight. I offered to stay in a different room while she was young, which he declined saying he only wanted her alone. (despite us planning to stay at his flat until he changed his mind 2 days after she was born saying it was a lot of hassle, so its hardly a problem in my eyes seeing as he was original one to suggest this) He's seen her twice for 2 hours the past month, on a few hours notice after cancelling multiple other visits, and i dont feel she'd be safe alone with him, he took her babygrow off so she was just in a vest last visit, so after a few minutes i mentioned its a bit too cold to not have her dressed for long. He replied saying she's fine (though was screaming) after another few minutes of her not calming down i had to literally take her off him as he was still insisting she was ok. She was infact cold to touch, and stopped crying as soon as i'd redressed her and wrapped her in blanket. I then handed her back and mentioned about holding her close if he wanted to do that infuture so body heat would keep her warm. He then seemed to make a point of holding her away from himself. Theres been so many things like this, eg doing nappy up so tight she had red marks on her (never happened in hospital so he is perfectly capable of doing properly), keeping her in coat and hat indoors despite me asking if she was too warm, not supporting her head multiple times, putting her down on her back when she was being sick, always holding her away from himself and laughing instead of comforting her when she's crying.
I know none of its terrible, but he just doesn't seem to care about her enough(or at all at times) to feel she's safe with him. And its not like he's doing it due to being uncomfortable around me or anything as we're on friendly terms, what i'm worried about is none of thats really proveable, so surely if he took it any further insisting on having her alone, would they grant it or would they take my concerns into account and offer a contact center etc with no proof of her being unsafe?

GetAllTheThings Tue 27-Nov-12 12:22:18

Nobody in their right mind, judges included, would let a 10 week old infant go off for an overnight with their dad. It's far too young.

Facilitate access with you near by yes. Short but frequent visits, yes. Longer access when she's older, yes. Overnight at that age, no.

Lia87 Tue 27-Nov-12 12:46:20

what about alone access? i don't mind if it's not me there, i just want somebody to make sure she's safe, but other than contact center there isn't really anyone, his family don't live nearby

musttidyupBeforeSantaComes Tue 27-Nov-12 12:59:56

Lia I can't offer any practical advice but didn't want to not post. You are doing above and beyond what is reasonable - I could hardly let mine out f my sight for their first few weeks/months. This is natural. It sounds like maybe you are trying not to rock the boat in case he becomes more demanding and therefore allowing him do more than you are comfortable with. You need to be much firmer with him about the whole hot/cold thing - it's not just incomfprtable for the baby it's dangerous. I assume your not bf? Only asking because that's obviously a perfect reason that you can't be parted.
I understand that you want to keep it amicable but you must put her first, you second, everyone else third.
I hope someone will be along with some more practical advice.

GetAllTheThings Tue 27-Nov-12 13:10:21

You may be better off posting this in Legal also.

But a lot of all this comes down to what is considered reasonable and what is in the best interests of the child. In fact it's all about the child's welfare.

It's definitely in the child's interests to have an active father in their life, but if you have concerns about the child's welfare and safety you are perfectly entitled, indeed have a responsibility to address those worries, and act accordingly. You've offered to be around when he see's the dc, he's turned you down. You seem to be doing very much the right thing.

judge : so Mr X you want to be granted access including overnights for your 10 week old infant. How much time have you spent with the child to date ?

MrX : 2 whole hours this month M'lud.

Honestly it's not going to happen if he went down that route. And I agree with must some of those things you describe him doing are dangerous , based on that you simply can't let him toodle off on his own with the child at this stage.

By all means discuss how you can lead up to overnights when she's a bit older, invite him to yours ( if you can deal with it ) to spend time with his child, give him something to work towards.

Asses what is reasonable. Asses what is best for the child. Get some opinion including legal on your position and stick to your guns.

Lia87 Tue 27-Nov-12 13:32:08

i am bf, he wanted me to express, or give formula if i couldnt express enough.
its not so much the overnights though, i know he wont get them yet, but its the fact he's very good at coming across as responsible- i had absolutly no concerns about him until after DD was born, and i have a feeling he'd straight out deny everything, would it then be a case of "well a few hours wont do any harm" and them giving him benefit of doubt?

madam1mim Tue 27-Nov-12 13:46:39

op- is his name on the birth certificate? i would get legal advice from a solicitor (free first hour consolation) . you must very going through such a hard time as all you are doing us wanting to protectyourprecious tiny baby . i also tthink u r being more than accommodating. do not let your ex mess up bf your little one. you are doing an amazing job and should not be forced to express or give formula for his convenience !! my ex tried to tell me tp do the same, i told him to shut the f up. breastfeeding is a right found in the children's act also btw. be firm with him or better still only talk through solicitors or tell h to apply for a court order. you may find he doesn't bother ;)

madam1mim Tue 27-Nov-12 13:47:28


musttidyupBeforeSantaComes Tue 27-Nov-12 13:47:42

Lia, ask them to move this thread to legal. Get some proper advice. The relationship you build now will set the tone so you need to get it right.
In the mean time say you can't express yet and need to be with her all the time. Don't ever feel you can't pick her up and deal with something you instinctively know is not right. You are in charge of this baby, he is her father but you are her primary carer and at the moment she needs you. This would still be te same if you were in a relationship with him - Dads don't really get much of a look in in these early days! (Obviously they need to bond etc and support the mother before anyone gets on my back).

Lia87 Tue 27-Nov-12 13:55:29

he's on the birth certificate, trying to avoid confrontation where possible as have a feeling he would do things out of spite, so i don't really want to be the one to start the legal side of things :/
though i am going to mention child support soon as am struggling a bit.
what age is breast feeding a right until? does it stop once they start weaning or is it up until they can have cows milk instead?

GetAllTheThings Tue 27-Nov-12 14:04:47

Lia, I had this problem from the other side kind of. I'm a dad and when I split from my XP she claimed I'd never looked after my dd alone ( who was around 16 months when we split. )

I had looked after her alone many times, knew what I was doing, and had hard evidence to back it up thankfully in the form of text messages and emails that we'd exchanged.

As such I stuck to my guns and thankfully she begrudgingly backed down before it went to court. I had no worries about court as I knew I could prove I was a hands on dad. She would have looked a fool in court and done herself no favours.

This man does not have evidence that he's looked after his child alone. He can't prove he's spent any considerable time with her and as such it's unreasonable for him to insist on any prolonged time with her alone. especially as she's so young.

You really should post in legal and / or see a solicitor, not to begin on the road to court, but to get a good idea of the lay of the land so to speak. Also hang in here on this thread, there may well be some people with the same experience later today who can offer the fruits of their knowledge.

If you have evidence of him cancelling access keep it. He can't prove what hasn't happened and he can't expect to take the child without any experience of childcare.

At some point though he will be able to take your dd away on his own, and he will have to learn about parenting himself if he chooses to ignore you. One can only hope that this starts when dd is less vulnerable and fragile. And it should start with short periods.

But I think you are within your remit as a mum to say 'no you can't take dd away on your own yet, you can come around to mine and look after her whilst I'm near by as a start, and assuming it all goes well we can move to the next stage'

That is perfectly reasonable, perfectly sensible and generous on your part. If he can't see that he's a dick, and if he forces the issue a judge would see him as a dick.

musttidyupBeforeSantaComes Tue 27-Nov-12 14:06:49

Difficult one Lia as you can get a very wide variety of answers! Until you /they are ready to stop I suppose. Some do the first few weeks, some for years, most somewhere in between. Until they are one their main source of nutrition is milk, food is just for practise really. During weaning you will feed less but still regularly. Even at 1 they need a pint or so a day. You'll know when the time is right.

Mosman Tue 27-Nov-12 14:14:47

He sounds like sick fucker i'd keep him away from your daughter, let him fight to see her and see if he actually does go through with it, most of them don't.

unexpectediteminbaggingarea Tue 27-Nov-12 14:17:52

lia a judge may well not insist on overnight stays with a dad where a baby is breastfeeding up until age 2 - this is certainly what my dsis was advised by her solicitor although her exh didn't argue so it never actually went before a judge.

get some legal advice if you can.

Floggingmolly Tue 27-Nov-12 14:19:22

You say "none of it is terrible". But it is.
He's so immature he will use a tiny baby as ammunition to piss you off, to the point of putting her in downright danger (putting her on her back when she's throwing up).
And he came to see her in intensive care with his girlfriend of 2 weeks?
He has some serious growing up to do before he's safe anywhere near your dd, trust your instinct.

GetAllTheThings Tue 27-Nov-12 14:23:40

Lia I'd just add that the mantra in these situations is what is in the best interests of the child

It may be helpful if you use that phrase in any conversations. So don't say " I don't think you should do X'....... say ' It's not in dd's best interests to do X'

It can sometimes remove conflict, and I'm sure you realize that the less conflict the better for everyone.

Good luck, and try to just enjoy your dd, don't stress too much, you're in an ok position with all this.

madam1mim Tue 27-Nov-12 18:46:23

the world health organisation recommend you bf for a stepminimum 2 years. maybe see uf anyone on bf forum knows gore definite. i used to collect my dd from her dad after 3 hours so she could have bf , as it was in her interest. she is 21 months now and bf to sleep so i would not let her have overnight for that rreason amongst others. have you thought about getting a residence order?

madam1mim Tue 27-Nov-12 18:50:24

btw he should havebeen paying child support from the moment she was born . it sounds like u r walking on egg shells a bit with your ex and u should not have to. ring csa asap and get it sorted.

Bettyintheburbs Tue 27-Nov-12 18:54:42

Nothing new, just adding a voice of agreement. Post in legal, don't dream of giving her to him overnight or without you there. Continue being the starry mum that you sound like and good luck.

Oldladypillow Tue 27-Nov-12 20:03:33

He's not a competent parent. If I were you I'd share your concerns with the HV and see what they say. These concerns are serious and may warrant a parenting assessment at some point - for him not you obviously.

KatAndKit Tue 27-Nov-12 21:06:32

A baby that small needs their mother. No matter how competent the father is - the baby does not understand that it is a separate person from its mother so to be separated from her would be very distressing at such a young age. And distressing to you too - no way could I leave my baby overnight so young. The WHO does indeed recommend breastfeeding for two years.
I would say for a newborn any contact needs to be alongside you - if he doesn't like that then he is being selfish rather than thinking of his baby. Yes, perhaps you can go into a different room and make yourself scarce while he plays with her for a bit, but newborns feed so often so you need to be in the same house at least. And need the reassurance of knowing mummy is nearby.
At a guess, I'd say taking baby away for a couple of hours or so at about 6 months and overnighters at some point from 18 months to 2 years. No sensible judge would expect you to allow him contact alone with a tiny baby that barely even knows him.

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