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10 Critical Things You Need in Your Parenting Plan for Infants
In a divorce, you must draw up formal agreements on official decisions about custody and visitation for children. When that child is a newborn, there are many things to consider that may not apply to older children. Infants do best when they can depend on a reliable and consistent schedule. Disruptions can create anxiety and stress in babies, even newborns.
You and the other parent must put together a parenting plan that details the rights and responsibilities you have in raising the newborn, yet putting the best interest of the infant first. Custody X Change child custody software lets you create a parenting plan for infants that covers every aspect of shared custody and visitation. A formal parenting plan for infants can ensure smoother transitions and clearer communication between you and minimize the stress on the baby.
There are ten things to consider when you and the other parent are negotiating a parenting plan for a newborn.
- Determine who has been the primary caregiver for the newborn and don’t diminish that role abruptly. Experts agree that an infant should not be separated from the primary caregiver for too long. As the child ages, longer visitations with the non-custodial parent are appropriate.
- Plan plenty of opportunities for the non-primary caregiver to perform vital tasks for the infant, such as cuddling and bathing. This helps the infant bond better with that parent.
- Consider your infant’s sleep schedule, including naps. Many infants have a hard time falling asleep anywhere but their own crib, so consider limiting time away from the home to between naps.
- Agree on your newborn’s diet and how feedings will take place. For example, if parents decide that breastfeeding is important, structure visitations around feedings or arrange to have bottled breast milk accompany the infant when away from the mother.
- Avoid scheduling overnight visits with the parent who is the non-primary caregiver. Expert studies show that overnight separations from the primary caregiver are a significant cause of stress in children under the age of 2. Visitations can be modified as the child ages.
- Commit to keeping a parenting journal that notes key information about the development of your infant. Notes about illness symptoms, feeding schedules, medication requirements, unusual behavior or developmental milestones are all important in monitoring your baby’s growth.
- Plan on what happens when the infant is sick or needs to visit the doctor’s office. When babies are ill, they may be more irritable than normal, require medication and may prefer the primary caregiver over anyone else.
- Determine what kind of third party time your infant will be exposed to, such as daycare or time with grandparents.
- Outline ways to communicate with the other parent about sharing parenting notes, coordinating pick-up and drop-off times and other issues. Email, text and phone calls are convenient ways to stay clear and consistent.
- Decide on a specific time in the future when both parents will meet to revisit the schedule and visitation agreement, such as when the baby turns 1 year old.
Because an infant’s schedule is fairly inflexible, parents can take advantage of scheduling software specifically designed for divorcing parents. Software like Custody X Change includes all kinds of features that allow divorced parents of newborns sit down together and negotiate a fair custody and visitation schedule that meets the newborn’s needs.