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Newborn and Infant Visitation Schedules—Doing what is Best for Your Baby
Putting Baby's Needs First
When you are in a situation that requires you to make a visitation schedule for your baby, you probably have a lot on your mind.
You have a new baby. They don’t come with a handbook. You are figuring things out as you go along. You may even be sleep deprived and feel overwhelmed.
You are a single parent. Unless you are fortunate enough to live with a great support system, there is no one there to help you. You are on your own.
You have no idea where to start creating your newborn visitation schedule. How much time is enough? How much time is too little? How are you ever going to get your infant visitation schedule worked out so you and the other parent are both able to agree on it?
The best thing you can do is to take a step back for a minute. Take a breath. Evaluate your situation. While begin a single parent with an infant isn’t the ideal situation, it is fairly common. Millions of people have done it, and you will be able to do it, too.
Working together with the other parent might not be very pleasant and it may not be the easiest thing to do. Fortunately, thanks to technology, you don’t necessarily have to work face to face when creating your schedule. It may work better for you if you communicate with your ex via by e-mail or text. Written communication creates a less hostile environment. It’s more professional. It also allows you to keep a written record of your negotiations.
Babies should have frequent and ongoing contact with both parents. Your visitation schedule should reflect this and allow your child to have the opportunity to bond with both of you. Your personal feelings and animosity toward each other should have no influence on your schedule.
The visitation schedule should benefit your child. In fact, every decision you make regarding custody should be made while considering the best interests of your child. You will need to stop thinking of your child as “my baby” and start calling her “our baby”. Both of you made her and both of you are equally important in her life.
As you start creating your schedule, you should figure out when each of you are available. Once you have established your availability, you can then figure out how your schedule will work. Your individual situation will influence your schedule. You will need to consider the willingness of the non-custodial parent to have visitation and the feasibility of executing the schedule.
If the non-custodial parent lives close by, it is completely reasonable to schedule several visits in a week. Visits with an infant don’t have to be very long. Two or three hours per visit are sufficient. The important thing is the frequency of the visits. It is much better to have three or four shorter visits in a week than one longer one.
The frequency of the visits is more important than the duration of the visits because a baby doesn’t have a very good concept of time. They aren’t going to realize that they just spent eight hours with a parent. But they are going to recognize the face that they just saw the day before last and see on a frequent basis.
How you create you schedule is completely up to you. However, you should keep in mind that if you are unable to work something out with the other parent, the court will make your custody arrangements for you. You will lose control of the situation and may end up with a schedule that is inconvenient for you or that doesn’t quite meet the needs of your child. It is always better if you are able to create your own schedule so you should make every effort to ensure this happens.
About the Author
Kelly Turner is an advocate for children's custodial rights. Kelly recommends Custody X Change to parents who need help creating their newborn or infant visitation schedule.