Nursing and Divorce or Separation

Many questions and fears may arise when a nursing mother is facing divorce or separation.  She may ask – how can I nurse my baby if the father has parenting time?  Is it dangerous for my baby to stop nursing?  What do I do if I’m getting divorced and my baby is still breastfeeding?  First, let me just say that nursing is the optimal way to feed your baby and should begin within the first hour of birth if possible.  Switching from breast milk to artificial milks is easier than switching back to breast milk so give nursing your very best effort! Breast milk is superior to any other milk and fosters baby’s health, growth and development (both short and long-term).  Breast milk isn’t just the best food for your baby but because of the living cells it contains, it also serves as a natural medicine – protecting baby against harmful bacteria and viruses.  Ideally, babies are fed directly from mother’s breast.  What to do when parent’s are separated?  In this case, expressing breast milk (pumping) is the next best thing.  Mom and Dad should learn about proper storage and use of breast milk when it’s fresh, refrigerated and frozen.  During time away from mom, dad should feed baby with breast milk from the bottle.  When baby is with mom, she should continue nursing from the breast as much as possible.  Bottle feeding should only begin after baby has had  a good chance to develop a proper latch and is used to nursing.  Ask your lactation consultant when bottle feeding can begin.  In the beginning, nursing can be a trying experience but seek help and stick with it – it is the ultimate miracle food for your baby and breast feeding is a special time to bond with your baby as well.   Feeding time with dad is also a special time to bond with baby.  With the right attitude and information, you can continue nursing and giving your baby breast milk.  Utilize helpful resources like your lactation consultant and La Leche League. Read up on the benefits of breast milk and breastfeeding and visit the World Health Organization’s site here and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ site here for more information.

About Gabriela Sandoval

Child Injury Attorney, Child & Family Investigator and Board Certified Child Welfare Law Specialist