Breastfeeding and divorce

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Breastfeeding and divorce
4
Mon, 04-01-2013 - 11:08pm

"A particular challenge for co-parenting infants after divorce relates to breastfeeding schedules. When mothers are breastfeeding, there is sometimes maternal resistance regarding extended overnight or full-day separations. Breastfeeding is obviously one of the important contexts in which attachments are promoted, and thus co-parenting routines need to be arranged around the infant’s feeding schedule. An attitude of support for breastfeeding mothers by fathers is critical, as is openness to modifying parenting plans around breastfeeding schedules. At the same time, mothers’ support of the ongoing father-child relationship is equally critical to children’s well-being, and breastfeeding schedules should not be used as a reason to limit or diminish fathers’ involvement with and attachment to their children."

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/co-parenting-after-divorce/201303/co-parenting-infants-and-very-young-children

Is it just me, or does this make no sense at all?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 04-02-2013 - 2:55pm

The first thing that got my hackles up was the expression "breastfeeding schedule". It implies a controlled environment,  which presumably the mother has a great influence over. Unlike formula, babies breastfeed for all kinds of reasons, not just food. Controlling breastfeeding and regulating are a hassle, IMO.

The second thing was the term "mother's resistance". As I've said, regulating breastfeeding is a hassle. "Mother's resistance" seems too judgmental and underestimates the efforts that a mother would have to make to accomodate scheduling.

The author does not describe the father with any similar judgmental language. In fact, he continues on with his negative attitude toward mothers by alleging that they use breastfeeding as an excuse to alienate the dad.

But you are right, in a sense. He did say that dad's need to support breastfeeding and moms need to support the dad's relationship. Unlike you, he did not express it as a mutual challenge.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 04-02-2013 - 2:39pm

It should go both ways, which I think is what the article is trying to convey.

I guess I didn't read it that way. The way that you summarized what was written it makes good sense.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-16-2010
Tue, 04-02-2013 - 11:58am

I think it's good that the piece recognizes the importance of these competing concerns.  In most cases, in this situation, significant compromises will have to be made.  You just can't, really, have parents living apart, an infant nursing on demand all the time, and substantial fatherly involvement with the infant.  Something has to give.

 My baby nursed for 45 minutes out of every 2 to 3 hours, often more, and on an unpredictable schedule--even after she was a newborn.  If I had insisted on nursing on demand all the time, and I had not lived with her father, he would have had no meaningful involvement with her.  (I guess if the father and I lived next door to one another and did nothing but sit around waiting to pass the baby back and forth, she could have spent time with her father AND nursed on demand.  Otherwise, no.)  On the other hand, if he had insisted on some kind of custody schedule where he got her for a week, then I got her for a week, we'd probably have had no decent chance at a breastfeeding relationship.  I think the point of the article is that neither extreme is appropriate.

Arranging co-parenting with breastfeeding in mind might make it more feasible for a mom maintain a milk supply (partial or whole) through a combination of nursing and pumping, without depriving the father of significant time with the child. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2013
Tue, 04-02-2013 - 10:43am

Of COURSE the bf relationship shouldn't interfere with attachment & involvement of dads. It should go both ways, which I think is what the article is trying to convey. It's tragic when the parents of an infant cannot stay together, so there is of course a period of adjustment for everyone. The mother-baby nursing relationship should be allowed to continue, but concessions do need to be made so that dad isn't left out. It's part of the process of separating. Baby will figure out soon that when they are with dad, they get their milk from a bottle. When they are with mom, they get their milk from mom. They adjust to their situation.

Shaking my head at the things grown women get their panties in a wad about.