Creating A Parenting Plan For A Newborn
When a divorcing couple has minor children, a parenting plan is part of their divorce settlement. The children’s ages play an important role in determining an appropriate parenting plan and because of this, a parenting plan for a baby or toddler is much different from a parenting plan for an older child or a teenager. If you have a newborn, here are a few considerations for your parenting plan:
A Newborn Needs a Predictable Routine
Newborn babies need predictable routines. That is how they develop trust. In a parenting plan for a newborn, a predictable eating, waking, and sleeping schedule must be prioritized.
Babies also have very limited memories, so a schedule that gives the baby regular time with both parents is also important. A few common parenting schedules for newborns include:
- A schedule that alternates between the parents every two days;
- A 2-2-3 schedule, where the baby spends two days with one parent, two days with the other, then the next three with the first parent, and so on; and
- A schedule where the baby spends every third day with the nonresidential parent.
Every family’s circumstances and dynamics are unique, and the ideal parenting plan for your newborn might be none of these. As with creating parenting plans for older children, creating a parenting plan for a newborn requires careful considerations of the child’s best interest.
Are you Breastfeeding the Baby?
Breastfeeding complicates a baby’s parenting plan. If you have not yet thought about how your baby’s feeding schedule will mesh with your parenting plan, here is what you need to consider:
- Whether you can pump breastmilk. If so, overnight visits can be possible if you pump and send milk with your baby; and
- Whether you are comfortable supplementing your baby’s diet with formula.
Creating a Schedule that Works for your Baby
Your parenting plan should include specific time blocks for naps and feedings. Beyond the day-to-day scheduling of feeding times and naps, you will need to work doctor visits into your newborn’s schedule. Your parenting plan includes delegations regarding the right to make medical decisions for your baby, so keep these in mind as you schedule vaccinations and other medical appointments.
Additionally, you need to include pickup and drop-off times in your parenting schedule. Once you determine whether your child will spend time at daycare or with a relative while you work, build a pickup and drop-off schedule around your childcare schedule.
Work with an Experienced Tampa Family Lawyer
An appropriate parenting plan for your child will change as he or she develops. The plan you create for your newborn might not work for your toddler, and the perfect plan for your toddler might need to be adjusted once he or she starts going to school. When it is time to modify your parenting plan, work with an experienced Tampa Bay family lawyer. To get started, contact our team at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. today to set up your initial legal consultation with us.