My daughter is over 2 months old now, but I believe she was a little more than a month old when her Daddy brought up overnight visits. I so was not ready for that. So many thoughts went through my mind, but the first thing I FELT was panic….panic at my baby not being with me.
My first thought was that is was just too soon for her to be separated from me, and my next thought used the fact that I’m breast feeding her as justification for her NOT to be separated from me for an overnight visit. He dropped the subject, saying that Mommy isn’t ready yet, which is very, very true. He brought it up again though, last weekend? Again, seeing the look on my face he dropped it, saying Mommy isn’t ready. I decided to do some research on this, see what the laws said or if there were guidelines.
So, finally, I did some research today and what multiple sites and forums I came across said this: there are no laws regarding visitation for an infant, though studies say that the baby should be primarily with the primary caregiver for many reasons: 1) the baby gets distressed after too long away from the primary caregiver, 2) to ensure a strong bond with the primary caregiver, 3) so the baby stays on a regular schedule
They suggest this, start with 2-3 hour visits twice a week, and then as the child gets older the time of those visits increase, with overnight visits starting at 18 months. Some sites suggest that when the father is “involved” (changes diapers, feeds, etc) that one overnight visit a week is acceptable as long as the baby is comfortable sleeping there. If the baby is uncomfortable, then overnight visits stop until the baby is older.
The father is very active in my baby’s life, so there is no doubt that she will feel safe and secure in his home without me. There is the possibility that he will have her most of the week while I’m at work, so evenings and weekends will be all I have with her, which distresses me. I keep thinking about all I will miss out on: first laugh, first words, first crawl, first steps…it makes me cry just thinking about it. I don’t want to miss these things. If he has her during the week while I’m at work, surely I get the weeknights and weekends! He’ll have more quality time with her than I will! If for some reason he doesn’t have her during the week, then I would have to give up one of my precious weekend nights to him!
I want him to be able to be with her as much as possible, but I want her to be away from me as little as possible. I just don’t know what to do.