Daniel J. Lounsbury Attorney at Law Willamette Valley Legal
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When should dads get overnight visits with infants?

You want your baby's father to be involved, so joint custody may sound appealing. What may not sound appealing is letting your infant spend the night at his home--away from you. However, many psychiatrists say that it could be the best option.

According to atlantapsychconsultants.com, in the past, it was believed that infants only developed one primary attachment, so typically the mother was considered the primary caregiver and automatically had sole rights to overnight visits. However, now professionals understand that dads may also form this same bond. Not all of them do, though.

If the father regularly diapers and feeds the baby, and takes his turn getting up in the middle of the night to soothe the baby and put him or her back to bed, the primary attachment is probably already strong. Breaking that bond may cause your infant to become depressed and suffer developmental issues. 

Some factors may negatively affect whether your child can handle overnight visits with the father, though, such as:

  • Breastfeeding exclusively
  • High infant anxiety
  • Male gender 
  • Previously low level of paternal involvement

If you and the dad are able to work together and you maintain similar routines in your households, you may be able to overcome some of these barriers in order to foster that important father-child bond. However, keep in mind that in the early stages, predictability is extremely important. A dad who cannot be consistent with a schedule may create more anxiety for the infant. 

Determining the best parenting schedule for an infant should be done on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, this information should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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