Co-Parenting a Newborn – What You Need to Know

With a newborn in your life, it is nearly impossible to sever ties with your ex completely (although in some situations this is necessary). In the early years of a child’s existence, they form strong bonds with their parents. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you put your differences aside and co-parent together.

Divorce or separation is hard enough, but it is even more challenging when a newborn is involved. Exposure to parental conflict can leave infants with permanent mental scars, impacting their future relationships. Therefore, parents must avoid being influenced by their emotions and make logical decisions.

If you are co-parenting with a newborn and need advice on how to do it the right way, you’ve come to the right place. This article will discuss the factors that make a co-parenting relationship successful, easier, and more tolerable.

Upclose of newborn being held by father and mother in background

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How to Co-Parent a Newborn Baby

Doctors recommend that both parents be present throughout the first few months of a child’s existence through regular quality time spent together, which requires stability and consistency.

Breastfeeding schedules are a common source of friction in visiting and shared parenting arrangements. A mother who decides to exclusively breastfeed her child may be reluctant to consent to overnight or full-day physical separation from her child. More practically speaking, if the child is EBF, they may not be able to/allow the other parent to feed from a bottle and will be limited in terms of the time they’re able to safely spend away from the breastfeeding parent.

As important as it is for fathers to show that they acknowledge and accept the mother’s decision, it is equally important for mothers to assist in developing strong father-child bonds. Co-parents should begin to establish routines and build a new bond when a new baby is born.

A child’s well-being depends on regular and ongoing interactions between the child and both parents. Overnight visits can allow bonding when the non-primary parent baths the baby and soothes them to sleep.

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The Secret to Successful Co-Parenting of a Newborn

Always consider your child’s interests first. With new communication techniques, you as a co-parent can continue building a co-parenting connection. You may concentrate on your child’s pleasure and well-being even though these things might not come naturally or immediately.

No two co-parenting arrangements are the same; hence there is no such thing as a universal schedule. Below are essentials to consider when co-parenting with a newborn;

Leave the Past in the Past

If you harbor nothing except animosity against your ex, you’ll never be able to co-parent effectively. Seeing a therapist or speaking to family and friends are excellent places to vent your grievances about your ex.

However, you must maintain calmness and respect in front of the baby. Regardless of what may have transpired in your prior relationship, it would help if you kept in mind that relationship is now over and this new relationship of co-parenting has beguni. Focus your attention on what is better for your child.

Communicate

Communication is the foundation of successful co-parenting. Here are a few pointers:

  • Be clear when texting. 
  • Consider how they will receive your words before you speak. Are you going to come across as a jerk or a bully?
  • Directness is the key to effective communication. 
  • If you’re communicating via text or email, ensure your message is brief, courteous, and to the point.
  • Refrain from making negative remarks or threats.
  • Respectful communication includes brevity, clarity, and conciseness.
  • Set a limit on how many texts or emails you can exchange with your co-parent in 24 hours.
  • Using an intermediary like a stepparent, grandmother, or significant other increases the possibility of misunderstanding things.

Listen Intently and With an Open Mind

Listening is the other component of communication. If you want your co-parent to feel heard and understood, try these suggestions:

  • Don’t be rude.
  • Give each other a chance to talk.
  • Request clarification from your co-parent if you don’t understand what they’re saying.

Work As a Team and Compromise

Those parents who work together have the best children. It’s okay (and even recommended) to compliment the other parent when they’re doing something you admire. Providing your children with positive feedback is essential to fostering positive co-parenting.

Also, stick to any regulations you and the other person have agreed upon. No matter how close or far away two parents are, they will never agree on everything. Try to devise a compromise that both parties can live with if you can’t seem to agree on a certain issue.

Plan Vacations Together

A difficult time for co-parents can be the holidays; however, preparation and open communication can make things much easier. A few pointers:

  • You should not schedule a vacation with your children during a time when the co-parent is responsible for the children.
  • If you cannot celebrate the same holidays with your loved ones, consider swapping them out.
  • If you and your ex-partner used to alternate Christmas and Thanksgiving with your respective families before your split, stick with the same schedule now.
  • Maintain a normal holiday schedule for your children. Consistency is a beneficial thing for kids.
  • The earlier you can provide notice, the better off you’ll be.
  • When you’re out of town, let your co-parent know where you are by providing them with your phone number.

Schedules

No matter what kind of visitation or custody timetable you and your co-parent come up with, it will have to take the baby’s feeding schedule and daily routine into account. You should plan pick-up and visitation times so that they don’t interfere with naps or occur amid a routine for winding down.

Experts say that a child shouldn’t be away from either parent for long periods during the first two years. This will help the child grow closer to both mom and dad.

Step-Up Timetables

Step-up timetables are becoming more and more common because they make it possible for co-parents to move young children between custody arrangements according to their age. If the kid is breastfed, a step-up plan frequently starts with visits that occur between feedings and this schedule lasts until the child moves on to solid meals.

After that point if they haven’t already, the parents can decide to prolong the visitations or add overnight stays. This routine can facilitate the child’s adjustment to both homes and strengthen their bond with both parents. Eventually, the parents can switch to joint custody arrangements that work for them as the child grows.

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For You and Your Co-Parent: Healing for the Sake of Your Child

To create a long-term, healthy connection with the other person who cares about your child as much as you do, you and your ex need to heal and move on together. It may not be easy to let go of the past and deal with the person you once loved dispassionately, so consult with a therapist if you want to be on the safe side.

Group Therapy

Counselors can help you if you’ve tried everything and are still struggling to co-parent with your ex. It may be helpful to attend a therapy group geared towards co-parents, where you can meet other people in your same situation. You and your ex may learn to be better parents to the child and, as a side benefit, make some new friends.

The task of co-parenting with your ex can be especially difficult, but it is not insurmountable. Even if your relationship didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean you and your ex can’t be a good parenting team if you have a clear goal in mind and are truly concerned about the well-being of your children.

Continue Reading: Co Parenting with an Alcoholic or Drug Addict Ex

Conclusion

Co-parenting might be tough, but you can co-parent effectively with the correct tools. Efficient co-parenting requires effective communication with your ex and a well-thought-out parenting strategy. As with any parenting, whether done as a team or alone, the focus must always be on what is best for the children.

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