Tips on Co-Parenting a Newborn: Post-Separation and Divorce
If you’re preparing to co-parent a newborn with your ex, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. We’re talking feeding schedules, how exactly paternity leave for men works, setting up boundaries for your new roles, and more.
Parenting a newborn is a major life change in itself. Add a separation or divorce, and it’s a whole new ball game with entirely new rules. Luckily, there are a few tips that you can keep in mind to help you create the best environment for your little bundle of joy, while still maintaining your overall wellbeing. Take a look:
Create a plan
First thing’s first: It’s time for both you and your ex to sit down and hash out the details of what your parenting agreement is going to look like. This is essential to discuss details like the visitation schedule, how the holidays will be split, the feeding plan, and much more. If you’re planning on breastfeeding, for example, you’ll want to figure out your feeding schedule during this time.
You may also want to think about paternity leave for men and how your schedules will work whether or not your ex-partner takes time off. Laying out a thought-out plan from the start will help prevent a lot of potential issues and miscommunications down the road.
Avoid long separations from either parent
The early months of a newborn's life are especially critical in terms of establishing a bond with both parents. In fact, keeping your child away from a parent in their first two years is known to have negative consequences for your baby’s mental wellbeing. So, whether you live with your child’s other parent or not, make sure that you both are fostering that relationship with your newborn in those early moments.
Healthy boundaries make the world go round! And this is especially true when it comes to navigating a co-parenting relationship. If you were once married to his person or living with them, this is especially important to move on from being just “exes” to now parenting your newborn together amicably, and ideally even as friends.
One important thing to remember is to focus on your own parenting. Avoid micromanaging when your child isn’t on your time. And speaking of time, another great boundary to establish is to respect and adhere to the visitation schedule that is in place. Sure, there are bound to be moments when things don’t run perfectly according to schedule. But unless it’s an emergency, both of you should treat your parenting plan like the law.
And finally, good communication is the ultimate key. Try to communicate as effectively as possible, whatever that means for your individual situation. This will help prevent silly, easily-avoidable arguments and bad feelings towards one another, which in return will make both of your lives easier. Better yet, if you and your ex can manage to maintain a respectful, friendly, relationship during this time, you’ll be creating the ideal co-parenting environment for both your newborn and each other.
The most important thing to remember is to keep it about your child, avoid fighting in front of them and try to assume the best in each other. After all, you both are just doing your best trying to navigate this new phase in your lives!