A wide variety of different factors go into creating a child custody arrangement, including the way that each parent supported their child prior to divorce.
If part of that support involved breastfeeding, determining a fair custody arrangement for a young child can be particularly challenging. What should parents know about custody arrangements for breastfeeding infants?
What is in the best interest of a breastfeeding child?
Texas courts create custody orders based on what will best support a child’s physical, emotional and social needs. A custody arrangement that focuses on the breastfeeding parent could the non-breastfeeding parent off from the opportunity to bond with their child and create a strong relationship in their early years. This could lead parents to move to formula so that parents can have a more equal custody arrangement.
On other hand, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for a child’s first six months and continuing the practice for a year as parents introduce other foods to the child’s diet. Because breastfeeding can support the child’s health, the court may consider that as a key part of the child’s best interests.
Texas allows for changes in a custody order.
Texas law allows the court to determine an arrangement appropriate for a very young child and to outline an appropriate order to go into effect on their third birthday. This provides a great deal of flexibility, allowing parents to create a custody order that supports breastfeeding today but gives parents a more balanced arrangement as they grow older.
Your child’s needs are unique, and your custody arrangement will depend on their unique needs. Whether you continue breastfeeding during your child’s early years, transition to formula or reach another arrangement, you can reach a solution that protects your parental rights and your child’s needs as they grow.