Help re split parenting / overnights

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  • #48456 Report


    Hi all,

    Hoping you can help offering some advice on my situation

    I am a single parent of a 6 month old baby girl. When I found out I was pregnant my girls dad got back with his ex girlfriend and she shortly after got pregnant so he has another baby with her ( currently 5 months old). He currently lives with her, their baby and her 2 children from a previous relationship. They live a 2 hour drive away ( Longer with any traffic).

    He currently comes down once a week to see her normally between 10-3. My daughter is currently breast fed / we co sleep and aside from visit I normally hear from him once a week to ask how she is.

    At the moment when he comes down with the restrictions etc – He will sit with her for a bit but I will feed her and get her to sleep ( she normally contact naps). He hasn’t shown any interest in trying to get her to sleep not that I mind.

    I know he is keen to have her every other weekend. My worry is doing this too soon and having a negative effect on my daughter. I want her to have a good relationship with him and I’m keen to encourage that but the thought of her being away for the weekend n being upset or not able to settle ok I’m struggling with. The distance has made this a lot harder. When she’s old enough to articulate her needs I feel more comfortable her being there overnight. </span>

    I have a couple of questions really

    Based on how often he sees her how can I increase their contact so she knows him better. I’ve suggested face time so she’s used to seeing him but this hasn’t happened

    When would be acceptable for her to start staying overnight with him?? I was going to suggest when the time comes that he stay at mine on a couple of occasions with my daughter ( I would stay at my mums) to see if she settles ok and that way I’m not that far away. I think even 1 year old is too young for her to be there overnight but I’m dreading when it comes to us talking about this as he was insisted on overnights from 6 months old and I said no. Another worry is she hates the car and a 2 hour journey each way I feel is a lot for a baby. I’m dreading approaching this with him as he’s so difficult to talk to.

    Thank you for reading

    #48459 Report



    I have only been able to sort these kind of issues out through court unfortunately. what happens there is they usually get overnights with child to start from 2 – 2 and half years age. other parents agreed from 18 months. I have a 2 year old and know she’s not ready to start overnights. will start when she’s 2 and half. will be 1 night every other weekend. when she turns 3, it will go to full weekends.

    I have been seeing child for 7 hours, every other sunday at the moment. live 30 mins away.

    #48462 Report


    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your reply. Appreciate the info. I would eventually like for him to start spending time with her without me there, starting with a couple of hours. At the moment covid has restricted us a bit more. Does your schedule work for you? In an ideal world I would feel more comfortable from when she is 2 years old but I’m sure he will threaten to take me to court if I suggest that.

    #48463 Report



    yes this works fine for me. as i have a 4 year old and 7 year old who take up most my time. when this started for me, I was seeing child for 30 mins first when she was new born. then 1 hour with me at a coffee shop near ex., then 2 and half at my place. then 4, then 7 lol. court social worker like doing gradual build-up of contact like that, which seems sensible. maybe you could look at that. If I was in your ex’ shoes, I would not pick up child and do 2 hour drive to take her home, to spend couple of hours. lot of hassle and uncomfortable for child. maybe for now you can suggest if he can carry on visiting your place and see child there if you don’t mind. then overnights to start from 2 or 2 and half. hopefully it can be sorted without court action.

    #48465 Report


    As soon as baby is not being breastfed  there is no reason why dad cant have his daughter overnight, When daughter is 1 could be a good start ,perhaps only 1 overnight stay every weekend until she say gets to the age of 2. Before your daughter is 1 contact could be built up  more from what it is now if that is workable. Eventually when the time is right the 1 night every weekend could then change to every other weekend where your ex would have 2 nights .

    After your daughter reaches 2 you could also then allow extra contact overnight during school term holidays . I know your daughter is not at school obviously but thats how contact normally sorted out based on when schools break up. With baby been so young contact will always be phased gradually

    #48472 Report


    I don’t feel you need to worry about overnights until your daughter is 2 yrs old. During the next 18 months the day time contact needs to be built up gradually, dad (and his other family) need to get to know your daughter by spending more day time with her taking her out and about. You’ll need to be absent for some time to allow them to provide the care and this will involve expressing milk at some point for them to give. At 6 months you’ll be starting a solid diet. By 12 months, the fact you breast feed becomes less relevant for day time contact, it’s no longer her core diet. I understand that you might feel like you are losing something and this might make you anxious. Use the next months to work on how you’re feeling. On reading your entry, I can’t help but feel that dads shown great commitment by coming every week, I’m not suggesting you need to be thankful for that but you seem to have built a good relationship where he’s working with you to raise your child together. It’s nice to see. I think it’s important to remember that he’s got another child around the same age, so he’ll be learning how to parent at a similar rate to you, as opposed to someone whose dropped in it alternate weekends for a few hours. I’d take this positively and trust that he’s capable of providing a good level of care whilst she’s with him and will contact you if he’s unable to settle her. Eventually overnights will become expected if dad wishes, though for now you need to work on preparing your child so that works.

    #48475 Report

    Hi Bedders2021

    Michelle here, one of the forum moderators.

    Just to let you know that I’ve tidied your post by removing the extra script that had appeared around your text.  This can sometimes happen if text is pasted.  If you use the function ‘Paste as plain text’  it should prevent that from happening.




    #48481 Report


    Thanks for your replies. My worry re the overnights from 1 year is mainly the distance and also we have very different styles of parenting so I’m worried the effect it will have on her. His words to me were “ crying babies don’t bother me”. He would be happy to do CIO method and I personally don’t agree with that.  I think from 2 years old would be better to start overnights and by the time she is 3 I would have thought she would be ok to stay every other weekend.  My co parenting relationship with him is strained and he does come once a week which is good. He is just not very flexible. For example I asked him to come 1 hour later so doesn’t disrupt her nap time ( This is during lockdown) and it turned into a big drama but that’s another story! I’m just not expecting him to be very understanding when we come to talk is what I’m getting at. We both have the same end goal just getting there I don’t think will be easy.

    Re the distance I feel 2 hours + is a long time for a baby to be in the car ( especially one that hates the car!)


    Has anyone been in a similar situation where they have slowly built contact? I don’t think he will come more than once a week and I don’t expect him to with the drive.

    #48508 Report


    thats something a lot of dads would say  ” i dont mind crying babies” I used to sometimes be handed 1 or 2 screaming children and was always calm and laid back which babies would pick up on. i used to go straight for a nice walk and they would be fine within a few mins with my bag of nappys bottles , dinner etc . if i was doing a 2 hour trip and baby was 1 i would imagine a scenario where baby may cry when being picked up . if lucky content, when very young they can get upset when they leave their mum. However once you are in car within a few mins they are fine , with it being a long journey normally some music on within 15 mins they are fast asleep haha. i said 1 overnight when they are 1 as every other weekend would be too long arguably and could be built up. Dad should be understanding that you may not be able to have set times when you leave as baby would probably be best having bottle or dinner before commencing long journey i imagine .

    You could also if u are getting on get dad to give u a call when he arrives and 1 the next morning so you know baby safe and happy and so you arent worried yourself.

    #48529 Report


    I personally think at 1 the child’s too young to be away from their mummy overnight, for me it would be a very gradual thing like someone else has suggested and more like the age of 2 for over nights xxxx

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