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Impact of Breastfeeding on New Jersey Child Custody and Parenting Time Decisions in Divorce

Unfortunately, there are instances in which a married couple makes the decision to end their marriage when there is an infant in the home. This typically occurs when issues in the marriage have come to some sort of climax while a spouse was pregnant. In such a situation, when divorce proceedings commence, New Jersey custody and parenting time very well may be impacted by matters associated with breastfeeding.

Studies show that there are numerous benefits of breast milk to the health and development of infants, which underpins why breastfeeding can prove to be a significant consideration in court proceedings. Ways in which issues surrounding breastfeeding can impact New Jersey child custody and parenting time issues include:

  • Consideration of important nutritional benefits of breastfeeding
  • Examination of bonding opportunities associated with breastfeeding
  • Assessment of psychosocial benefits of breastfeeding
  • Consideration of economic implications of breastfeeding
Best Interests of a Child Standard

Before diving into these specific factors, we take a moment to explain the best interests of a child standard. This is the standard used to make decisions regarding child custody and parenting time in New Jersey.

The best interests of a child standard is a legal principle applied by courts in making decisions about the custody and care of a child in a divorce case. This standard requires courts to consider numerous factors, such as the age and gender of the child, the parenting abilities and mental health of each parent, and the existing relationships between the child and each parent. It also examines which parent is more likely to foster an atmosphere that will provide for the physical, mental, spiritual, moral, and emotional wellbeing of the child.

Nutritional Benefits

A key consideration associated with the way in which breastfeeding an infant are nutritional benefits when it comes to New Jersey child custody and parenting time considerations in divorce proceedings. Breast milk is far superior nutritionally than formula, providing optimal levels of proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and other essential components for growth and development. It has been found to help reduce the risk of childhood obesity and certain diseases such as asthma and diabetes later in life. In addition, breastfed babies typically require fewer doctor visits due to fewer illnesses throughout their early years. A court may take this into account when assigning custodial rights to one or both parents.

Bonding Opportunities

Breastfeeding provides invaluable bonding opportunities between mother and baby that can be beneficial for the psychological wellbeing and emotional development of the child. Research has shown that mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of postpartum depression or anxiety and are more likely to provide nurturing care for their baby’s needs which could lead to healthier parenting practices over time. The court might take this into consideration since proper bonding is necessary for healthy parenting practices during formative years when establishing parental rights in New Jersey child custody cases.

Psychosocial Benefits

In weighing and balancing the breastfeeding on New Jersey child custody and parenting time, psychosocial implications are also at play. Studies have revealed that children who are breastfed tend to develop better communication skills earlier on in life than their bottle-fed counterparts who lack this physical closeness with their mother during feeding times. This could be pertinent information for determining whether one parent is more capable than another when it comes to caring for the child’s physical needs while also promoting psychosocial stability through effective communication practices later on down the road when they become adults themselves.

Economic Implications

Finally, there are economic considerations associated with the impact of breastfeeding on New Jersey child custody and parenting time matters in marriage dissolution proceedings. Formula is expensive and often not covered by insurance which can place an additional financial burden on families seeking custody arrangements with limited resources available at their disposal. Furthermore, most hospitals now offer lactation services so that nursing mothers can continue providing their babies with nutrient-rich nourishment while outside of the home during visitation hours without having to purchase expensive formula supplies at every turn.

In applying the best interests of a child standard as discussed previously, there is something of a transient nature to the implications of breastfeeding. When the period of breastfeeding ends, a reconsideration of custody and parenting time issues may be in order. If you have any questions concerning New Jersey family law, call (201) 845-7400 for a free consultation.

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