Publication date January 5, 2024

Co-Parenting Newborn? 7 Secrets to Harmony and Happy Chaos

Divorce doesn't have to doom your child's well-being. This guide reveals 7 secrets to thriving as a co-parenting family, starting from the newborn stage.

Co-Parenting Newborn

The first year with a newborn is tough enough, but add in a co-parenting situation after a breakup? It can feel like juggling exploding diapers and emotional landmines. 

Don't despair! Many countless separated couples have proven they can work well together to become a great co-parenting team to meet their child’s needs and nurture well-being and guess what? You can too. 

During the infant stage, a newborn has certain needs and the baby wants to secure attachments to their parents. As they rely on a routine, devising a consistent and stable co-parenting plan becomes essential.

This guide lays bare the 7 crucial secrets for building a successful co-parenting team that prioritizes your child's needs, fosters happy chaos instead of stressful clashes, and leaves you wondering: "Why didn't anyone tell me this before?"

What is co-parenting?

Co-parenting is a process where divorced or separated parents continue to raise their kids together, even though they are no longer married or in a romantic relationship. Instead of two parents taking each other to court to get custody of their kids, parents continue to work together to decide what is best for their children. 

This can include their kid having equal time with each parent or each parent having equal rights in decision-making, even if their child is at the other parent’s house. 

Co-parenting plans are unique to each family depending on parents' availability and responsibilities. In a few cases, parents live and have a high degree of communication about parenting styles, whereas others have written our rules but have less face-to-face contact. 

Ultimately, co-parenting is a collaborative approach for both parents to find what works best for their kids as they move forward after divorce.

7 Tips For Successful Co-Parenting

1. Set Your Feelings Aside

When you are in a divorce, it’s normal to experience several emotions from sadness to anger. You may be angry at your partner or sometimes you may even be sad to find yourself lonely at home. 

But when it comes to co-parenting these emotions can make the whole situation even more challenging. For a smooth co-parenting of your newborn, you must set your feelings aside and focus on the needs of your child. 

Co-parenting is ultimately not about you and your ex-partner, it’s about your child. So you should discuss about stability, happiness, and well-being of your child. Even when you feel hurt and angry, try not to let your feelings control your actions. 

After all, your newborn baby can absorb your feelings as well. If you’ve ever noticed, when you’re stressed, your baby reacts by crying, sneezing, or yawning. For this reason, never let out your frustration in front of your child. 

I get it as a human being, we all feel intense emotions sometimes, but when you do so, call your family members, friends, or therapist. You can also do activities such as exercising and journaling that will help let off your steam too. 

2. Learn to Communicate Purposefully 

While feeling intense emotions is normal after going separate ways with your ex-partner, your sadness, anger, and frustration can hinder your co-parenting planning. 

For successful co-parenting, you must cooperate and communicate with another partner, but if you don’t set your feelings aside in the first place, it’s hard to communicate with your ex-spouse. So you need to clear your mind, having a peaceful and purposeful conversation with your ex for a child’s well-being is essential when co-parenting a newborn. 

When you two are having a conversation, keep your baby the main topic of every discussion to prevent any conflict. Further, keep in mind that you don’t always need to meet up with your ex-spouse. You can also communicate with them via call, text, or email about sharing custody. 

But, if you’re comfortable with your ex in person, it’s not bad to ask them for coffee either and discuss co-parenting plans. And, remember that your goal is to have conflict-free co-parenting. 

3. Remember Your New Roles When Co-Parenting

Generally, when you get into a relationship, there are times when you and your partner decide together, that you always ask for the opinion and permission of each other on different matters. But when this relationship ends, it becomes challenging to work by yourself.

As a result of the split, you must limit your opinion about how the other parent lives. Both of you need to recognize the issues of getting involved in and not in your co-parenting relationship. 

While acknowledging the roles and boundaries is tough, you can discuss how to discipline your child. Although it’s challenging, when you talk about these issues, you both can ultimately establish a good co-parenting relationship. 

4. Co-Parenting Newborn as a Team

It’s crucial to keep working in a team mindset when co-parenting newborns. As we have discussed earlier, there are matters where you and your ex both must decide, and having a peaceful, consistent, and cooperative discussion can lead to effective co-parenting. 

You and your ex-partner must come up with a plan to which you both agree. And reach an agreement, you two must be open, honest, and direct with each other. Also, don’t forget to discuss the future welfare of the baby, such as the child’s medical, future education, and financial needs.

Additionally, when co-parenting a newborn, supporting each other as a team is helpful. For example, breastfeeding is tough as the divorced parents don’t live together in the same home, but as a supporting parent, you can help in nursing the baby. Honestly, it’s not going to be easy, but working as a team is so important to reach the child’s well-being. 

5. Create a Co-Parenting Plan

Sadly, when you’re sharing custody of your child with your ex-partner, verbal agreement isn’t enough. It’s essential to develop a contract detailing your co-parenting plan for the newborn baby too. For your information, a co-parenting plan is a document that states the agreed terms about how to co-parent. 

And to make one, you two must discuss each parent’s rights and responsibilities for the child. It can include the visitation schedule, decision-making guidelines, and other important matters. After you and your ex-partner have discussed clearly, you can set your way up to develop the conditions. 

A plan with structured and clear guidelines for caring for the child can definitely strengthen your co-parenting relationship. If you successfully build a strong bond with your co-parent, it will reduce stress and secure the well-being of the child.

6. Make a Schedule

When it comes to co-parenting a newborn, consistency becomes an important part as the infant relies on a routine. Experts suggest that divorced parents to be present during infancy through regular visitation. 

Coming up with a  schedule can help achieve an effective co-parenting plan. To make a better plan and avoid conflicts, consider the distance and availability of the parents. As a new mom, you must not keep the baby away from your ex-partner for several days. For your child, regular visits set expectations and boundaries. 

When you’re a nonresidential parent, make sure to visit the baby several times a week, and when you do, use the time to bond with the child to familiarize them with your presence. You can feed them, soothe them, or bathe the newborn if you want.

Further, remember that when you’re creating a schedule, you must consider the routine and feeding time of the baby. Plan visitation and pick-up times, separate from routine or wind-down. When your baby faces inconsistent events, they can start feeling anxious.

7. Develop Room to Grow

As we often say, change is the only constant thing in life. This might not apply to co-parenting a newborn as their needs change as they grow. A point can come where your plans can no longer meet the child’s needs.

So you and your ex-partner must build up the transition into your plan to prevent any issues. Instead of using the same plan and making an abrupt change, easing your way into the new schedule is best. You can also ask for help from co-parenting experts when you’re making suitable changes. 

Remember, co-parenting a newborn is different from caring for other ages, during one’s early days there are more needs to meet and factors to consider. So you need to make an effective co-parenting plan with your ex-partner to ensure the child’s well-being.

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