Breastfeeding Used to Deny Visitation (Overnight Custody)
Is Pumping A SolutionOne solution, if the mother is willing, would be for her to pump and provide you with enough breast milk to get you through the night. If your wife does not agree it unlikely that a Court would order her to pump since an order would be difficult to enforce. You would probably have to use formula. In any case, it sounds like Mother would not agree to this solution. She may argue that she cannot pump enough or that pumping might affect milk supply or lead to "nipple confusion." In the face of these objections, you would have to consult a pediatrician. There is also the unresolved question of whether the "breast is best" argument trumps all others. While breastfeeding is important does it outweigh the benefits of father-child bonding and, if so, for how long?
If She Refuses to PumpThere is a wealth of developmental literature that shows that it is in the best interests of the child to have early father-child bonding and sooner or later bonding requires overnight custody. The problem in your case is that the data doesn't really address this balancing of interests and needs between breastfeenig and bonding. The American Academy of Pediatricians in a revised 2005 policy statements states: "Exclusive breastfeeding is ideal nutrition and sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months after birth. Infants weaned before 12 months of age should not receive cow's milk feedings but should receive iron-fortified infant formula. ...It is recommended that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mutually desired." So you might argue that by 18 months the benefits of breastfeeding are outweighed by other factors such as father-son bonding.