Taking children to a wedding is something of a minefield; some couples are strict on the rule that they’re having a child-free wedding, while others welcome little ones with open arms, providing all kinds of entertainment to keep mini wedding guests occupied.
As a guest though, as well as finding out if your child is invited, it’s worthwhile considering if you’d actually like to take them along, especially if your child is a newborn baby, or under one year old.
From feeding your baby, to making sure there’s somewhere he or she can sleep, there’s a lot to think about. We’ve rounded up the main points to consider when deciding whether to take your baby to all the amazing wedding you’ve been invited to this year.
1. Make sure your baby is invited
Traditionally wedding invites name everyone in the family invited, (ie. Dear Laura, Tom and Ava), so if your little one isn’t named, it’s likely they’re not invited. if you’re unsure, just ask.
The bride and groom will much prefer you inquiring, rather than just bringing your child along. Hopefully, if they’re having an adults only wedding, their invites will state it’s child free.
2. Consider feeding
If you are taking your newborn to the wedding, think about their feeding pattern.
“If you’re breastfeeding and feel that your milk supply has established, consider expressing some breastmilk just in case your baby needs feeding during a key part of the wedding service,” says Lesley Gilchrist, midwife at The Baby Show.
“If you’re bottle-feeding take enough for the day, plus ready-made packs of formula milk, just in case. That way you don’t have to worry about running out. You may also want to take ready-made cartons which can be stored at room temperature so you don’t need to rely on the venue having milk-warming facilities”
3. Schedule in sleeps
Make sure your baby is able to sleep during the day. Chances are lots of fellow guests will be keen to coo over your bundle of joy, but avoid keeping him or her awake too long.
“Socialising can be tiring and they are more likely to be unsettled at night time if they’ve become overtired in the day,” says Andrea Grace, sleep expert at The Baby Show.
4. Dress comfortably
If you’re breast-feeding, wear something that allows for this. “While some women prefer to ask the venue for a private feeding area, you’re there to be a part of - and enjoy - the day, so you shouldn’t feel the need to breastfeed in private (unless you want to),” says Lesley.
5. Bring a change of clothes – both for yourself and your baby
It’s a great idea to bring a change of clothes both for you and your baby. Lesley says: “Depending on how long ago you gave birth, you may still be bleeding and leaking breastmilk, so take a change of clothes and underwear and extra breast and sanitary pads.”
And, when it comes to baby, Andrea says: “You might have bought a special outfit for your baby to wear at the wedding but do also take along a couple of simple one-piece soft suits with popper fastenings. Your baby will be more comfortable in these and they should double up as pyjamas if you are taking a long journey home or staying overnight.”
6. Stay as close to the venue as possible
No one wants a long journey home after a long day of socialising and celebrating, least of all with a baby!
“Consider booking a hotel room within the venue for the night. It means that you can head off to bed early if you want, and also gives you and those caring for your baby somewhere quiet and private," advises Lesley.
7.Take it easy
The wedding may be one of the first times you’ve been out and about socialising since giving birth.
“Avoid sitting or standing for long periods,” Lesley suggests. “If you’ve booked a hotel room it will give you the opportunity to lie down when you need to throughout the day, especially if you’ve only given birth a few weeks ago.”
8. Stay hydrated
With all the excitement of a wedding day, it’s easy to forget to drink plenty of water, particularly as the main drinks on supply are often a glass of bubbles!
“Make sure that you keep well hydrated throughout the day. Breastfeeding increases the need for water but equally, looking after a new baby is tiring so it’s important to drink regularly to help you feel at your best,” says Lesley.
Remember that it’s ok to drink a bit of alcohol, though do hold back. “It's fine to drink a small amount of alcohol and the best time to drink is immediately after a breastfeed so that your body has time to process it out of your breast milk before the next feed,” says Clare Byam-Cook, breastfeeding expert at The Baby Show.