It’s wedding season and you are breastfeeding! Weddings are my favorite type of parties (as long as I’m not organizing!) and these days many weddings are full weekend affairs - which can be amazing, but does add some complications to your breastfeeding routine. However, don’t be discouraged, a little pre-planning can go a long way so you can enjoy the event. Many people are more than willing to make accommodations - and who doesn’t love to see a baby in a little suit or cute dress! Or you can always leave baby at home and opt for the pumping route. Or anything in between! Here are some tips to help things go smoothly.
- Reach out to the host: There is no reason to get stressed out in a bubble or bend over backwards searching out information the host probably knows already. Reach out to the host first and get the inside scoop. Are babies invited? Maybe kids are only welcomed for a portion of the event? What are nearby accommodations like? Babysitters, daycare? It can be super difficult to navigate this information on your own especially for an away-wedding and usually you aren’t the only one looking for some help, so don’t be shy to ask the host what you can do. In my experience they are usually more than happy to help, or at least get you in contact with other guests in that same situation.
- The babysitter strategy: Can you bring your parents? Can you bring a babysitter or hire one on site? Our favorite strategy was to show the baby off during cocktail hour and pass him off to the sitter for dinner and dancing. Most of our friends had yet to meet the little guy so it's a perfect opportunity to do so. Also if accommodations are on site you can quickly step out to get those feedings in or just bring your pump for that late night session.
- Bringing baby and balancing parenting duties: If you bring your baby to the festivities go in with a plan and come prepared. Although you’ll get lots of oo and ahh for your cutie-pie they still need full time attention and it’s definitely not like going to a wedding pre-kids. Make a plan with your partner to balance the baby time, so each one of you can get a break to mingle freely and enjoy a mocktail or cocktail. I find if I don’t do this explicitly even if my husband is “taking care” of our baby I don’t feel like I’m officially off the hook. Reserving some time to enjoy the party sans bebe is a nice way to enjoy the night.
- Deluxify that Diaper Bag: You’ll have a fully packed diaper bag for the wedding, but it may need some tweaking for the event. Pack dinner table friendly toys (no noise makers) and make sure that spare outfit is something your little one can still sport at the event. Also don’t forget that burping cloth for you and bring tons of extra napkins.
- Breastfeeding Alcohol strips: I don’t know about everyone else but weddings were some of the first parties I attended post baby. I was excited to have a couple of drinks but had to be careful to be safe for breastfeeding. Also being at a wedding with all my friends I had to be really conscious not to overdue it. Breastfeeding alcohol strips gave me peace of mind while feeding my baby. You can end up having a couple of drinks but spread out over so many hours it's hard to keep track of where you are. A quick swap with the strip will confirm whether it’s safe or not to feed or pump for baby.
- Pick your attire with breastfeeding in mind: I remember one of the first weddings I went to, I could not find any specific breastfeeding dresses so figured I would improvise and find a regular dress that fit. It had a zipper down the front - so I figured it would be easy access. Boy was I wrong, the dress was quite tight even with the zipper down so made it difficult not to mention that my other boob often started leaking as soon as I start feeding on the first. This was one of the many experiences that made me start Maia Moda - check out the Gaia our wedding friendly dress, perfect for the occasion whether you are pumping or breastfeeding.
- Enjoy the night (but not too much): Enjoy the night but don’t forget your parenting responsibilities will be there waiting for you bright and early the next morning. Your baby doesn’t always get the memo that you had a big night and still gets up at the crack of dawn or earlier - be prepared. I promise you’ll thank me later.
I hope these tips helped and you’ll be RSVPing yes to the next wedding. It won’t be as easy as pre-baby times, but it’s worth the little extra effort.
MAIA MODA Co-Founder