Taking a baby along to a wedding needs a degree of thought. The most important consideration should be the wishes of the bride and groom. It is their day and they may not want to have themselves or their guests distracted by little ones crying etc.
Other couples positively welcome the presence of babies and children; considering them to be a lovely asset to the day. They may even provide a creche and nannies to meet their younger guests’ needs.
If you and your baby are invited to a wedding and you’re struggling to make the right decision whether to take them or leave them with another carer, you might find it helpful to weigh up the pros and cons:
- You’ve worked hard to produce this bundle of beauty and now is a perfect time to show your baby off.
- You are the best person to comfort your baby/get them off to sleep/feed them etc and you might not be ready to leave them with another carer for the day.
- Your baby is more likely to stick to their usual sleep/nap times if you are on hand to manage these.
- Struggling with a young baby at a formal occasion can be tough both for you and for them. People can sometimes be intolerant and if your baby is unsettled and you are being watched, it could be stressful.
- Managing your baby’s usual feed/sleep routine might not be as easy when you’re away from their familiar environment.
- Your baby is likely to be passed around a lot and the environment may be busy and noisy. Some will really enjoy the contact, whilst others may find it too much.
Taking into account all of the above, I think that all of us have witnessed the sight of a baby sleeping perfectly soundly at a wedding reception with a disco on full blast and the guests doing the Conga! They are often more robust than you think.
If you are leaving them with another carer:
- Make certain that they are clear about your baby’s normal nap/bed time and the routine leading up to it.
- If your baby is a bit older, send along some familiar items which they associate with sleep. These might include the usual bedding, a familiar toy or bedtime story book.
- Be sure that you provide plenty of milk. It is better to give more than they normally need, just in case you are held up, or if they need extra feeds to settle.
- Have the milk safely and conveniently stored to cut down on bottle preparation time. Ready made formula feed in cartons or frozen expressed breast milk is easier to prepare than powdered milk.
- Have a little “rehearsal” if possible, where you go off for a few hours, but stay fairly local, so you can be home quickly if needed. Whether your carer is a relative, friend or professional, they will need to feel completely confident that they can care for your baby before you go away for a long day or even overnight.
- Leave a number of ways that you can be contacted whilst you are out. This isn’t a sign of mistrust; but a sensible precaution that increases everyone’s confidence.
- Show your chosen carer that you have confidence in them. Point out that your baby is comfortable with them and how much you trust them.
- Come back at the time that you said you would – Not earlier and not later. This will help to build trust on both sides too.
If you’re taking baby along:
- Take a pram or a car seat, so that your baby has somewhere comfortable to lay down their head and sleep when they need to.
- If your baby is fractious during the wedding vows, encourage them to feed or suck. You might need to take them out for a few minutes to avoid disturbing other guests.
- Try not to take too much equipment, especially if you have to carry it around. You’ll need milk - either formula or expressed breast milk if you are not able to breast feed freely on the day. [If you’re a bridesmaid for example.] You’ll also need nappies, wipes and just one or two small toys or comforters.
- 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.
- Allow your baby to sleep as much as they like during the day. Socialising can be tiring and they are more likely to be unsettled at night time if they’ve become overtired in the day.
Attending your first wedding after having a baby is always going to be a special event. It may the first time that you’ve left them with someone else, or it may be that it is your first public outing together. There is absolutely no right or wrong choice, but one thing is certain - it is a day which you will always remember.
Andrea Grace is the author of Andrea Grace’s Gentle Sleep Solutions and sleep expert at The Baby Show (www.thebabyshow.co.uk) returning this weekend to the Birmingham NEC.
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