Experts from The Baby Show have compiled a list of their top tips to parents who are bringing their babies to weddings this year – or – like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – leaving them with others!
- Think about it!
Make sure that you are clear about whether or not your baby is actually invited.
Andrea Grace, sleep expert at The Baby Show says: “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 and playing.
“Meanwhile, 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.”
Clare Byam-Cook, breastfeeding expert at The Baby Show says: “You probably won’t want to take your baby into the church or marriage venue itself, so try to adapt their feeding pattern on the day so that they can be fed and settled before the service begins.”
Lesley Gilchrist, midwife at The Baby Show adds: “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.
“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”
- Allow your baby to sleep!
Andrea says: “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.”
- Dress comfortably
Lesley explains: “The clothes that you wear need to be comfortable and practical. While some women may 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).”
- Bring a change of clothes – both for yourself and 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.”
- 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! Lesley says: “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.”
- Hire a nanny
Lesley says: “Don’t be afraid to hire a nanny who can be responsible for caring for your baby during the day and alert you to any feeds that they may need. You may also find that other parents of young children may chip in too.”
- Take it easy and don’t push yourself too much
Lesley explains: “Avoid sitting or standing for long periods. Again, 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.”
Clare adds: “Try to avoid getting overtired as this might have a detrimental effect on your milk supply.”
- Keep 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! Lesley says: “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.”
Remember that it’s ok to drink a bit of alcohol, though do hold back. Clare says: “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.”
- Pack as light as possible though don’t forget the essentials!
Try to pack as light as possible but do leave things in the car or a room that is within easy reach.
One of the most important things is to take a suitable carrier for them. Andrea says: “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.”
She also advises: “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 breastfeed 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.”
And tips for those leaving baby at home…
- Give clear guidance
Make sure that whoever you are leaving your baby with is absolutely clear on what to do. Andrea says: “Make certain that they are clear about your baby’s normal nap and bedtime routine”. This will make feeding, naptime and playtime a whole world easier and won’t cause much disruption for the coming days.
- Make sure you leave enough milk for them
Lesley says: “If you’re breastfeeding, you want to make sure that you have enough breast milk expressed and frozen. Breastmilk can be stored in the fridge for 24 hours so express that day and pop in the fridge and then breastfeed just before you leave. The person caring for your baby will then have additional milk if they need it.”
- Leave something that smells familiar
Lesley says: “If you’re leaving your baby for the first time, leave the nightwear that you wore the night before with the person looking after your baby so that they can smell you.” Or Andrea suggests “their usual bedding, a familiar toy or a bedtime storybook.”
- Practice makes perfect
Andrea advises parents to have a “rehearsal” beforehand where you go off for a few hours but stay fairly locally so you can come home quickly if needed. She says: “Whether your carer is a relative, a friend or a 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 plenty of numbers
Many weddings are in the middle of the countryside where mobile phone reception can be poor. Andrea says: “Don’t be afraid to leave a few numbers in the very rare case there’s an emergency or they need to ask your advice.”
The Baby Show returns to the Birmingham NEC from Friday 18th until Sunday 20th May and London Olympia 19th – 21st October where Lesley, Andrea and Clare will be three of many parenting experts taking to the stage to share their expertise.
The Show will feature over 200 exhibitors showcasing everything you need for your little one from leading brands to boutique stores, plus incredible discounts that you won’t see elsewhere. From nursery furniture to feeding equipment, slings and carriers to sleep products, changing products and clothes, you will be spoilt for choice!
The advanced ticket price is £13.70 for Friday and £14.70 for Saturday or Sunday until midnight 17th May, while on-the-door tickets cost £20. For more information visit www.thebabyshow.co.uk.