Alfie is 8 months old and has already been a guest at three weddings in his short little life! Each wedding was definitely a different experience to attending a wedding pre-baby, and each wedding was also different due to the different age and circumstances of the event!
His first wedding was when he was just 3 and a half weeks old! I was a bridesmaid for my best friend, who had been a bridesmaid for me. I attended her hen do at 8 months pregnant (thank god we had decided to book it quite far in advance of her wedding to coincide with the bank holiday, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have made it!) and was so excited to be a bridesmaid, although I didn’t know how easy or difficult it would be with a baby.
Before I had Alfie, I thought I would just express some milk (as I planned to breastfeed), leave him with Craig while I went and got ready with the bride, and then meet them both again once the ceremony was over. It went a little bit like that, but not exactly!
Firstly, I couldn’t fit in my bridesmaid dress (as I’d been quite heavily pregnant when it was bought, so I hadn’t had the chance to try it on). I hadn’t counted on my boobs getting so big, so it was actually fine on my belly, but I couldn’t do it up over my boobs! Cue a mad panic two weeks before the wedding, when Alfie was a week old, to go and find a new dress. Baring in mind I’d had a caesarean, I really shouldn’t have been running round the shops trying to find a dress, but thankfully it didn’t take long and I found one that fit, was gorgeous, and I could feed in!
Secondly, expressing and leaving a bottle wasn’t as easy as I first thought. All the guidelines say you shouldn’t express until baby is at least 6 weeks old as it can mess with your supply. I think this is the reason I got a blocked duct, which honestly was worse than my labour pains! In the end I decided I would take Alfie with me when I was getting ready with the bride as it would be easier. The bride was super lovely, and said I could do whatever was easiest for me (although secretly she wanted Alfie there for lots of baby cuddles!)
Alfie was good as gold, and you wouldn’t even know he was there! He slept soundly in his car seat while we all had our hair done, and then slept while we had our make up done. The only time he woke was for a feed (although these were quite long as he was only tiny!) but I just fed him then he went back to sleep! I gave Alfie to Craig just before the ceremony, and he had one bottle of expressed milk in case he needed it during the ceremony (he did).
In the end, it was actually quite easy – as Alfie was so tiny, he slept for most of the day. The venue was this big amazing house, so it had lots of little rooms that I could go off to and feed (although, I did feed out in public during the speeches, my dress was a little restrictive so I just felt more comfortable being away from the crowds). He even slept whilst I held him next to the dancefloor as we watched the first dance! So, all in all, it was a fabulous day, and having the baby there didn’t make one bit of difference. The only flaw in the day was that I was still recovering from the c-section. Although I felt fine on the day, I didn’t actually take any time to properly sit down and rest (apart from the feeds) and by the time we left at around 11pm, I could barely walk as I was in a lot of pain. I really paid for it the next day, but it taught me to take things easier and look after myself.
Our next wedding was when Alfie was just 6 weeks old. As this wedding had asked for children not to attend during the day, my mum was on babysitting duty. For this wedding, I had to express so that Alfie could be fed during the day. Craig was an usher, so we had to leave Alfie about 11am. I left about 20oz of milk for him, along with all his baby gear (bean bag to rest on, change of clothes, nappies, wipes, blankets…it was a lot of stuff considering he was only there for a few hours!)
Although we of course missed Alfie, it was actually lovely to spend some time as a couple and with our friends and not have to worry about looking after the baby. We could sit and enjoy the ceremony without worrying that the baby was going to cry, and also it was the first time I got to eat a hot meal since Alfie arrived! It was delicious and I really enjoyed it!
The downside – my poor boobs!! As Alfie was so young, and was feeding so often, I was producing a lot of milk. I was away from Alfie for 8 hours, but unfortunately only got the opportunity to pump once. I was fine once I’d pumped (before the meal) but I quickly filled up again and didn’t get the chance to go back to the car to pump. Honestly, I was in agony (my boobs looked good in the dress though 😉 )
My mum dropped Alfie off at around 8pm, and I couldn’t wait to latch him on and get him to feed! I felt much better then. Unfortunately, because I had been away from him all day, he had obviously missed me as all he wanted to do was feed! It was quite common for him to cluster feed in the evening anyway, but because he hadn’t had boob all day, he clearly wanted to catch up. This meant I was sat at a table away from the dancefloor for most of the night. It was a shame as the dancing is usually my favourite part of a wedding – that moment when everyone has had a few drinks, and let themselves loose and enjoy some crazy dancing! I was quite sad I missed out on that. Looking back, had I started using my Close Caboo sling, I could have joined everyone on the dancefloor, but I hadn’t yet got to grips with using it.
So, the verdict for this wedding – not impossible, but it was harder to not have Alfie there. Although we loved the time alone, as a breastfeeding mum, it was quite uncomfortable for me to be away from the baby for that long.
Our final wedding was last week, on April Fool’s Day (how cool!). It was the turn of my other best friend, who I was a bridesmaid for. This involved Alfie’s first night away from mummy and daddy as I was staying round my friends the night before and Craig had to go to work in the morning. So Alfie had a sleepover at his auntie Zozo’s house while Mummy got an (almost) full nights sleep round Auntie LaLa’s. It was full steam ahead in the morning to get the bride, 3 bridesmaids and Mother of the Bride ready, but we did it and on time as well!! It was great to be able to enjoy myself and not have to worry about stopping to feed, change or entertain Alfie! Although I did have to excuse myself to go and pump a few times.
Alfie wasn’t going to be joining us until after the church ceremony, so actually it was lovely. We got to enjoy the service without worrying about having to step out if Alfie was too noisy. Although he was unlikely to cry (unless he was hungry!) he is generally a noisy baby as he loves to laugh, and chat away to people! So I got to sit at the front of the church and not have to worry about how Craig was getting on with Alfie, and Craig got to enjoy the service without having the baby to deal with!
Once we picked him up, he was a little angel. I got him changed into his suit so he matched Daddy and then had a fab time showing him off. He’s such a social baby, he was giving everyone smiles, and was happy for complete strangers to have cuddles with him!
We enjoyed our meal, although I was last to finish as Alfie got a little bored so I had to entertain him until Daddy finished eating. The bride and groom bought Alfie the cutest little bib to wear.
Alfie got a bit restless during the meal, but they had a live singer (who was AMAZING!!!) so I got up and danced with him. I’m aware now that I probably looked a little silly, but Alfie thought I was hilarious and it was making him giggle, so I didn’t care.
I managed to get him down for a nap just after the speeches, so we were able to watch the first dance and cutting of the cake while he slept. We even managed a dance and visit to the photo booth! I was lucky that the bride picked dresses that we could decide our own style to wear, so I was able to fashion something that was easy to breastfeed in – the only problem I had was I didn’t wear the best bra for feeding, but we managed!
Unfortunately we didn’t last the whole night. Alfie got tired but because of all the commotion, he wouldn’t go to sleep even thought he was so tired! So we left about 11pm, and Alfie fell asleep instantly in the car!
It was a fab day, and so much fun with Alfie. I loved that everyone loved him and wanted cuddles and to play. He made me a very proud mummy that day!
So, how easy is it to take a baby to a wedding? I would say very easy! Out of all our experiences, it was probably hardest when he wasn’t there. It was a lot calmer when he was a tiny baby, but a lot more fun when he was an older baby. Would we take him again? Absolutely! Having said that, it is also lovely to have some adult fun without the baby, and now we’ve established breastfeeding, and I’ve had a lot of practice with pumping and Alfie is a lot older, maybe our next wedding we might leave him at home and book a hotel room!