My husband and I got married and had kids a few years ahead of our friends, so as I nurse my second baby, we’re starting to get invites to some fancy, adults-only weddings. I could spend years discussing my thoughts on whether an exclusively breastfed infant “counts” as a child at weddings, but in the interest of streamlining, I’d like to share our approach to attending these weddings without our nursling.
When I find out it’s a strict adults-only wedding, I allow myself about 5 hours to privately respond emotionally to the bride’s suggestion that I’ll enjoy myself and maybe even get a little drunk out on the town without my infant. If only it were so simple, right?
Then, I drop it and get proactive.
One approach I’ve taken is to leave my nursling behind while I attend just the ceremony. We send a card and skip the reception. Although the reception is typically the most fun and memorable segment of the celebration, the ceremony is supposed to be the important thing, right?
For other weddings, I’ve found a highly trusted sitter (my own mother) and done lots of pre-planning re: my milk supply. There’s so much to think about when going out on the town with milk-filled breasts! I need lots of time to mentally prepare.
First, I contact the venue myself to ask about private space to pump. I like to speak to the event manager personally and find out whether there will be an outlet, whether the room has windows where people might peek in, etc. If I am going to be pumping in my car, I want to know this well in advance! If I’m going to be in a cushy room with both a sink and an outlet, I want to feel happy about this leading up to leaving my son behind.
Next, I think about my outfit. Will I be wearing a nursing dress (I know where to get some of those!) or should I plan to fully disrobe every two hours when I visit my milking machine? I tend to drip as I pull off those flanges, so I keep this in mind as well and stuff a dishtowel in my enormous bag (along with a cooler, ice packs, and pump parts).
I also try to think about when I will pump during this affair. Cocktail hour seems logical, since it will have been awhile between leaving my son, watching the ceremony, and traveling to the reception site. But then, of course, I miss cocktail hour… I try to never, ever miss dinner or dessert, but I rather enjoy pumping during the bouquet/garter tosses because I always find those to be awkward anyway. I make sure to get in a slow dance with my husband between pumpings, but I usually wind up neurotically trying to keep one eye on my bag as if a sneak-thief might make off with my milk.
Because I work from home I am very rarely away from my nursling, so leaving him behind for weddings challenges me in many ways. I think I had an easier time (physically and emotionally) attending weddings 8 months pregnant! Shifting my expectations for the event is an important part of getting ready for the day–I’m just not going to have the same carefree experience I had at weddings pre-children. In the end, if it seems too difficult (logistically or emotionally), I’ve learned there is a third approach that’s perfectly acceptable: send regrets and skip it altogether.
How have you approached adults-only events without your nursling? Please leave a comment below to share your tips.