Dear Miss Jeanne and readers of e-hell, I have a dilemma and I need some etiquette advice!
I gave birth to my second son 14 weeks ago, next week there is a family wedding. Children are not invited, which is absolutely fine – my parents have agreed to take care of both of the children for the duration of both the actual wedding and a portion of the evening party. (My husband’s cousin is getting married.)
I breastfeed and have expressed more than enough milk to cover the day and evening events. (I actually milk share with a mother who struggles to feed her own daughter, so I have plenty of milk.) However, my dilemma is this: how rude is it to essentially “vanish” for around 30 minutes or so to either a room at the venue (I will ring and ask if there is space available) or into our car to express and potentially eat something. Unfortunately I’m still at the point where my breasts are very tender and get over full very quickly, so the only relief I get is through expressing. I am also incredibly hungry all the time so was considering bringing a small lunch pack of foods I can eat (this would not effect me eating the wedding breakfast at all).
It is very important to the groom that we attend the wedding as all of us are very close so not going isn’t really an option.
Am I being incredibly rude or would this be an ideal way to enjoy the day without feeling incredibly sore and having to change breast-pads every half hour or so)
Please help! 0213-18
In all my years of wedding work I have never known of a situation in which a nursing mother could not bring her infant to the wedding regardless of children not being invited. Nursing infants always were the caveat to the exclusion of children.
First, I’d ask the bride and groom if you could bring the baby with the assurances from you that you will promptly exit the ceremony if the baby gets fussy. If they balk at this then explain that you are in a season of life where you will need to periodically either breastfeed a baby or disappear to express milk. It’s biology and you have needs. “We are so looking forward to your wedding but if you notice me missing for short spells, just know that I’m a little pre-occupied but will join you all soon! See you next weekend!”
Unless your husband’s cousins are selfish cretins, they will graciously never notice you missing while you pump and knosh. And if they are really kind people they will insist you bring Baby along and go out of their way to make sure you are accommodated as best can be done.
Comments on this entry are closed.
I’m with Admin–your situation is the obvious exception to the no-children wedding! But barring that, of COURSE it’s ok to go off and pump. Don’t even give it a second thought.
Why is admin so focused on the baby must come to the wedding? OP seems to have no problem with baby not coming, so why is the admin so concerned about that in their response. It almost sounds like the OP might be looking forward to getting to have some adult time and not be just the mommy for a bit. Also, bringing a newborn out into a large crowd that you know is going to want to cuddle and kiss them is not a good idea right now. There’s a bit of a flu problem going on and that little one is more likely to catch things.
And I’m sorry, but as has been said time and time again here, if someone is not on the invitation, then they are not invited. No kids means no kids. You can’t suddenly claim that it is OK to ask for more invitations. No, a baby isn’t going to be eating a plate at the reception and messing up that number, but it will change the dynamic and most likely there will be crying.
OP, I think your plan to just slip off to the car or somewhere private to express is perfect. I doubt the hosts will even notice that you were gone (no offense, but they’ll have other things to be worried about at the time). As for food, just have a few snacks in your purse and don’t make any fuss about eating it.
When infants are that tiny and dependent on Mom’s milk, Mom and baby are one social unit as far as I’m concerned. You want Mom? You get baby, too. Like a prior commenter, I, too, left a 2 month old nursing baby at home while attending an evening wedding. Found upon arrival home that baby would not take the bottle so she fell asleep hungry after screaming for an hour (this was before cell phones). I also had to deal with pads and leakage. I would have preferred to have brought the baby and nursed discreetly in some corner or room.
I sympathize with your experience when your child was little, but cell phones *do* exist today, and most people have ample warning before a wedding. Parents can make sure a baby will take a bottle in advance of the wedding or, if not, make arrangements with the babysitter to stay somewhere nearby so that mom can nurse baby before and after the ceremony and make an early exit from the reception. I realize that all sounds like a lot of extra work, but that’s parenting! And if none of those options are viable, they could stay home. Missing out on fun events is also a part of parenting sometimes.
Some kids are EBF for a long time. If that is the criteria applied to whether a mom can demand to bring her baby to a formal event you could end up with >1 yr olds present. Unless you put an age limit on it. Let’s say EBF and under 6 months. But what if a baby is 6.5 months and EBF? What if they are 3 months and formula fed? If a wedding guest list only has 1 mom with a little baby then it’s a pretty easy call, but if it’s a large wedding odds are high there will be several moms with small kids. A line has to be drawn somewhere if you intend to have a childfree wedding, and out of fairness to all guests with kids that line needs to be unilaterally applied. The hosts of this event chose that line to be ‘No kids at all” and the OP has clearly stated she has no problem with that.
If it’s so important to the wedding couple that absolutely NO minors ever attend their show, then they have the right to that choice. And if a mom finds herself excluded from such an event because she’s a parent, then that is the way it is, I guess. But what it comes down to is a wedding couple who choose to exclude a loved one because that loved one is now a parent. And if I was excluded because of my being a parent then my partner would also be excluded, yes? And, in the case of this letter, the husband could easily solve the problem of the LW needing to express in someplace private. Hubby can deliver the baby, at regular intervals, to a locale nearby the wedding, where mom can join him to nurse the baby. Then hubby takes baby back home until it’s time for the next feeding.
Mom gets to go to the wedding and doesn’t have to figure out where to express and how to tote snacks along, since hubby will bring them with him. Problem solved! And it’s not a problem that hubby can’t attend the show because you didn’t think it was a problem when it’s the mom who can’t attend.
Unless, of course, you are advocating a double standard. And if all this now sounds so unnecessarily complicated, that’s because it is.
Wow – you seem to have a real problem with someone not wanting a crying infant at their wedding. The nursing mom was NOT excluded, and already expresses milk for her infant (and for another, God bless her!) – so that wasn’t even part of LW’s question. She was simply asking if it would be rude to disappear to pump at the wedding – and of course it wouldn’t.
I’m just not sure how you came up with “wedding couple who choose to exclude a loved one because that loved one is now a parent” from LW’s post…
“And if I was excluded because of my being a parent then my partner would also be excluded, yes?”
Uh, no? My husband’s cousin’s wife gave birth a couple weeks before our wedding. She opted not to come. Her husband did come, and even performed a reading at the ceremony. And the world did not stop spinning on its axis. It’s only “unnecessarily complicated” if you want to make it so, which you certainly seem intent on doing.
Except the OP stated that they are already expressing milk, etc. Sounds like their baby takes the bottle just fine.
“I would have preferred to have brought the baby and nursed discreetly in some corner or room.” One problem there: it’s not your wedding. The couple get to have the wedding they want. I’m sure that OP knew for some time that the wedding was child free and that she would have a child. She choose to accept the invitation. You don’t get to accept and then try to tailor the invitation to what you want it to be. Either go to a childfree wedding or stay home with your children.
From the OP: “It is very important to the groom that we attend the wedding as all of us are very close so not going isn’t really an option.”
So she didn’t simply choose to accept, she feels obligated. And she feels required to leave her baby. I agree with admin that the bride/groom should be willing to have a baby there given the circumstances. Maybe OP does want some adult only time, but it should be her choice, not something forced on her because she MUST go to this wedding where her baby is banned from.
TracyX, I agree with you on this one. The flu this year is particularly dangerous. The OP already has child care arranged that she’s comfortable with. Leave the baby at home for his own safety and just take whatever breaks you need. Real friends will be perfectly fine with that.
I completely agree re: the flu. It’s bad this year, and a 14 week old does not have the defenses to deal with it well. Would it be nice of the couple to accommodate a nursing mother by allowing her to bring her child? Yes, it probably would.
However, there may be reasons it wouldn’t be a good idea to bring the baby. The flu (and other stuff going around just now), is one such reason. Yes, Baby is getting antibodies from Mom’s milk…but they’re still very vulnerable at that age.
Family politics can also be A Thing. If OP is accommodated with her infant, is Cousin Jane going to make a fuss because she wasn’t allowed to bring her rambunctious toddler? (Who may be a perfectly lovely child, but not ready for a wedding yet.) And if Cousin Jane throws a fit, does that then upset Grandma or Aunt Tabby? Thus creating a Cycle O’Drama that no one really needs. I’d like to believe that no one would behave like that…but I don’t have that much faith in human nature, and the couple may prefer to avoid that whole issue.
OP seems fine with expressing, and may indeed be looking forward to some socializing with adults. Or maybe not. I think OP would be perfectly fine slipping off to express milk and have a snack. It also occurs to me that, if OP has enough milk to share (and bless you for doing so, OP!), she may produce more than her little one can consume, thus still leaving her with the need to express. So bringing the baby might not fully solve the issue.
I fully agree. Mommy was invited – quite possibly before the couple knew she was pregnant. I had my wedding day planned around 9 months before the actual date. I don’t agree with admin about bringing the baby. If you’re invited to a adult only event and you decide to have kids, then it’s up to you to either decline the invitation, or to find a babysitter.
It’s a wedding. You just don’t bring kids to a no kids wedding. It’s your choice to get pregnant and have kids, don’t make this the problem of the host. Especially on a day that is so special to this couple.
Children were welcome at my wedding by the way. All parents informed us they would leave the ceremony for a moment if one of their kids acted up. We provided toys and a room at the venue for the kids to sleep in, and we all had a great day. But when my best friend got married a year later, it was a no kids wedding. That’s their choice and we all respected that.
But as a previous reader commented, the OP makes it clear that there is a strong obligation to attend the wedding of her husband’s cousin. There is no real freedom of choice for the guest to decide or not decide to attend the wedding if there is a social pressure to attend a wedding while also placing a limitation on how the guest is supposed to do that. The only choice becomes to do what the OP is planning, i.e. leave the baby with the grandparents and pump during the wedding and reception.
I can understand her angst about leaving the wedding/reception to pump because it appears their presence at the wedding is important to the bridal couple and her absence could be noted.
You are usually the firmest when it comes to not giving into social pressures and “I’m sorry that won’t be possible” repeat as necessary. If it won’t be possible for OP to leave the baby then that’s all she needs to say to the couple. It will then be up to them to extend the invitation to OP + baby or accept her absence.
I hate the claim that “not going isn’t really an option.” It actually is an option. It is always an option. A lack of spine against social pressure doesn’t make it not an option. It just means the OP has to make a choice and live it.
An invitation is not a summons.
No, it’s not but if there will be family drama if the guest declines to attend, that is a serious consequence of choice that unfortunately falls on the guest. What I’m saying is that it can be a profound unkindness to hold guests to two expectations, i.e. 1) you must attend my wedding or there will be guilt trips for the rest of your life and 2) your nursing tiny baby cannot come…at all.
It only falls on the guest if the guest allows it to. Family doesn’t give you a hard time because you have a newborn that comes first or health issues. If they do that is when you re-evaluate your standing with them.
I don’t get this at all. She has total freedom to decline. She doesn’t want to because she has made childcare arrangements she is happy with! Bringing the baby is not an issue here!
This is really simple. Nope, not rude at all to excuse yourself to pump.
I agree. I’m getting married in a couple of months and the one nursing mother I invited? I included the baby on the invitation, so she knows it is OK to bring him, if she wants to. But otherwise, there are no children invited, mainly due to lack of space, except for those that are in the wedding party and they’re 12 and 13.
100 percent agreed. No kids means no kids even babies. Like you said op even sounds totally fine with the no baby thing all she needs is one or two moments to go pump quietly and she’ll be back why does admin want baby to be invited so badly? And the thing is if you make an exception for the letter writer to bring her baby then there could be tons of other parents with young babies or toddlers who now want to bring their kid to. Or get to the wedding see the letter writer with her baby and think we’ll why couldn’t I bring my kids. So in my book no kids mean no kids! Breastfeeding moms have to choose if it’s worth it go or not go and hassling the couple to ask for special arrangements that you and only you can bring your baby just opens a bad door. Sorry but I don’t agree with admin on this. I’m with you.
Being a parent comes with sacrifices and sometimes you can’t go to everything. LW sounds cool with not bringing her baby why encourage her to be rude and push herself on the couple to let her be the exception but nobody else. It’s not unfair or discrimination to a parent that they can’t go it’s life sometimes when you are a mom or dad. I’ve seen circumstances where it was clearly a no kid wedding and some entitled parent without any permission from the couple whatsoever took it upon themselves to sneak their kids in. Then brag on Facebook about how “the wedding said no kids but Logan was sick today and wanted mommy so he somehow got in with mommy”. How rude and disrespectful to the couple and all the wedding guests who followed the rules. Plus this chick on Facebook brought a sick toddler with her whose now spreading germs to everyone at that wedding especially those seated near her at the meal portion. Gross.
Our wedding reception was no kids. But of course that excluded a friend who had a new born. She brought the baby, I sat her at a table furthest away from the speakers and near a corner so she could park the pram unobtrusively. Also there was a small room nearby where she could nurse in peace and quiet. I get that cousin doesn’t want toddlers screaming around the reception, but like the Dame said, unless they are complete cretins, you must be the exception. Your baby is your first priority. If they want you, they get the baby too.
Your baby is YOUR first priority, not the HC’s. If you can’t tear yourself away from baby for a few hours, that’s fine. Stay home. But you don’t get to change the terms of the invitation to include an uninvited, and possibly noisy, smelly guest.
And your wedding was not no kids. It was no kids except that one friend’s. People were probably too polite to say anything to your face, but I am certain that some were wondering why they had to pay for a sitter while this other person got bring her baby. You succeeded in creating two separate classes of guests, which is never nice. Neither is calling people cretins for having the wedding they want.
Aaaahhh such assumption. This friend specifically came up to me and tentatively asked if she could bring newborn with her. Seriously, the child was a few weeks old. I was more than happy to accommodate her (BTW the child slept all night, I didn’t hear a peep). We had a small wedding, most guests were old family friends whose kids were grown. The few of our friends that did have younger kids I know for a fact that each of those children (toddler and older) had special sleepovers with grandparents/relatives. I know this because I casually enquired to see if there were any others who may be in difficulty getting a sitter for their kids.
In OPs case, her child is older and as many have said she is happy to leave baby with relative. Pumping can be stressful. You have to bring all this annoying equipment and if you are stressing about the time you are away from the event, it makes it even harder and sometimes the milk doesn’t come easily. Also she points out that she gets very full, very quickly which can be painful. Rather than having to go out to the car or another room and set up your stuff, just popping baby on the boob gives quick relief. Messing with you routine can stuff up your milk production.
Unless the wedding and reception are very small, they probably won’t even notice that you’re gone for half an hour. If they’re looking for you, they’ll find you when you get back.
When I was BFing my daughter I went to a wedding. Left the little nibbler with my mom for the evening, had no problems running out to the car to pump (had a cooler in the car), and having an evening away without baby stress was super relaxing.
New moms deserve an evening off.
No one will even be aware that you disappear for 30 min at a time. Make double sure the bride/groom know you are there, then enjoy yourself, the evening, and go off and do your business however ever often you need to. The bride and groom won’t know any difference of when you take off or when you come back. 🙂 ( goodness have you never noticed the huge crowd of people outside of a wedding venue smoking and drinking or simply getting a breath of fresh air?)
Unfortunately, I *have* experienced an exclusion of even a breastfed-only baby from a “no children” wedding. It was honestly the most miserable experience of my life, and if I had it to do over, I would’ve told then-husband that I was not going and let the chips fall where they may.
At the time, I only had the one child (now child is 24, so you can tell how much of an impression this event made) who had been born in October, and the wedding was in December of that same year. Groom was my then-husband’s brother, so it was considered “absolutely required” that I attend. I expressed milk for my child, and then went to the wedding. Multiple times through the reception, I had to leave to the bathroom to relieve the agony I was in (engorged). Finally (still leaking through pads), my dress was soaked and I was having alternate chills and hot flashes, so finally managed to convince then-husband that we needed to leave. Got home and found out that my child had refused the bottles of expressed milk. Still ended up sick and nearly had mastitis.
A few years after that (7 years), I had exclusively breastfed twins when a niece got married and wanted a child-free event. And yes, my twins were specifically excluded. I declined to attend and then-husband went alone, because I was a much stronger person who wasn’t about to make myself ill for someone else’s event.
So, yes, there are selfish couples who are so concerned about having a “perfect event” that they will exclude even an exclusively-breastfed infant because the cute might distract attention from the bride.
So, bottom line–talk to the happy couple and verify if the baby can be included (it’ll be a lot less obtrusive). If not, unless you’re accustomed to several hours of separation (like already back to work), don’t endanger your health for someone else’s wedding.
Calling a couple selfish for wanting a child free wedding is over the top. They plan for a particular atmosphere that doesn’t include kids underfoot or infants crying during the ceremony. It isn’t about having a perfect event or distracting from the bride. It is about creating what they feel is the best atmosphere for their vows, and a particular type of experience for their guests to enjoy.
The couple must then contend with the absence of a good friend or family member if nursing infant is excluded. There are consequences to ever choice.
They might not consider that a hardship. They have given the guest a choice. The guest has made it. If everyone accepts the choice and no one harasses anyone about it, what exactly is the problem? To me, this is akin to sending an invite to an elderly or ill relative when you aren’t sure if they are healthy or mobile enough to attend by the time the wedding arrives. You could simply not invite them (and risk their hurt feelings) or invite them and leave it up to them if they feel up to attending the event you are throwing.
I contend there is no choice in this particular situation. In child free weddings, the guest has two options:
1. Decline to attend the wedding,
2. Accept the rsvp and find a babysitter (this assumes the baby will take a bottle and the guests can afford/find a babysitter)
But if there is a social obligation or pressure placed on the guest to attend the wedding, there is only one option left.
admin, there is still a choice — the two precise choices you laid out. Even when there is social pressure, you *always* have the right to say no, and this is where the polite spine comes in. Social pressure in this context just means people trying to bully you into thinking you don’t have a choice. I think we need to be clearer with ourselves that we have this right to not be walked all over by our families. Yes, they may give us the cold shoulder if we say no. But if we say yes, this goes on and they keep exerting that pressure.
Of course, each of us must decide for ourselves what is important to us, and at what point things like this become an unacceptable imposition. Not one of us can make that judgement for another. But we all have the right — and, I’d argue, the responsibility — to make that judgement for ourselves. Personally, I’d do exactly what OP is doing — get a sitter and bring the pump. 😉 At 14 weeks, this child is likely already accustomed to the bottle, as few maternity leaves go anywhere near that long.
But the OP says that it’s NOT an option for her and her husband to decline attending the wedding. In this case, OP is quite confident she and her hubby would be missed and, if that’s the case, it could mean a lot of fuss and to-do for them in the immediate future, if not in the years to come.
In cases like that, if one can’t get a sitter and/or can’t be away from baby for the event, the “no-kids” rule is quite selfish. I wonder just how much the wedding couple, in this case, really knows about the angst of the OP, and if they would be quite happy to assist her if only they knew? And yet we can go on forever, making assumptions about the sincerity of new parents to attend these shows, and wedding couples who are selfish. I’m sure there are plenty of examples where the wedding couple rose to the occasion to honour their guests.
And why is this still being posed as a “mom” thing? Why is this mom trying to figure out solutions amongst strangers (us) instead of seeking them WITH her husband? THIS is a PARENT thing. Both mom AND dad have a dilemma here, and both mom AND dad can see what they can do, together, to make this work, or to approach the wedding couple, TOGETHER, to let them know what THEY need or else THEY will, regrettably, have to stay home.
I look forward to the day when the revolutionary idea that childrearing is a JOINT venture is the norm. When a mom, any mom – married or single – doesn’t have to take on all childrearing decisions as if she’s alone. But, since I’ve been witness to these struggles and calls for change since the ’60s, I suspect I may never seen them come to fruition in my lifetime, especially given the tone of many of these comments, basing opinions only on the mom and her role in feeding her and her husband’s child. Sometimes I think cavemen were probably more enlightened than we are.
Conversely, it could also be said that the guest must contend with the consequences of refusing to get a sitter. If she truly wants to attend, then she can make arrangements , as the OP did.
The couple gets to decide who attends their wedding.
What if the guest cannot afford or find a suitable babysitter?
And no,the couple does not have carte blanche to decide who attends the wedding and who does not. You may love the wife of a couple and hate the husband but according to etiquette they are a social unit and both are to be invited. The couple does not get to decide to shun one and invite the other.http://www.etiquettehell.com/blog/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?comment_status=moderated#comments-form
And the invited doesn’t get carte blanche to change the invitation Admin. I think what is upsetting most commentors is your sudden about face on who can ask for additional invitations.
Etiquette wise, no, you shouldn’t invite one part of a social unit. But most don’t define mom and baby as a social unit. In fact, many women fight to not be defined as that. It turns us into nothing but mothers then. And how many invitations do we not get because someone doesn’t want baby to come along?
I think the other shocking thing is that you are saying the couple were rude to invite part of a social unit (still don’t agree with that, but moving on). You are then advising the OP to respond with rudeness by asking to bring more guests. Another big no-no that is suddenly OK now?
And? Ok. Not everyone comes to every event. That’s fine.
PJ, I’m with you. I had a child-free wedding and reception–my choice. My mother got mad because she couldn’t hold my five-month-old nephew during the reception (although my sister was okay with it). My BIL and SIL had a seven-month-old child as well; my SIL elected not to attend the wedding, and while I missed her, I was glad she had respected my wish not to have children there.
Honeybee, it is very presumptuous of you to state that couples who choose to have a child-free wedding–regardless of the age of the child–are selfish. I couldn’t have cared less about having a “perfect event” or whether the “cute” would distract from the bride (and what a mean-spirited thing to say, BTW). What I wanted to avoid was having a bunch of bored kids running around making noise and complaining. If that’s selfish then so be it.
I also had a child free wedding as did two of my kids. But a nursing infant can be carried from the room if fussy and there is no way a nursing infant is going to be “running around making noise”.
In my experience, parents who actually take a fussy baby outside, in any social situation, are the exception rather than the rule. Either the parents don’t seem to have the same definition of noisy as the other people in the room, or they simply decide that their need to see the whole ceremony, finish their restaurant meal, etc. I’ve been to a couple weddings where a baby cried or otherwise made noise throughout the ceremony. IMO babies at weddings are more disruptive than children who are old enough to behave appropriately.
OP, you seem like a thoughtful and considerate person, and I don’t think there would even be a need to ask the couple if you could step away to pump for half an hour. I think your food would be fine as long as you didn’t eat it in front of other people.
That should be “that their need to see the whole ceremony, finish their restaurant meal, etc. is more important than not annoying/disrupting people.”
And btw I do think the OP seems like one of those considerate people who would be the exception, but then you have the problem of other people being upset that they couldn’t bring their babies, or toddlers who are still being breastfed.
The problem that also arises with that though is other parents attending see this and it can lead to drama of the “I thought this was no kids! Why can’t I bring my babies/toddlers etc but she can bring hers”. Or people who live nearby seeing parents with babies and going home to get their own kids to bring since the other have kids there.
And like Lacey wisely said the amount of common sense parent who will actually leave the room with the fussy baby vs those who will stay is scary. A surprising amount will just stay sitting and let the baby wail away. We’d all like to think we have great common sense friends with manners who’d get up to leave the room but you’d be shocked by the people you think you knew who won’t. A crying baby can be very distracting especially during quiet times when everyone is listening to speeches by the family and wedding party.
Well, I am speaking from my experience–I was sick for the entire rest of the weekend because of attending that wedding when my firstborn was little. I was *just* beginning to start to feel better when it was possible to call and make an appointment with my doctor (I didn’t think it was ER worthy, and urgent care clinics weren’t as much of a thing as they are today). So yes, I *DO* think it is selfish of a couple to prioritize their “perfect event” over the *health* of an invited guest (who is told in no uncertain terms that declining is not an option). We didn’t even stay for the entire event because I was already becoming ill.
And when you spend years getting nasty comments about how you’d “refused” to attend a different family member’s wedding (by that time, it was twins who were my #3 and #4 children who were the exclusively nursing infants), it becomes clear that there are people who *are* selfish enough to prioritize their wedding over the *health* of another person, and *that* is what is mean-spirited.
If you choose to go that isn’t on the HC. It isn’t a matter of your life will end if you don’t go. If they stop talking to you because you opted to stay home with your newborn then you aren’t that close to begin with. Most decent people understand life happens. I would rather someone decline the invite rather than martyr themselves and go then bring up how it made them ill to be there and your children suffered. All that would do is annoy the snot out of me and cut them loose.
That honestly sounds like you had a family problem, not an etiquette problem. If you honestly felt that you couldn’t just tell them to go jump that’s far beyond the calling of mere etiquette.
Oh come on. No. That is a you problem not a couple problem. You needed to grow up grow a backbone and take care of your needs.
From what you said, your problem was with your Ex, who was the one insisting you attend, rather than take care of yourself and your baby. You now agree that given the same situation, you’d stay home, which is perfectly your right.
As another member so perfectly pointed out, the issue is whether or not you see a mother and EBF baby as an inseperable SOCIAL unit, or not. For me, I do not. I think that the parents in such a situation can 1. Decline the invite 2. Go for the ceremony or other short period 3. Attend and make arrangements -plan ahead – to handle baby/mom’s needs. (I once knew a bridesmaid who had baby and grandma stay upstairs at hotel, so she could sneak upstairs to brestfeed – her choice of arrangement, not the bride’s) .
You mean the happy couple right? Not just the bride.
I don’t see how anyone could do more to prepare than you have, OP, so call ahead for space, bring your snacks and take care of yourself! Your absence for a short break is easily explained, if the topic arises, and perhaps best not mentioned at all if it isn’t noticed.
I have to disagree with admin on this. Don’t ask to bring baby. They want a no kids wedding and you have already made arrangements for your children. This could start a slippery slope of other less considerate attendees requesting to bring older and older children.
Since this isn’t your wedding and you didnt indicate you are part of the wedding party, no one will notice your short absence. If this is a large church wedding they likely have a crying room you could use or you can use your car if you feel comfortable. This would be a great time to grab a quick snack. If anyone does notice I’m sure your husband will cover for you and can either tell the truth, which is a respectable reason, or bean dip!
I agree – the OP isn’t insisting on bringing her new baby and perhaps would like to enjoy the evening without worrying about the little one. It is likely that the newborn would be happier at home and not at a loud wedding. I see nothing wrong with a wedding sans kids. Sometimes it is not because you want a “Perfect event” but because it keeps costs down especially when some children have a bite of food and leave their plates and would need to leave early to make bedtime. My rehearsal dinner did not include kids – and I had a lot of young nephews and nieces – some parents chose to forego the event because of that but it was fine with us if that was the case. Of course, their children took priority over a dinner but we felt that some parents would like the chance at a nice night out and most took advantage of that.
I really don’t see there being any problem with bringing other snacks or leaving the party to take care of business. If asked be straight forward and say why. I don’t think anybody will take exception with it.
Yeah I feel like the real problem is that some people won’t see the difference between “nursing infant” and “rambunctious toddler” and make a fuss that they couldn’t bring Timmy and Tanya when someone ELSE was allowed to bring a baby!
My thoughts are similar. On the original question, I think OP is fine; has a good plan in place. No worries.
On the idea mom and baby should be always be considered a single unit – I don’t agree. The couple has defined their parameters. It’s difficult to then make exceptions, and up to them if they want to do so. What about the bottle-fed infant who only wants mom to hold and feed? What about the mom who chooses to breast feed until age child is 1 (or older). And then there are the other guests with babies/small children who see this ONE guest with an infant at a “no children” event. They don’t know the details but can feel treated unfairly.
I breastfed both my babies. It sometimes impacted invitations I accepted or declined. But having kids often impacted my social life. It is what it is.
Unless it is a really small wedding, I doubt anyone will notice that someone is gone for a half hour. If you need to leave when you are seated at a table with others a simple “please excuse me, I’ll be back in a little while”. Most will assume you are mingly and visiting with others.
I would not ask to bring the baby. It sounds like the OP has come up with a very suitable solution to allow her a day of celebration child free.
Aside from the etiquette of breastfeeding, which I’m not familiar with, I would always assume that, if a guest leaves the event for 10, 20, or 30 minutes, there is a good reason for it. I would avoid getting up during the vows, and sit somewhere where you can exit easily. During the reception most people are so busy eating and socializing that they aren’t keeping track of guests’ comings and goings.
As Admin says, put this question to the bridal couple. My daughter was still nursing every hour and a half to two hours at 14-15 weeks — we had a very rough first six months of nursing. I can’t imagine anyone refusing to let you pump or nurse, preferably nurse , for such a young infant. At that point with my daughter, I would have been lucky to have even managed getting to the wedding. As you can imagine, I wasn’t getting much sleep. OP, do what you have to do, and if they get upset at the thought of you disappearing to pump, or nursing the baby, then tell them you’ll have to stay home. No way would I risk getting a problem from becoming engorged.
Seeing as the OP has no problem not bringing her baby to the wedding (and could very well be looking forward to a baby free night out) I don’t see the point in asking people who have specifically requested there be no babies at their wedding if it would be alright to bring a baby to their wedding. The OP has stated they are very close; the happy couple must be aware that she has a 3 month old that she is nursing, and they’ve chosen to have a child free wedding, which is their prerogative seeing as they are the ones hosting the event.
Honestly, unless the OP is *in* the wedding party, or the wedding is very, very, small, I don’t think she needs to talk to the couple about it at all. I’m willing to bet they won’t even notice that she popped into a side room a few times throughout the day to pump.
I don’t think it’s rude at all, and I doubt anyone will raise a fuss or even notice. My husband was in a wedding party when my son was about the same age as OP’s, and the venue was actually quite gracious about finding me space to pump and a fridge to store the milk.
I agree with Admin. How do people rationalize separating a nursing mom from a newish baby just for the sake of a “perfect” event? And what has society come to that a lactating mom is inspired to feel badly about having to duck out of an event at regular intervals to take care of her breasts? Is the wedding couple going to forbid those with weak bladders, too, since they have a higher potential of frequent bathroom breaks?
My youngest nursed until he was 7 months old. He refused a bottle until that time, no matter how hard we tried. Any event I was invited to in that time period either he had to accompany me or I had to be away from him for less than 4 hours total. And – oh boy! – did I have problems around hour 2!! And then MAJOR continuing problems until baby and I were reunited. I would be disappearing into the bathroom frequently to express into the sink, since I was constantly engorged right to the end of those 7 months, and even then my blouse was probably wet. But that’s the reality for a lot of nursing moms. We, as a society, pretend to encourage moms to nurse but then we don’t want to give them the physical means to do so.
Somebody at that wedding ceremony is going to have an annoying cough, somebody else is going to sneeze, there will be wigglers, whisperers, people unwrapping candies, sniffling, getting up and leaving the room, entering late, you name it. A mom with a nursing baby? Hardly anything to notice.
There’s no such thing as a perfect wedding. Oh, wait, the royal weddings are perfect, I guess. They’re also incredibly boring and painful to watch.
My favorite wedding annoyance? I’m about to send the bride and her father down the aisle and some guest pops right in front of them to find a seat. After that happened a few times I now station a helper to run interference.
I wonder if rationalizing the separation of mom and baby comes from the US “maternity leave”… 2-6 weeks after birth and back to work? They can leave the kid for a few hours for my wedding!
It is actually sad to see.
As usual, you’re projecting a lot of motivations on the couple getting married that are just mean spirited speculations.
I have always declined invites to weddings and other events when my children were still nursing because I did not want to deal with the hassles that OP outlines. It sounds like OP has a good plan in place and nowhere do I see any breaches of etiquette. I think most couples who do not yet have children are not aware of the logistic problems that arise when one has a newborn. It is something they will learn in their own time, but it is understandable for now that they did not provide a “newborn exception” to their no kids rule. Although I agree with admin that mom and baby should be treated as a single unit, I personally would not ask if newborn could attend.
Wow! It looks there is a real divergence of personal views on the subject of nursing babies and weddings! For anyone whose attendance is “required”, then hosts need to defer to the judgement of their guests as to what constitutes acceptable accommodation. If a room to pump in is your preference, and you’re confident in your infant’s ability to take a bottle, perhaps an evening away would be very nice. If it’s your first use of a sitter and you’re not certain of how things will go, then perhaps bring your baby. It’s just not worth it to stress over the finer points of “etiquette legalities” and wind up lacking the things you need (peace of mind, freedom to choose as a woman and as a parent and overall comfort for you and the infant). I don’t know if there really is a significant difference between a very young infant and an infant some months older or even a toddler. Some people simply don’t wish to leave their children. It doesn’t give them carte blanche to “crash” every adults-only event, but I can’t imagine anyone reasonable really kicking up a fuss over such a proposed exception. One final option might be to bring your infant and locate that side space, but also bring a sitter. Perhaps even arrange for a room, if the venue has sleeping rooms or meeting rooms. That way, your infant is nearby and you are easily reached in case of difficulty, and if you choose to feed instead of merely pumping, you can do so while knowing that another person can “take over” for the other portions of the event. These options may incur more than incidental expense, but might be worth it to some for peace of mind.
I agree – I don’t understand Admin’s comment about bringing the baby. OP expressly stated she had no problem leaving the baby with her parents.
I disagree with admin!
No kids is no kids and the OP has organised care for her child and is not concerned with that so why suggest she try to bring her baby when it is in no way the issue.
I also disagree that you need to tell the bride and groom you will be disappearing. They are focusing on their big day there is no need to bother them with it. And it is absolutely ok and not rude for you to go and express and eat. If anyone asks you and your husband about it you can tell them then that you need to express and Any reasonable person will understand.
I’m aware that this wouldn’t work for everyone… I just got lucky. When I got married, I was fortunate to be married by the minister who married my parents and who christened me. He was retired but was able to perform the ceremony at any number of churches. One of my girlfriends was breastfeeding. Her baby would have been just over a month. I chose a church that was only a few blocks from her home. Her mom babysat and when she needed to leave to nurse… that’s exactly what she did and then she came back.
I do, however, agree that if OP has made arrangements that she’s comfortable with for her baby… I would leave it at that and not bring the baby to the wedding. I do understand Admin’s point of view… especially when babies are so young. But if you have a solution that works for you, go ahead and enjoy yourself. Leave when you need to to express when you need to. I agree with most posters… no one will notice.
The wedding really isn’t about BreastFeeding Mom, and she’s already made arrangements for the kids to be watched, just slipping off to relieve discomfort, and to munch on something to keep you perked up seems fine, I really don’t think you should march to the wedding couple and basically fish for permission to bring the baby.
Maybe you think it’s “selfish” or mean to not want kids at a wedding, but it’s not really about you, and you making this an issue, kinda does, and that’s not very kind now is it?
I agree with admin, I think it’s totally normal to see a breastfeeding baby and mum as a single unit (to me it makes much more sense than seeing an adult couple as a unit!) I also think that more and more people these days are not as connected with others and so they don’t see/understand that, and may need to have it bought to their attention (gently). If they still want to exclude breastfed babies that is totally their right but they will have to accept that may mean people can’t/won’t attend.
In this situation I’d say OP, if you want to take the baby to the wedding, then ask. If not, then I think it’s totally fine to slip out when required for pumping and snacks. This isn’t a royal audience; the wedding couple don’t need your constant attention 🙂
I’ve been to a “no kids” reception where somebody brought a nursing infant. It caused no end of hard feelings with other (unreasonable) guests who felt that if an exception could be made for somebody else, and exception should have been made for them. On the flip side, there were (also unreasonable) people who were mad at the guest because they assumed she had flaunted the rules and acted like a special snowflake, even though she’d okayed it with the bride. Of course, these are the types of people just looking for a reason to be upset, but still. The OP already made arrangements to leave baby behind, and it should be left at that.
I’m absolutely convinced that the happy couple will be too busy to notice one guest slipping out discretely, but it couldn’t hurt for the OP to give them a heads up.
Yes, this is an excellent point. When I married, I didn’t specify no kids, but I didn’t invite kids either. (no kids names on invites). I had one uncle who brought his two young girls regardless, and while they were perfectly behaved, I did hear grumbles from the other parents who had followed the proper “rules” about invitations and hadn’t brought their kids.
I can’t agree with the admin here.
If OP brings the baby, others might get offended that this baby was seemingly invited, but not their own child(ren). I foresee a lot of trash fires happening as a result of such a thing occurring.
If the guest needed to express, cool, ya gotta do what you got to do. No different than having to disappear to swap feminine supplies or check blood sugar or whatever other bodily need that requires addressing.
I think the op has a perfect plan and should stick to it. I also agree that not wanting to have kids at a wedding doesn’t make the bride and groom selfish. In fact, it could be the opposite. When my husband and I got married his mom asked us about the kid situation. At that time none of our close family and friends had little kids, but some of my husbands stepdads family did. My mil knew that if these particular family members came to the wedding, she would end up essentially baby sitting the kids, while their parents enjoyed the reception. She had zero interest in that, as she wanted to be able to enjoy the reception herself, so we agreed to a kid free wedding. She was so happy.
While the op may be a perfectly attentive mom who will hang on to her kid all night, that slippery slope that was mentioned could mean that someone else gets in with a kid, and that parent and kid combo could result in someone close to the bride and groom changing from a guest to a babysitter.
No. If children are not invited, this includes an infant. Infants can be disruptive during a ceremony, and there is nothing wrong NOR selfish with not wanting them present. I also had a guest try to bring an infant to our wedding, which caused another cousin to get upset because why weren’t HER children included if THEIR child was-
And no, putting the couple on the spot by asking to bring your infant is awful. They have enough to deal with, and probably have already been fielding calls from Person A, who wants to bring their “well-behaved” kids, and Person B, who wants to bring her best friend and her bf’s husband so she’ll have someone to talk to, and Person C, who wants to set up a spot in the other room to watch the game, and Person D, who wants to know if they can order a pizza, since they don’t like the wedding menu-
So no. No no no. Do not ask to bring the infant, and do NOT assume the nursing kid is included. The new mom is being awesome and considerate in how she’s handling it, and I can’t imagine it would be a problem to say to the HC that she may have to bring a snack/slip out to express milk. (That way, if the couple indeed is fine with her bringing her nursing infant, they can say so then… WITHOUT being put on the spot!)
OP, I think you are fine to do what you planned – go to another room to pump, if available, or out to your car to pump and grab a snack. If you are calling the venue anyway about the room, ask if they are OK with you bringing in some food to have in the room. That might be the only issue; the venue doesn’t allow outside food. In which case, the car is your best bet, if weather allows.
Admin, at what age should we then assume it’s okay to separate the “unit” of a Mom and nursing child? I know people who have breastfed their children to age 5. I assume you would at least put the line at “exclusively breastfed” but that seems problematic.
I don’t have any issue with asking if a breastfed baby is invited. But if an event is listed as childfree, I think it would be best to inquire as to whether they would like this social unit to attend or not before making any assumptions. It’s fine for people to have child free events. And it’s perfectly acceptable for people to decide they cannot, or will not attend a function due to it being child free. It seems in this case that it might be unclear, and so inquiring seems safe enough (if mom wants to bring the baby).
I know that one of my sister’s guests solved the issue by bringing her babysitter to the hotel. Baby was just upstairs, and Mom snuck off as needed. As a bonus, at the end of the event, the sober babysitter drove home, and the not entirely sober new parents had a night at a decent hotel. The next morning there were even a few volunteers to “kidnap” the baby, and they got to have a bit of a lie in.
The baby stays a “unit” with Mom during those first month when only breast milk is the main food. Once they are old enough to eat cereals, pureed baby foods, etc, that is the time when the baby is not entirely dependent on mom.
And I agree that hiring a babysitter and paying for a hotel room (assuming the wedding reception is in the same building) is a great solution.
I actually flew out to Colorado Springs to take care of my infant granddaughter so my breastfeeding daughter-in-law could attend a wedding with my son of their very close friend.
I dropped them off at the venue and took my granddaughter to the hotel room that my DIL got for me. I entertained her for about two hours and then she had had enough. I packed her into the car and we went back to the venue. She fell asleep in the car on the drive there and I sat in the car and let her nap for awhile before letting my DIL know that we were out in the parking lot.
At that point, the reception was wild enough that it was ok to bring a baby in.
My son and DIL had a great time at their friend’s wedding, I had a great time with my granddaughter and she got to make a cameo appearance so all of their friends could meet the new baby!
Generally, people are very understanding about a mother’s obligation to take care of her infant. What they don’t forgive is when one makes that obligation a problem for other people.
Whether it’s tending to an infant who is nearby or ducking out to express milk, it can be done unobtrusively. It’s really no one else’s business unless you make it theirs.
And no one has the right to tell you that you “must” be in a certain place at a certain time–like demanding that a nursing mother sit in the front pew or something like that just because she is family.
How far away will your parents be? Can you just pop in and nurse the kid?
At any rate, of course you can leave the reception for small amounts of time. If you feel like you need to give them a head’s up you can, but people often step outside to use facilities, smoke, take a breather whatever… I doubt they will notice
No kids means no kids. Besides why would you want to take such a young child to a big group of people and possible illnesses (if you are in America the flu this year is quite deadly, don’t put your kid in more risk than needed). Don’t be rude and bring a baby that is stated as not invited. It is quite likely that the bride and groom will be so busy they may not notice you disappear for a short time. If they do and ask then you or hubby can just tell them the truth. You needed a few minutes alone to pump. Normal people will understand.
Op here – yes I am looking forward to a child free night out. I am quite pleased as it’s only the second time I’ve had the opportunity to be away from my children and I think I deserve a break!
I’m in the uk so still on maternity leave – my baby is taking bottles because of the struggles I had feeding my first. I already knew I was going to have problems so I skirted them before they began.
It is a very small wedding – less than 40 people are attending.
I have called the venue who luckily have a room designed and designated for nursing and pumping mothers.
My parents will have both children less than 40 mins away from the venue.
I have a 3 year old too – I would not dream of asking to bring one child without the other.
That sounds great OP! I had a very small wedding of about 36 and I still didn’t notice guests dipping in and out. I think your plan is good and only a really unreasonable person would have an issue with it. So really I think you do you and it should all be fine. And if not, well you know who your true friends are.
IMHO, allowing breast-feeding infants at a child-free wedding can only lead to more complications. First of all, it is unfair (and cruel to the mother) to only allow a 2-month old (for example) who is breastfeeding, but not a 2-month old whose mother is unable to breastfeed him/her. And if you allow any infant below a few months old, where do you draw the line, and what would be your logic behind it? The best would be if the new mother doesn’t go if the baby can’t be left with a baby-sitter. No one is forced to go, and a new baby is a great excuse, just like a lot of other excuses.
And there are new mothers, like the OP, who would actually look for the break! And in that case, OP, disappearing to express should be a non-issue/
I can understand the thought that a mom and a breastfeeding child should be considered a social unit. In the very least, if you are inviting mom, then you should be ready to make certain accommodations. If you cannot offer what is needed to assist with mom’s needs, then you need to accept that mom may not be able to attend. (This site has taught me that an invitation is not a summons; no matter how close the relationship.)
However, it sounds like the OP has this figured out and is comfortable with leaving the baby with grandma. If insisting that my attendance also means baby’s attendance is acceptable, then I imagine leaving baby behind with the proper care is, too. I think we can focus on the OP’s needs around this decision.
I would probably not bother the HC or hosts in this situation (unless necessary). I imagine this is not the first time this venue has had a similar requests and may even have a set-up ready to go. I would probably phone them first. Since it sounds like using the car is an option, than that would be my secondary plan. If neither of those would work, then I might bring the HC into this discussion before the wedding.
As far as concerns of disappearing, I would not be. Unless this is a tiny wedding, my absence has never been noted. I have had to step out to take a call, take a smoke break (ok, not me, but I see others), get some fresh air, run to my car to grab the gift that I forget, or avoid the bouquet toss. I don’t think it unusual and would actually find it rude if anyone was calculating the amount of time that I excused myself to take care of me. If the OP needs to step out to the car for a snack, I see no harm in that. I imagine someone with other medical needs may do the same.
Sounds to me like the OP has a sensible solution that she’s satisfied with and no, I don’t think it’s impolite to excuse yourself for a 20 minute break here and there to express. Ask a woman whom you know is a nursing mother to be in the wedding party and that’s gonna be the deal.
I knew of one bridesmaid who booked a room in the hotel where the wedding was held and brought her mom and baby along- mom looked after the baby in the room during the reception and the BM excused herself now and then retire to the room and nurse. I would consider something like a reasonable solution as well.
It’s getting to the point that hosts/hostesses need to send out questionnaires with their invitations. What are your food and other allergies? Are you a vegetarian/vegan? Are you breastfeeding? Are you bottle feeding? How old is your infant? On and on we go. If you can’t or don’t want to eat something on your plate, don’t eat it. If you’re allergic to flowers, don’t sit near the flowers. If it’s not going to work for you to leave your breast/bottle fed child at home with a babysitter, graciously decline the invitation. It’s as simple as that.
Hi op here. Quick update: wedding was lovely and went swimmingly.
After consulting with the hotel the week beforehand and triple checking they were cool with me expressing I showed up and suddenly it was like I’d asked for the earth.
They first tried to ask me to express in the disabled toilet. Which I vetoed, not just because it’s unsanitary and frankly disgusting to be effectively preparing food in a toilet, but also because there were no electrical outlets.
I did eventually get redirected to the hotels seldom used drawing room. Which was in a shocking state of untidiness and hadn’t actually been cleaned since the group had been there that morning. But at least I was given a space and the bridal couple did ask a few times where I had gone. My husband informed them that I was “taking care of the baby’s needs” and that was enough to satisfy. (It might be noted they had drank just enough to repeat the question a few times but when it had gone in, they were cool about me vanishing)