A blog by Dr Lin Day



From pregnancy to parenting - why weddings are never the same again

I love weddings – from the excitement waiting for the bride to arrive right through to the last tune at the end of the night, sung like an anthem by the tipsy guests encircling the happy couple. But it all changed once I got pregnant.

While I still look forward to the next nuptial when I can raise my glass to happy newlyweds and wipe a tear after the father-of-the-bride’s speech, I know deep down that weddings won’t be the same for a long, long time.


No booze rules

I didn’t have any weddings to go to while I was expecting *Moo, which was a good thing really as being pregnant at a wedding really doesn’t sound like my cup of tea.

Firstly, where’s the fun in swapping a glass of fizz for an orange juice, or toasting the couple with a plain old glass of water? 

And when everyone else is crooning to Unchained Melody or rocking their air guitars to Don’t Stop Believing, I’m sure to the sober pregnant lady in the corner, they (*we*) just look plain silly. I never want to see this from her perspective, as looking silly (particularly when piling on costumes in a photobooth) is exactly what I love about weddings.

To be honest, even after the baby’s born, if you’re breastfeeding, you still can’t drink much!

 

Pumping away

This brings me on to just one of the struggles of attending a wedding when you’ve got a young baby – the constant pumping game. Now, I don’t want to sound bitter as I know I was very fortunate in being able to breastfeed when many other mums haven’t been able to.

However, for all those ladies who have suffered with painful, leaking, engorged boobs when they’ve gone just a few hours without feeding their baby, I know exactly how you feel.

When we left Moo at six months old for a wedding one weekend, I expressed 108 ounces of milk – that’s over three litres!

This also meant I had to pump the equivalent amount of breast milk in the months leading up to the wedding, so my mother had enough to give her in our absence. Talk about feeling like a cow…

And for anyone who hasn’t tried, pumping isn’t actually the easiest thing to do. It can take over an hour to empty both breasts, which meant I missed out on so much of the wedding, including the arrival of the bride and groom, the beginning of the first dance and, really disappointingly, all the delicious canapés.

What’s more, my poor, loving husband had to deliver filled breast milk bags to reception after every pump so they could store it in their fridge. Not the glamorous days of weddings that we remember!

 

Breastfeeding at a wedding

The alternative is to bring your baby with you – which I also have experience of. The one thing that was really difficult was finding somewhere to feed Moo every three hours. I was quite happy to breastfeed under my tried and trusted bib, but you still need somewhere to sit and sprawl your belongings out.

When everyone’s chatting away standing on the lawn in their heels sipping Bellinis, this isn’t really the best environment for feeding a child, especially one that keeps trying to whip the bib away from her face to see what’s going on.

Instead, the only place I could find that was easiest for both of us to feed was the Ladies, and even then there were no seats, so I just walked around the room carrying her as she happily suckled away.

The stress didn’t end there though as, unfortunately, I forgot to put my breast pads in, so one side of my pretty dress got completely soaked in milk while she enjoyed her afternoon snack. Nice.


Looking after a toddler

As babies get older, at least you don’t have to worry about feeding. However, that’s when you have to look after a toddler who’s running around, smushing food into their beautiful cream satin dress, and has the potential to throw a tantrum AT ANY MINUTE!

Even when you come prepared for all eventualities, it’s never easy to enjoy yourself when your mind is focused on your little one.

And at the last wedding we went to, I could be seen (and photographed) crawling on the dining room floor chasing my 18-month-old who thought it would be hilarious to go AWOL during the speeches.

Incidentally, she ended up playing hide and seek behind the top table throughout the father-of-the-bride’s emotional dialogue, which she obviously thought was hysterical. I’m somewhat used to the playful tendencies of a toddler and the unglamorous acts of motherhood now, but who knows what the other guests made of her mid-afternoon game?

It was only when we dropped her off at home with a babysitter and headed back for the evening do that we finally got to relax, and enjoy a stress-free glass of fizz.

So whether you’re chasing your little ones on your hands and knees, trying to get humus out of your hair, wishing you had had time to do your make-up properly, or hiding the powdery-white stain of milk from your dress, that’s when you’ll realise weddings aren’t what they used to be.

 

My advice? Give yourself a childfree night and get a babysitter! And try to forget about the impending 6am rise…

 

*Moo is an affectionate nickname for our beautiful little daughter. Obviousl

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