New mom of 5-month-old who wants to bring nursing baby to child-free wedding shamed for ‘entitled’

Gillian Sisley

A recent Mumsnet post has sparked a debate over whether a nursing mother should attend a child-free wedding with her five-month-old baby.

*This is a work of non-fiction sourced from social media discussion boards and verified experts/specialists.*

The mother, who was recently invited to a wedding, expressed her concern over how to manage a full day away from her baby and worries about the effect of not being able to feed her baby for the day, as well as having to pump in a less-than-ideal environment. She explains:

“He will take a bottle but only VERY rarely and definitely prefers [nursing directly from me]. I also have a big oversupply so I’m worried about the impact of not being able to feed him for a full day, I'm not sure how much of the day I'd have to miss pumping and as there's no accommodation at the venue.”

This debate illustrates the difficult dilemma that many nursing mothers face when it comes to attending social events. As detailed by Maternity Action, while some may feel more comfortable taking their baby with them, others may prefer to leave their baby with a trusted caretaker in order to fully participate in the event. And in terms of child-free weddings, it’s worth considering why a couple has chosen not to have babies at the wedding, and then weigh that against one’s own situation, as touched on by the popular online blog Today’s Parent.

The mother also noted that while she understands why people wouldn't want babies at a wedding, she had made an exception for nursing babies when she got married. She continues:

“So I fully understand why people don't want babies at a wedding when they've paid for videographer etc and they're taking a seat at the table and space is precious. We did make an exception for any [nursing] babies as I had a number of friends at the time who wouldn't have felt able to come otherwise.”

This led to the question of whether it would be unreasonable to ask the couple if they'd allow a nursing baby, or if the only option was to decline the invite. She concludes:

“Would it be unreasonable to ask the couple if they'd allow a nursing baby? It's not in a hotel where a grandparent could have baby nearby etc or I'd have arranged that and just nipped out to feed. If they decline (which is their choice - it’s their wedding) is my other option to decline the invite or what alternative would you suggest?”

The post received a mix of responses, with some people suggesting that the mother should use the situation as an opportunity to introduce her baby to a bottle, while others suggested that the mother could hear the couple out before making a decision. One user wrote:

"If you're okay with the possibility of being denied, then I would go ahead and ask the couple if they would be okay with you bringing the baby. If they say no, you could always decline the invitation if you don't feel comfortable putting your baby in a situation you're not comfortable with."

Another user disagreed, saying:

"It would be incredibly rude to ask the couple if your baby can come. You can't expect them to change their plans to accommodate a five-month-old baby."

What do you think?

Is the author justified in asking if she can have an exception to bring her baby to a child-free wedding, since she’s still nursing?

Or would it be wrong for her to expect to receive special treatment, and if she’s not comfortable with leaving her child behind, she should politely decline the invite?

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