It is MID-JUNE, which means wedding season is in FULL SWING, y’all. Plus, COVID restrictions “fully” lifted in California yesterday and I know our social calendars are getting a little back to normal. I know mine definitely is - I am so excited to be maid of honor for one of my college besties next week! After her wedding was postponed last June due to COVID, I am BURSTING to finally get this girl down the aisle to the wedding of her dreams. With that in mind, I’ve been reminiscing on the MANY weddings I attended while I was on maternity leave and breastfeeding. I attended both as a bridesmaid and as a guest, and neither make for an easy time to get pumping, but, with how many weddings I went to while pumping, I got pretty darn good at it! If you are about to embark on or are in the thick of wedding season like I am, use this guide to help you pump as easily as possible at the next wedding you attend!
- Research the venue: See if there will be a place that you can pump! If so, great! One thing less to worry about. I went to a wedding that had separate powder rooms and places for the wedding party to get ready in that I could go pump in. But I also was a bridesmaid in a wedding where there were NO other rooms other than the barn where the reception was taking place, including no restrooms. The variety of venues out there is so vast, so make sure you plan ahead so you can make arrangements and feel prepared. If you can avoid pumping in a bathroom, I would highly advise against it - I had a completely traumatizing wedding bathroom pumping experience. There was a 2-stall bathroom at this one particular wedding I attended. While I was pumping in one stall, another guest was using the stall next to me and was taking a very long, loud, and possibly sickly #2. I was half naked while pumping in the bathroom stall because of the type of dress I was wearing, and I was trapped. Later that evening, when I had to pump again, a guest was throwing up in the bathroom sink because both stalls were occupied. Someone partied a little too hard at the open bar. Either way…though I never want to waste a drop of liquid gold, I very sadly tossed both those pumps because they just felt really unsanitary to me. That may have been a mental thing, but I just couldn’t keep it.
- Make a schedule: You’ll need to pump around the times baby would be eating, but it’s okay to tweak your schedule just a bit to account for things like the ceremony itself. If you’re part of the wedding party, just make sure the bride (or, better yet, her wedding coordinator) knows that you’ll need to pump around specific timeframes. For example, when I was a bridesmaid for one of my best childhood friends, I needed to pump while we were taking photos. I was able to sneak away while the photographer was focusing on the groomsmen – no one wants to leak in their bridesmaid dress, am I right?!
- Pack properly: If you haven’t already gotten my exact pump bag checklist, grab it here! I have a really old Louis Vuitton Neverfull Tote that became my wedding pump bag so I felt a little more elevated and didn’t feel so mom-like. But using your regular pump bag is totally fine too! One recommendation from a lot of my pumping mom friends is to use a manual pump rather than electric. I always preferred the speed and being able to double pump with my electric. I have a Spectra S1, so it has a rechargeable battery, which made it really easy to bring anywhere. I just made sure it was fully charged before the start of the day. I also set up all my pump parts in advance so I don’t have to waste time taking things out and setting up – who wants to waste a minute of fun wedding time?!
- Store your milk: Some venues will have refrigerators where you will be able to store your milk (another question to ask the venue about ahead of time!) If the venue takes place in the hotel where you are staying, then you could possibly just run up to your room to pump and store your milk in the fridge in your room. If neither of those are your specific situation, just bring a small cooler bag with your most trustworthy ice packs! I stored my pump bag and cooler bag under the table at the reception and it always worked out well.
- HAVE FUN: Nursing and pumping is hard work. Take advantage of this night, most likely away from baby, to have SO MUCH FUN and relax a bit. You deserve it.
P.S. I will be busy with lots of wedding festivities next week so there will be no blog post next Wednesday, June 23! Stay tuned for the next post the following week!
Photo credit: Emily Jenks Photography