It’s that time again, my monthly feature ‘Who’s the Daddy’, shining a light on the very best Daddy bloggers in the UK and heck, even the world! I’ve been literally overwhelmed by the number of bloggers who have contacted me to be featured, and I can’t wait to keep sharing more of a male’s perspective on the blog.
Here, check out the brilliantly funny Dave of DADventurer‘s post on wedding tips with a baby-
Cowboys and Indians. Stones and glass houses. Drinking and driving. Electricity and water. Babies and weddings.
What do these five pairs of things all have in common? No, they aren’t presents that I’m asking the missus to get me for my birthday – although having my own cowboy would be pretty cool – but in fact things that result in disastrous consequences should they ever mix.
With this in mind, I felt like a rabbit in the headlights when I realised that we had to go to a friend’s wedding with our five month old daughter. What’s more, the missus was on bridesmaid duties, meaning that there would be plenty of occasions at the wedding when I’d be left to solely hold the baby – both physically and metaphorically.
I’m pretty confident when it comes to looking after the little one, however I’m happy to admit that sometimes panic washes over me when we are alone, particularly when in public. I’m in a massively fortunate position as I’ve been with Baby L pretty much every minute of every day since she disembarked the mothership last August, however that doesn’t mean I sometimes don’t feel overwhelmed – especially if people are watching and judging my fatherhood performance. Nobody likes to be watched whilst they perform, right?!
The last thing I wanted was to be ‘that parent’ incapable of looking after ‘that baby’ at the wedding. You know the one I’m taking about – the uncontrollable crying which drowns out the vows, the massive poonami which puts everyone off their salmon starter or the projectile vomit which adorns the bridesmaid’s dress. Weddings are filled with traditions which dictate what you should wear, what you should say and how you should act – therefore introducing a little bundle of joy into a situation such as this can open up an entire Pandora’s Box of uncertainty and evil.
My first thought was to not take the baby with us so that I could avoid this potential embarrassment. However, I’d heard that it is ‘frowned upon’ to leave your baby at home, in the car or at the venue reception, so the threat of Social Security soon scuppered those flawless plans. Instead, I sucked it up, put on my suit, loaded my pockets with baby paraphernalia and stepped into the abyss, ready to tackle any challenge that Baby L threw at me…
Luckily, the little one was pretty well behaved throughout the entire wedding, but I like to think that my careful planning and rigorous preparation were vital for securing a successful outcome. I therefore wanted to share with you five of my very best tips as to how you can successfully survive a wedding when you are alone with a baby:
Make Your Baby As Cute As You Can
It’s a well-known fact that the cuter you are the more you can get away with*. We all think that we’ve got a cute kid, but let’s face facts, not every baby can be cute as there are some pretty ugly adults in the world.
So, if you’re expecting your baby to cause a bit of angst to others, it makes total sense to get out their nicest clothes, slap on the lipstick, turn on the hair straighteners and pop a bow on their head. Do what you can to emphasise the good points and hide the bad – I find a balaclava or Halloween mask works well.
You may also choose to befriend a parent with an uglier baby than yours, that way, the other guests at the wedding will automatically take a dislike to that kid, even if yours is slightly more trouble. I’m pretty sure that’s what Darwinism is based upon.
Palm Your Baby Off On Other Guests
Everyone (OK, most people) loves a baby, particularly if you have followed my advice from point one. This means that other people are likely to want to look, interact and hold the fruit of your loins. Use this to your advantage, particularly if the baby is playing up.
As parents, we tend to recognise the signs of our little one(s) getting grumpy, be it them needing a nap, a feed or a change. With that in mind, keep an eye out for any of the usual signs, then quickly hand your baby to another guest at the wedding and get the hell out of there.
If the baby starts crying, then it is no longer your responsibility but the problem of the person left holding the baby. If the baby craps themselves, then it is for their new carer to deal with whilst you grab a cold pint from the bar.
Should you be discovered and have your baby attempted to be given back to you, just delve into your childhood lingo – phrases such as “no backsies” and “whoever smelt it dealt it” will ensure that you can drink your pint in peace.
Locate The Nearest Plug Sockets
This is probably the best bit of advice I have ever given. You. Are. Welcome.
When you have a baby at a wedding, make sure you identify where the nearest plug sockets are and situate yourself close to them. In a world where most things run off electricity or require charging, those little outlets in the wall will become your best friend.
This is not just a selfish bit of advice coming from a dad blogger wondering how the hell he is supposed to Instagram a photo of his baby or tweet about the snow if he has no means of getting on the internet due to a dead battery. This is also advice which is awesome when you have a baby. You can use the plug socket for loads of stuff to make your life easier – sterilise feeding equipment, warm bottled milk or power up your 42″ TV to keep them entertained.
I’d suggest getting your hands on the building plans prior to the wedding so that you can carefully plan in advance – take a leaf out of any bank robber’s book. Also, keep an eye out for any other parents looking to steal your plug sockets – it’s a dog eat dog world out there and sometimes you’ll have to do a few underhand things in order to mark your territory. How underhand is your choice.
Come Up With Innovative Storage Solutions
Babies come with a lot of crap – and I’m not just talking literally. If you go out with a little one for any length of time, then you need to ensure that you have everything you ever need in case of every eventuality. Usually, you can load up the car or a changing bag with all of the stuff you need, however it’s not quite the same at a wedding. A flowery changing bag clashing with your suit isn’t the greatest of looks when you’re a dad with a baby.
Instead, you have to get a bit more creative with how you store stuff. That is where you can lean on the skills you learnt playing Buckaroo as a kid. By turning yourself into a human mule, you are able to affix, hold and insert everything you need to look after the little one.
I won’t restrict your creativity by defining what and where you should put things, but a few ideas I found useful included – the extra pockets in your suit jacket and on your shirt are perfect for a packet of wet wipes and nappies, the tops of your socks are perfect for tucking in a bottle or two, a spare baby grow can be tucked down your trousers, and you can hold a spare dummy in your own mouth.
It is also possible to retain the use of two hands by combining a top hat with a beer hat to ensure you can still have a drink whilst remaining fashionable and useful.
Get Your Baby To Sleep
After being a dad for six months, I can confidently say that the only time a baby is a pleasure to be around is when they are asleep. A sleeping baby means no crying, no babbling and no need to entertain – basically, it means no problems.
It is therefore sensible to consider doing what you can to get your baby to sleep during a wedding. They don’t need to sleep for the entire of the day, just at the parts which are most likely to cause stress. That usually means when things are quiet, romantic or emotional – as an example, it is best for your little one to sleep during the ceremony or the speeches, but absolutely fine for them to be awake during the reception drinks or evening entertainment.
In order to give yourself the best chance to get your little one to sleep, you need to have a few essentials with you. This includes somewhere for them to sleep (e.g. a pushchair or your arms), something to block out distractions (e.g. a large muslin cloth), a dummy, white noise, a comforter and a full tummy. If, and only if, this doesn’t work, you could consider a shot of whisky or chloroform, which are both natural and organic baby sleep aids – at least that’s what my parents used to say to me…
That’s my five most useful and important tips for surviving a wedding with a baby. I have plenty more up my sleeve (along with several baby-related items) but I don’t want to inundate you with too many brilliant ideas all at once.
Have you experienced the joys of attending a wedding with a sprog? If so, how did you manage to survive it? Let me know below!
* Based on a poll I just conducted with everyone currently in my living room, i.e. me and the dog.