• Mon, Dec 16 - 3:30 pm ET

Breastfeeding Maid Of Honor Should Just Cover Up Already

135608623I breastfeed. I’m pro-breastfeeding. I think women should breastfeed whenever and wherever they need to. That said, if you are in a wedding party, and the bride’s family is very conservative – plan on covering up while you nurse. Is that such a big deal?

Here’s how one wedding planner describes a few situations she’s dealt with recently:

How do you tell your best friend and maid of honor, nicely, that she needs to keep her boobs put away and skip the public breastfeeding during your wedding weekend??? OMG!

The bride says it never occurred to her that it would be a problem with her very Christian family in attendance until they were out to dinner in an ethnic restaurant with friends last week and her MoH yanked out a boob and stuck it in the kid’s mouth… nothing over her. No shawl, no burp cloth, no baby blanket. All flesh and lots of it… My bride is flipping because she has a rather conservative family — they’re Puerto Rican and Catholic and she’s fairly certain her grandmother will have a heart attack at the first appearance of the nipple.

First of all – breastfeeding is not a big deal. We all know it. But if this bride is close enough to this person to have her in the wedding party, she should be close enough to describe her dilemma. It’s annoying and awkward, but any sensible person would be willing to cover up to keep a bride’s extended family comfortable at a wedding, wouldn’t she?

I’m comfortable whipping out my boob anywhere too – but I can confidently assert it is not hard to cover up. I can never understand women who claim that it is. In most instances, I would just say, get over it! but I don’t think a bride should have to deal with any additional drama on the day of her wedding. There’s usually enough going on between the families.

If you are in someone’s wedding and they explain to you – Hey, I know it’s ridiculous but my family is very conservative and you will become tantamount to a sideshow if you whip out your boob at dinner – just listen to her and do what makes her comfortable. It may be an inconvenience to you, but it’s your friend’s wedding day. She’s not asking you not to feed your child. Be reasonable. Also, if you are a bride dealing with this – just talk to your friend. Don’t assume someone is going to freak out before a conversation has even been had.

(photo: Getty Images)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • Mel

    I think women should be able to go topless anywhere men do. But, to me, it’s not sexist or offensive or anti-breastfeeding to ask people to remain covered at your dinner party!

  • SusannahJoy

    Yeah that’s a little weird that she’s close enough to her best friend to ask her to be her MoH, but not enough to just, you know, talk to her?

    • ted3553

      or that her friend might not have thought hey you know XXXXs family is really conservative, so maybe i’ll just leave the room or throw something over me while I feed the baby. sounds like an awkward friendship to me

    • DatNanny

      That’s the weird part to me too. ‘Hey, my conservative family will freak out about seeing some boob. It’s great you’re breastfeeding, but remember not to whip it out in front of them, I don’t want you to deal with the hassle.’

      If she’s not comfortable saying that to her best friend, or her best friend is going to be SO OFFENDED at the suggestion… doesn’t really sound like they’re friends.

  • Iwill Findu

    As for the whole breastfeeding MoH well I don’t know about other people
    but I would be asking my breastfeeding MoH to start pumping so she
    could leave the baby at home. Being a MoH is a lot of work and the
    wedding day is crazy busy lets not add to the mayhem by trying to work
    around a feeding schedule and a baby. And this is coming from a nursing mom.

  • SA

    I’ve been to and in several weddings where a bridesmaid was nursing. They stepped off to the side or did it discreetly. I don’t think she should have to leave the table like the ones I knew did, but she could be discreet. It may not even be an issue, she might already be planning to behave differently at the wedding that a casual dinner with friends. Maybe she could just ask her friend how she plans on handling the feedings during the main events and take it from there.

    • Iwill Findu

      Maybe I’m an oddball but I really don’t think nursing covers are all that discreet. Don’t get me wrong I use them when I’m out and about but I feel like it’s a neon sign saying guess what’s going on here. Plus they tend to be kinda ugly how would you work an ugly nursing cover into a (fingers crossed) pretty bridesmaids dress/ formal setting?

    • Edify

      If looks matter, maybe they could just buy a shawl that suits the dress

  • Harriet Meadow

    My baby will NOT nurse under a cover, so the whole “I don’t understand women who say covering up is hard” thing sounds a little weird to me. However, if I were going to be in a wedding (as, in fact, I was when my son was not yet three months old), I would pump some breast milk and have my husband feed him while the wedding was happening (as, in fact, I did) just so I could stay focused on my bridesmaidly duties. And if my son didn’t take a bottle, I would opt out of being a bridesmaid.

    • Edify

      Totally get you. My first baby just would not let me cover. I wanted some discretion and she wanted to see the world go by so she would push off any cover I tried to use. I could only rely on the clothes I was wearing to try screen with. When you have big boobs to contend with, that’s also tricky sometimes because a lot of boob has to be moved and positioned to get to nipple and not suffocate the baby.
      My son, he takes feeding very seriously and now I understand why people think covering up is easy.

    • AugustW

      If your child won’t take to being covered, going somewhere more private than the dinner table seems reasonable.
      I’ve been told that I wouldn’t let my mom cover me, but I also doubt she would just whip it out at a restaurant either.

  • Janok Place

    Well I know some mom’s are super duper defensive about their right to breastfeed whenever, wherever and however they choose. I get that. I can see a bride who maybe isn’t a mother yet, maybe not familiar with what having a new born is like, maybe just under a lot of stress, being worried about causing issues with anyone. Hopefully her friend takes it gracefully. I don’t think I could or would in good conscious whip my boob out, nipple and all in front of my own grandmother. Remember, many of the elderly are from the generation where bottle was best. My grandmother bottle fed her children, they turned out perfectly fine. It’s difficult to explain to her why I would choose to breastfeed… Mine is accepting, she figures it’s my natural aversion to having to wash dishes ;)

    • darras

      haha! My choice to breastfeed was definitely in part (a large part) due to my natural aversion to having to wash/sterilise EVEN MORE THINGS! Laziness ftw – it helps that my baby is also getting tasty tasty breastmilk. But you know.. all the washing!

    • Janok Place

      I just can’t imagine crawling out of bed, stumbling down stairs, finding a sterilized thing, making it the right consistency and temperature…. all half asleep with a screaming baby. Oy. I’m not organized enough to do anything but breast feed.

  • keelhaulrose

    If the bride could, I would think it would be best to offer the bridesmaid a non-humiliating or disgusting solution. Does the church and/or reception area have a ‘brides room’ or a private room where the bridesmaid could nurse in quiet and private? Offer to set her up in that room, maybe recruit a couple friends who would be happy to sit in there with her to talk, offer to bring a CD player for quiet music or something.

    I don’t think this should be an embarrassing conversation. Most BFing moms are not out to make other people uncomfortable or to draw attention away from a friend on their wedding day.

  • alexandra

    if they’re that conservative and catholic maybe they would be happy she’s breastfeeding? idk…

    • Natasha B

      Riiight? Like, my MIL is an ethnic catholic, and she thinks it’s the best thing ever when I BF. She’s all good job, my grand baby’s perfect, do what you gotta do giiiirl

  • Rachel Sea

    If kids are going to be at the wedding, then the bride should arrange a spot at the venue for babies to be fed, out of sight of the festivities.

    • Leah

      The original article says this is a no-kids wedding but the MOH is bringing the kid anyways.

    • Bunny Lucia

      That’s just asking for trouble from the begining

    • Rachel Sea

      Sounds like this is a bigger issue than stray nipples.

  • The Kez

    You don’t understand why covering up is hard? I live in Queensland, Australia and it is going to be 37 degrees today (celsius – about 100 farenheit). I am always discrete when I nurse but there is no way I am going to make settling and nursing a sweaty infant even more difficult by insisting she be covered up with a blanket!

    • Edify

      True that. Hot and humid. Not pleasant for feeding

    • helloshannon

      my son never would nurse under a cover. i love when people act like they are the ultimate solution…

    • Gangle

      I am in the same heat as you, but I still get it. Perhaps if the MoH’s baby didn’t allow a cover or cloth, or it was too damned hot, then she may have considered declining to be MoH? I am all for breastfeeding, and I don’t care who flops out what.. hell, get around nude for all I care. But it isn’t rude or unreasonable for someone to ask you to cover up and be discreet at their dinner party.

  • elle

    Seriously this woman already ignored the wishes of the bride to keep the wedding. While we could definitely get into a debate about why the MOH didn’t drop out/the bride didn’t ask her to step down neither of these things happened, the baby is coming. Since the bride is very graciously letting the MOH bring her baby so I think the MOH needs to also graciously do as the bride wishes for just one day. Normally I hate people I feel are getting super bridezilla but this is definitely not the case in this situation.

    • elle

      To keep the wedding childfree. Whoopsie left out a key word there.

    • helloshannon

      but it sounds like the MOH is traveling a great distance. I don’t think it is right to expect her to travel without her child. and i don’t think the bride is doing anything graciously… she is doing it regretfully.

  • Kelly

    I’m so glad I have friends who care about me enough to not make an event like my wedding their place to get out their soapbox and take a stand on whatever issues they’re passionate about.

  • helloshannon

    the bride should be able to talk to her friend and if she can’t then she obviously made a very poor choice of MOH. What gets me is the original post. that wedding planner is a mega bitch. there is a way to ask the question without passing judgement on the MOH for nursing her child. it is very clear how she feels and she is down right nasty about it. sorry but if the woman is traveling to PR for a wedding, she should not be expected to leave her baby at home. instead the planner bitches and moans that the MOH insists on “dragging her rugrat everywhere”. um, it is hardly down the street from how it sounds. that is SO selfish.

    • elle

      You’re right! I totally missed that party first time reading (skimming) the original article. So I guess since I can’t edit my comment I would say maybe the bride could set up a private nook for the MOH? That may be the only solution….

    • helloshannon

      I think that would be fair and if it were me I wouldn’t mind sneaking off to nurse privately.

    • Iwill Findu

      yeah I just re-read the whole article, why would you expect your friend to leave their young baby and travel for your wedding, and then bitch when they bring their kid but don’t dump them with unknown child care. All parties involved kinda sound like jerks. The bride, the wedding planer and the MoH all sound like they deserve each other.

  • darras

    Geeze you know.. I agree with you all that just talking to the MoH should not be a big deal! Most nursing mothers will understand. An old friend of mine got married in september and I ended up not going. She made a HUGE deal out of it, I told her first out of anybody when I got pregnant because she’d already invited me to her wedding. I wanted to make sure she’d be ok with having a 6-8 week old baby there, she said she was.

    Of course.. when I asked her in July about close hotels to the venue so that we could leave easily if my son got cranky she suddenly announced her wedding would be child free (this is AFTER I’d booked plane flights typically..) and asked if I couldn’t just leave my baby with my mother for the weekend. My mother who lives 2 hours away from the venue, is 67 and not lactating. I said I wasn’t willing to leave my baby and tried to be gentle (and non agressive!) about not coming to the wedding if she’d like it to be child free. She flipped out, hasn’t really spoken to me since – even harped on to my brother about how much of a female dog I’d been about the whole thing O.o *sigh*

    Some brides just go through an attack of the crazy and her friends just have to learn to deal with it until after the wedding. No big, just communicate people!

    • EX

      That’s ridiculous. My wedding was child free but I only had one friend who had a young infant who was invited (the rest had older kids). I told her that she could, of course, bring the baby (she was traveling from the opposite coast and was still nursing, so – duh). She did bring the baby to the ceremony but then left him with a babysitter at the hotel. I wouldn’t have minded at all if he’s been at the reception but I was glad, for her, that she was able to really relax and enjoy herself at the wedding. Of course, it was made easier by the fact that the reception was basically at the hotel.

    • helloshannon

      When she has a baby she is going to act like she was the only one to ever do it I bet. I hate stupid bridezillas who act like their wedding is the be all end all and then they tend to act like that about everything else. It will come back to her when she has a baby-trust.

  • Athena A

    This can so easily be resolved. I get that some people are really prudish about seeing a boob in public, and you don’t want to cause a scene at your wedding, so it’s understandable that the bride is slightly freaking out. But jeesh, is her MoH so easily offended that she can’t explain and ask her to maybe breastfeed in a more private area or pump if that’s at all possible, or just cover up slightly if the baby allows it. There are several options. Wedding venues are generally quite large, surely there’s an area away from the crowd where she can breastfeed in peace.