Heather, 28, who has been supported in her breastfeeding experience by Helen Howard – Infant Feeding Coordinator for Tameside Hospital, was concerned she would miss parts of the reception, such as the first dance and the cutting of the cake, if she had to slope off to feed Sean in her room at HotelS mokies Park in Oldham.
So instead the sisters decided to have the bridesmaid dress designed with a panel so she would be able to feed discreetly in public. The beautiful and unusual black bridesmaid dress, which had an overlaid top with sequins and beads, had detachable straps at the front so Heather could nurse.
Primary School teacher Heather, who is married to Brian, said: “My sister started planning her wedding when I was only about four months pregnant so she knew I would have a very young child.
“I had thought about expressing my milk but I feel the more you express the less people see breastfeeding so think a bottle is normal. It’s so much easier than preparing bottles or expressing and when he wants it the milk is there.
“We decided to have the dresses made to accommodate my breastfeeding because I knew a normal bridesmaid dress would be difficult to feed in. The dress worked perfectly and I was very happy with it. I felt I could stay, be involved in everything and I didn’t feel like I’d missed out on anything.”
Teacher assistant Jennifer, 30, who is also still breastfeeding her eight-month-old son Joel twice daily, even found time to nurse on the morning of the wedding and express ahead of the evening reception.
She said: “With Sean being a newborn he needed to be able to feed on tap. You can’t really buy breastfeeding bridesmaid dresses but luckily I knew a dressmaker and she could make me anything I wanted.”
Jennifer, who married Peter on December 29 at St George’sChurch in Stalybridge, added “It worked out better for all the bridesmaids as they got to have a design they wanted and what suited them.”
Tameside Hospital midwife Helen said: “It is really important that breastfeeding is recognised as the most natural, normal way to feed a baby and Heather has just demonstrated exactly that. Heather has been committed to breastfeeding and her determination to be at the wedding meant that she needed a dress that meant she could be a big part of the big day.”
She added: “Breastfeeding is recognised as having numerous health benefits for both mothers and infants. Tameside Hospital is working towards the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative that recognises breastfeeding as the best way to feed newborn babies and staff are committed to ensuring women receive the best information and support to ensure babies receive the best start in life.”