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Sticky situation: Bringing a Newborn to a Gala?

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Sticky situation:

Our law firm has been nominated for our local Chamber of Commerce's annual Business Achievement Award. The celebration and unveiling of the winners is in two weeks. It is a very high profile event for our business community.

As I have personally worked, for the past two years, on the new vision of the firm, I am very excited by this nomination and truly feel that we may win.

This is a joyous time in my life, as I also just gave birth to a baby boy. My newborn will be five-weeks-old on gala night. I am still nursing so, I was thinking of bringing him with us. For the most part, my husband would take care of him and come feeding time, I would excuse myself to discreetly nurse him.

This scenario also means having a stroller by our table and walking around with a diaper bag, not very glamorous for a gala evening.

I spoke about this plan with one of our senior associates and he is very concerned that other attendees may disapprove of bringing a baby to a gala.

Solution(s):

First of all congratulations on your nomination and on your newborn baby boy!

For starters, when invited to an event, including a gala, you should always respect the name(s) on the invitation. Generally speaking a gala invitation for a nominee would read "name of the nominee and guest."

In the event of a celebration where children are welcome, your invitation would have the mention "and children." For a Chamber of Commerce gala, I suspect that this is not the case.

Even in the case of a non-professional occasion, such as a wedding, if your baby's name is not on the invitation, he is not invited. Even if he is but a few days old.

As a self-employed businesswoman and mother of two sons, now adult, who also breastfed, I can certainly empathize with your predicament.

Although you may think that your husband can take care of your little one, while you are networking and accepting praise, your senior associate brings a valid concern.

Not only may some attendees disapprove and gossip about you bringing your newborn but, as small as he may be, he is still unpredictable and his restlessness or cries may hinder other gala-goers' enjoyment.

As you mentioned, the baby paraphernalia will also definitely bring undue attention to yourself and your firm.

I'd like to add that I don't think that you will really be able to focus on all the mingling opportunities, that this type of recognition will bring to you and your firm.

If you see your hubby walk out of the room with your little one or even if you hear his cry in the distance, you will be distracted and risk looking disinterested to the other people that you will be interacting with.

For this Sticky Situation, I only see three options:

  1. Find out from the event's host organization. Call and ask how they feel about you brining your son, to their event. Your Chamber of Commerce may have guidelines or they may be very open to this extra guest. In either case, you will be avoiding embarrassment on either party's side.
  2. Don't go. Stay home and send another representative from your firm. You could even prepare words to be read by your colleague.
  3. Extract your milk ahead of time and go with your husband to enjoy the forthcoming honours. Leave your little one in the care of a loved one.

One of times where you could bring your baby, could be if your firm was recognized as a Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace or was receiving some other kind of family accolade.

If you decide to stay home, you could hold a mini-celebration of your own by dressing up and enjoying a nice dinner with your loved ones.

Have a Sticky Situation yourself, write to julie@etiquettejulie.com and Julie will reply promptly. You can also ask your questions on her Facebook page. Julie travels coast to coast to give interactive conferences.

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