8 Tips For Your Baby’s Baptism
When we had our second daughter baptized, it was the picture-perfect ceremony I had been envisioning. The white dress, the serene baby, the smiling family members looking fondly on.
Until we all posed for the big family photo and the second before the shutter snapped, my daughter picked that moment to completely fill her diaper with the loudest explosion ever. The entire family burst out in laughter as the camera captured the moment in digital perfection forever.
Not exactly the picture-perfect moment. Sigh.
But because such is life, especially life with a baby, the baptism went on and for our next baby, I will be following a few of these tips to help make things run a little more smoothly.
Scope out the ceremony site.
Some churches have options for parents to host a private ceremony after a public service, so you can host a more intimate gathering. We made the mistake of inviting a bunch of family and friends to one of our baby's baptisms, not realizing that the church only did public ceremonies during the service and everyone missed the baptism. Knowing ahead of time exactly when and where the ceremony will occur can help you figure out who to invite and help with the ever-important picture strategy to get the best shots. Also, don't be afraid to request a private baptism if that's what you desire–sometimes the pastor or priest can make an exception.
Consider the godparents' religions.
Contrary to popular belief, the people you choose don't necessarily have to share your exact faith. For example, in the Catholic church, only one godparent is required to be Catholic, and the other can act as a witness–meaning they don't necessarily have to be Catholic themselves. Just be sure that the godparent you are asking is comfortable in the role if he/she shares a different faith tradition than your family.
Give the godparents plenty of time to prepare.
On that note, especially if the godparents you choose are from out of town or of a different faith tradition, be sure to give them plenty of time ahead of time to know what to expect. Some churches offer a special baptism class to educate godparents on their role in the child's life.
Host a morning ceremony.
I have no scientific proof of this, of course, but I tend to have better experience with any special events with my babies if they are earlier in the day–we are both less tired and the baby may be more alert for pictures and for family to enjoy. A morning ceremony may also make it easier for your guests to enjoy family time and still have an afternoon to run errands or get a head start on travel.
It may sound silly, but with my daughter's baptism, I completely forgot to wear a breastfeeding-friendly dress. Maybe it was the fact that I was excited to wear something other than my yoga pants for the first time in a while, but I wore a dress with a high belt and a zipper in the back–it was the worst to try to nurse a baby in. And of course, your baby will want to be fed the moment the ceremony is about to begin, so don't do as I did and find yourself ducking out of the church to strip. Make sure you wear something that you can easily feed in and both of you will be a lot happier for it!
Borrow the outfit.
Speaking of dresses, why not consider borrowing an outfit for your baby to wear during her baptism? Those pretty baptism gowns and suits can be pretty expensive, so it won't hurt to ask around to borrow a friend or family members. I've baptized three babies in borrowed gowns and the fact that they wore a gown their aunt did too actually made the ceremony more special. Don't be afraid to check online swap sites or just put out an old-fashioned Facebook call-out for a gown you can borrow. Just don't forget get it dry-cleaned when you return it!
Celebrate with a “Baptism Bouquet.”
If you don't feel up to hosting a huge post-baptism celebration, keep things simple with a fun and delicious “Baptism Bouquet.” Ask a friend for help or put in a special order at your local bakery. Cookies for the win!
Don't expect perfection.
As I learned, no matter how much you plan or prepare, there's nothing predictable about life with a newborn–and that will include his or her baptism day. If something goes wrong (like your baby poops through her baptism dress during a picture), all you can do is keep on smiling.
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