My mom visited us this October. Right before she left, we remembered that we still hadn't blessed Ivy, who was 6 months old at the time. We called the bishop of our local LDS (Mormon) congregation to let him know we wanted to bless Ivy at home and to see if anyone else needed to be present. He checked and said: "the manual says that 'normally' another priesthood holder is present, which I interpret to mean that it isn't required. Go ahead and do it."
So we gathered in our living room. I held her in my arms while my husband blessed her. One of the advantages of doing a baby blessing at home: you can do what you want and don't have to ask permission! Little Ivy was super wiggly. As soon as the blessing started, she tried to escape and see what was going on.
Luckily, I had a secret weapon: The Boob. Out it came. She latched on and nursed through the whole blessing. She popped off a few times to check out the action, but mama's milk was just too good to pass up.
(Yet another benefit of doing it at home. I have no problems nursing in church, but I imagine some people in the audience might have passed out had I "Whipped It Out" in front of them all during the blessing).
After everyone was in bed, Eric and I were talking about the blessing. At one point, he blessed Ivy to find joy in the body that her Heavenly Father had given her. He told me that as he was saying this, he felt an overwhelming impression that her body was also a gift from her Heavenly Mother. But, for some reason, he hesitated in saying it. He wasn't sure why--maybe because my mom was there? (To be fair to my mom, I don't think it would have fazed her.)
He had a definite impression that Ivy possessed a powerful intellect and intelligence, something he doesn't remember the same way with our other children.
When he gives our children baby blessings, he gets glimpses into the people that they are, something he otherwise doesn't have through his day-to-day interactions with our children.
I'm glad that we can do baby blessings at home. I've done two at home (Zari and Ivy), one at church (Dio), and one at a relative's house after my sister's wedding (Inga), when all my extended family were gathered together. I definitely like non-church blessings the best.
It was really lovely nursing Ivy while my husband blessed her. I was pouring all my love and heart into her through my breasts while he poured his love onto her through his hands.
Now a brief explanation of how Mormons do baby blessings.
At church, the father or other male friend/relative gives the blessing, surrounded by any other males invited to participate. It looks like this:
Or like this:
In some congregations, women are allowed to hold their babies during the blessing. In others, they are forbidden from doing so. It depends on how the local leadership interprets church policy manuals. Many of us wish women could have a more active role in baby blessings. Maybe some day they will look like this:
This is why I do them at home.