We’re super excited to continue our Babywearing 102 Series with the help of our educational blogger, Katie! She recently wrote a post about Water Wearing and we’ve got another great post from her today. Enjoy!
Few things make our hearts swoon like daddies wearing babies! In honor of Father’s Day this month, we’ll be highlighting some amazing tips, tricks, and benefits for the all the men caregivers in our lives.
ALL caregivers can benefit from babywearing and men are no exception! Wearing babies close facilitates emotional connection and bonding, and who could say no to being able to multi-task with two free hands? Babywearing can make the transition to parenthood easier or contribute to the ability to be a better caregiver by providing a tool to help soothe a cranky baby and assist with caregiving duties. Babywearing becomes even more beneficial when caring for older children!
My husband’s personal journey with babywearing has been bittersweet. One of my earliest memories of him as a new father is wearing our oldest in a Moby while watching football on TV nearly eight years ago. During my second pregnancy, he deployed two weeks before our daughter was born. Aside from a brief two week introduction when she was four months old, he did not return for good until shortly before her first birthday. So what’s a daddy to do with a baby who didn’t know him, along with an energetic two old? He turned to what he knew. He wore her and kept her close, day or night. They had their belated babymoon. And soon enough, it was as if they’d never skipped a beat. Two more children later and babywearing is a way of life!
One question we’re often asked is, “What is the best carrier for men?” The answer to that is that it is highly subjective. Men can wear any carrier on the market! The best carrier for any individual is going to be one they can use comfortably and safely every time. But how to determine what a new babywearer will like best? Let’s explore some criteria to keep in mind when choosing a guy-friendly carrier.
Most importantly, we highly recommend trying a variety of carriers ahead of time if you intend to purchase one. Attending one of BWI of Greater Austin’s monthly meetings is the perfect opportunity to learn about the different options out there and discover what style of carrier you gravitate towards. And membership provides the perfect opportunity to try out a variety of carriers every month for a full year without committing to one particular brand or style. We welcome all caregivers and are happy to assist with any carrier you own, as well.
When giving carrier suggestions, I like to clarify the goals of the caregiver. Does he want something that’s no fuss and quick to adjust? A buckle carrier, mei tai, or ring sling may be perfect! Is he trying to find something available for purchase in most major stores? Several buckle carrier brands are very accessible along with the Infantino Mei Tai and Moby Wrap. Is he looking for a carrier that can be used easily by two differently sized caregivers? A woven wrap, mei tai, or ring sling are all good options. Is he in the market for a carrier that’s snuggly for a newborn? A stretchy wrap may be the answer. Is he interested in a carrier that can be used in a myriad of ways whether on the front, hip, and back? A woven wrap could be what he’s looking for! I also highly suggest having him explore all the colors and prints on the market to decide what he likes best before finalizing a purchase.
But what about fit considerations? What fits one caregiver well may not be such a great fit for another. Buckle carriers, for example, can fit very differently from one body type to the next and may require some experimentation to find the best fit by adjusting the shoulder and chest straps and waistband. If he prefers woven wraps and likes a certain wrap carry, he may require a different wrap size than another caregiver. Many daddies also like carriers that allow crossing of the straps in front or back carries, and there are a variety of buckle carriers that have this feature, including the CatBird Baby Pikkolo, Beco Gemini and Soleil, Onya, Action Baby Carrier, and Kanga.
Sometimes men can feel anxious or nervous about wearing their babies and that’s okay! Being a caregiver is the most daunting, challenging, rewarding, and wonderful thing we’ll ever be privileged to do, and sometimes we can get so caught up in getting it right that we aren’t sure what to do. Come out and see us! We can promise that other male caregivers are out there in a similar position and we love having them attend our meetings. Meeting other babywearing men can help build solidarity and confidence for everyone involved.
And remember, your baby will only be this little once. You are their ultimate protector, and there is no better way to do that than by wearing them close to your heart!
And… Happy Father’s Day to all the baby wearers who celebrate being some one’s male parental role model, in any form. The world is better for your snuggles!