Wearing a baby is a wonderful and beneficial part of attachment parenting. As the popularity of baby wearing grows, more fathers are beginning to join in.
Utilizing a baby carrier or sling can help parents attend to their baby’s needs, while still accomplishing other tasks. As the popularity of baby wearing grows, and celebrities such as Brad Pitt are seen wearing their babies in public, more fathers are beginning to strap on an infant carrier and wear their babies as well.
Why Fathers Should Wear Babies
While many women are quick to give baby wearing a try, and many baby sling and carrier manufacturers specialize in making their products in colors and patterns appealing to women, there are a number of benefits for fathers who choose to wear their babies as well.
Babies who are worn experience the world from a unique vantage point. They see, hear and experience the world and tasks the way that their caregiver does. This offers the baby a unique way to learn, and to bond with the wearer.
A father who wears his baby is going to present a completely different viewpoint to the baby, than the mother will give. This will give the baby a chance to view things from his father’s perspective, listening to the way his father interacts with others and goes about a given task. This not only helps the baby to learn faster, but can help the baby to bond with his father. The more viewpoints, tasks, conversations, and ways of dealing with the world the baby experiences, the more comfortable the baby will be within that world.
Fathers who are willing to give baby wearing a try can not only bond faster with their baby, while providing the baby with a view from their perspective, they can also help keep mothers of high needs babies from burnout. Fathers who feel unprepared to help with a fussy, clingy or high needs baby may discover that wearing the baby may help calm the baby down.
According to Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block (Bantam, 2002) the vibration from a father’s Adam’s apple can help calm a baby. A father who wears or carries a fussy baby close to his chest and neck, and hums or sings to the baby can often calm the baby down quickly. This then allows mothers to have a break from the constant care of a high needs baby, and helps engage the father in the baby’s care.
Baby Slings and Carriers for Fathers
While any baby sling or carrier can be used by both men and women, there are several carriers on the market that may suit some fathers better. The classic Baby Bjorn carrier (see my review here and article here) or the lightweight Ergo carrier may be a comfortable starting place for some fathers to begin wearing their babies. These carriers, which have buckles and straps, rather than loose fabric can seem more familiar in their workings to fathers, who are trying to balance putting on a carrier and caring for the baby at once.
Other carriers which have appeal for some fathers, can be wrap style carriers such as the Moby Wrap (see my review here). The Moby Wrap and other wrap carriers are available in multiple colors and fabrics, including black, camo print and deep, saturated reds, blues and greens, which can be more appealing for some men than polka dots, flowers and paisley may be.
Fathers of older babies may also find that a baby backpack can be a great way of caring for their babies, and carrying them for long trips, hikes and extended baby wearing sessions.
As baby wearing gains popularity, it becomes a more common practice to see fathers wearing their babies. These fathers, their babies, and the babies’ mothers are all reaping the benefits of these baby wearing dads.