Monday, June 18, 2012

Babywearing Dads

Babywearing Dads

In honor of Fathers' Day, our June meeting topic was Babywearing Dads, in which we highlighted daddy-favorites and explained pros and cons specific to dads for each carrier style.  Because I'm not a dad myself, I collected information from babywearing men I know personally, the experiences of other educators I consulted, and the dads who showed up for our meeting!

Pouch Slings

A simple tube of fabric, a pouch sling is very simple and sleek-looking, which can be appealing to male babywearers.  A downside is that because pouches are sized to the wearer, they often cannot be shared between both parents/caregivers and if it is not the right size for the wearer, it can be difficult to achieve a good fit.  

This dad at our meeting rocked his pouch sling!

Ring Slings

One educator I consulted often recommends ring slings for dads with tiny babies, specifically because there are just a few important things to check to ensure the baby is safe and secure.  For the same reasons they're great for moms, they're also great for dads!  And, because ring slings are easily adjustable, they can be shared between multiple wearers; the smaller wearer will just have a longer tail.  Celebrity babywearing dad Brad Pitt has had his picture snapped using a ring sling (a stylish and manly solid black PSling)!

Mei Tais

A rectangle of fabric with straps coming out of each corner, these are a popular Daddy option because they are easy to learn and use and offer a bit more of a customized fit than the similar soft-structured-carrier (see next section).  Some widely available brands offer fun patterns like skulls, camouflage, tattoo, and flames that are big hits with babywearing men!

Soft Structured Carriers

Soft structured carriers are definitely a favorite among dads.  An SSC is similar to a mei tai except the straps buckle instead of tying, and often SSC's have a structured waist belt which helps transfer weight to the wearer's hips.  Most men find soft structured carriers to be aesthetically appealing and easy to learn and use. Some men feel that many SSC's are designed with a woman's smaller frame in mind, but other men have discovered brands that fit them very comfortably.

Here's a proud babywearing dad wearing his new baby in an SSC (we used a few folded-up receiving blankets to bring her up higher):


Stretchy wraps are great for dads with tiny babies for all the same reasons they're great for moms - plus they can easily be shared between multiple caregivers.  Widely available in simple solids, they can be a simple-looking option as well.  Woven wraps are great for babies of all ages and offer complete adjustability so they can also be shared between multiple caregivers, though each wearer might not be able to do the same carries, depending on the length/size chosen.  Woven wraps are commercially available in lengths up to 5-6 meters - enough length for even the biggest daddies! - and in a seemingly limitless variety of colors and patterns so there's a wrap to suit any man's taste.  An educator I spoke with reported that her husband is a big fan of the Front Wrap Cross Carry in a wrap because he finds it the magic answer for having the child take a long, long nap while mommy is unavailable.