Dear Sling Lady, Do you have any suggestions for how to get my husband to use a baby carrier? He won’t even consider one. I really wish that he could take our baby more when we are out so that I’m not the only one carrying him all the time. Help!
- Marie, Portland OR
There are Dads who know from the moment their honey gets pregnant that they are going to wear their babies. They instinctively know the benefits of babywearing and they wouldn’t dream of not having a carrier or two of their own. These Dads are often the same Dads who are cool with (or even prefer) baby wraps and will even consider (or prefer) a ring sling. In public!
A lot of men we know aren’t those Dads. They think baby carriers (even the ubiquitous Bjorn) are “weird” looking, too complicated or unmasculine. If their honeys want to use one those contraptions with they baby, they might not argue, but they have no interest whatsoever in trying one themselves. They prefer to just carry the baby or use a stroller and they won’t even check out all those cute pictures of other babywearing Dads to see how manly they look.
Not using a baby carrier is, of course, a choice that is any Dad’s to make. But if you are the sweetie of a guy who’s just not that into the concept, here are a few of my suggestions to help him along.
** Set the stage for how convenient babywearing is. Reluctant Dads need to see how using a baby carrier makes their life easier. Rave about how much you can get done with the baby in a carrier. Complain about how heavy the bucket is.
** If you know other Dads that use carriers, strike up a conversation about why they use them (in your sweetie’s presence of course). Other men are more influential in this type of thing, especially if Dad is concerned about the manliness of carriers.
** If you can engage him in the conversation, ask what kind of carrier he’d be most likely to use if he HAD to use one. Show him some pictures of different types (preferably modeled by men) to gauge his reaction.
** If he refuses to even check out pictures, consider buying one of your carriers in a neutral color that you think he wouldn’t be embarassed to wear. Buckle carriers are generally a good pick for this, as they meet with the least resistance from reluctant Dads. You might also consider a reversible mei tai or a neutral pouch. Then, whip it out at a moment when it would be super convenient for him to use it (at the beach, on a hike, shopping a crowded street, etc).
** If you manage to get him in the carrier, tell him how sexy it is to see a Dad cuddling with his baby.
If you have experiences (successful or not) of trying to convince a reluctant Daddy to babywear, I’d love to hear them! What tips do you have?