Every other week, in an online babywearing community I’m in, someone asks what should they do or say to convince their (male) partner that men can actually wear their babies.
It seems that there are quite a lot of people out there who still think that dads babywearing is unusual, because it’s something that only mother’s do; that it’s somehow a feminine activity.
It’s an idea that I find more than a little absurd, and I think to explain exactly why this is unfathomable to me I’d like to introduce you to my dad.
This is my Dad and that little blond cherub on his back is me. I’ve witnessed dads babywearing (well, specifically MY dad) since before I could walk. This just seems completely normal to me.
And does my dad look like he’s not a “real man” – or whatever it is that’s the issue here?
Obviously my dad was the biggest, toughest, bravest man in my life growing up so he was MY hero and naturally I’m going to see him through that lens, but he has been a fire fighter for most of his life, he has also been involved in ski patrol, his hobbies have included abseiling and rock climbing, fishing, hiking, playing footy, in his younger days he was a wrestler, in his spare time he transports boats across Bass Strait to be paid in beer AND at nearly 60 he can still do chin ups on a door frame with his finger tips.
He is very much “a man” and he still wore his babies!
Can’t Dads be nurturing with their children and it not be a reflection on their masculinity one way or another? Aren’t we past this in 2015? (Obviously this wasn’t even an issue for my Dad in the 80s!)
The great thing about breaking down gender roles, is fathers can be nurturing with their children, they can wear their babies, or be a stay at home parents, or do any number of things that previously may have been perceived as being “a woman’s job” without it having any kind of negative reflection on them. Actually, it’s wonderful and in a lot of ways men are expected to parent in an active and hands on way.
So, I think it’s really sad if there are fathers out there who would wear their babies if it wasn’t for some preconceived ideas about gender roles and parenting.
If you’re a dad and you want to wear your baby, or toddler, just do it. Don’t worry about what other people think, or maybe what some inner voice says about babywearing being for women. There are MANY reasons that babywearing is beneficial for both baby and wearer and aside from hands-free-breastfeeding those benefits are not limited to mothers. Fathers can babywear, grandparents (including grandfathers) and other family members, close friends, even nanny’s and childcarers can wear babies!
Bottom line is:
Just wear the baby. Wear ALL THE BABIES!
And a man who is truly confident in his own masculinity shouldn’t really have any issues with wearing his babies… even if that “baby” is worn in a Pink Zig-zag Toddler Tula…
(This picture, right here, where he’s holding her foot… gets me right in the ovaries.)