Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why wear instead of carry?

I'll often hear from a concerned mom that her husband won't try using their carriers and that he would prefer to just carry the baby.  Well, the goal of babywearing is to promote in-arms parenting, so the question then comes, does it matter if he carries instead of wears?  Well, no, not really, except for those times when he wants or needs his hands free.  Let's take a look at some of the things dads can do while wearing that might be a challenge or impossible while holding.

Chores/ Homemaking/ Honey-Do List

This baby's mama mentioned to her husband that wearing skin to skin could help a
sick baby with temperature regulation.  She went out and came home to daddy having
put a feverish baby on his back while he washed dishes.

A man can cook breakfast with a baby on his back, it's difficult and potentially
dangerous to use the stove with a baby in your arms.

This man right here is mommy-porn.  He's feeding the baby AND vacuuming!  A hero among men.
You can change a toddler while wearing your newborn.
You can also repair the air purifier that the kids broke
 (that's a good strategy, blaming it on the kids, I'm pretty sure my kids have
learned from this dad).

Or you can get some yard work done.  A little sunshine and raking.
Or even a little mowing (we highly recommend ear protection for
 baby if you are using power tools near him, and always exercise good judgment about the likelihood of something kicking back and injuring your child)
But maybe you're thinking to yourself, "but if I'm holding the baby, I CAN'T do chores, this is genius!  I won't have to do any of those boring tasks!" (my husband would give his right arm to avoid yard work)  But maybe there are a few things you would LIKE to do, but can't because of your habit of holding the baby in your arms.

Work from Home; or you know, Play Video Games
Some of these dads are working, and some are playing.  I'll let you decide.




Sightseeing/ Exploring

A short jaunt out with baby can be done carrying baby in arms, but an adventure out of the house for hours can quickly exhaust even the strongest arm muscles.  With baby in a carrier, you can:

Explore Russian cathedrals.
Climb Dunes on a beach hike (I spot 2 babywearing dads here)
Take all of the kids for a hike on Mt. Olympia
Or head out for a more local hike with other babywearing parents
Take photographs from the famous observatory in LA

You can also get to those places for exploring by public transportation more easily when a baby is worn.  Strollers are cumbersome and difficult to navigate on most public transportation, and a baby in arms makes holding the handrails difficult for you.

You can hang on and show baby the fun sights you pass on the train.
 Until you go underground, then baby might steal your iPhone.
 But you'll be able to get all of the kids up the escalator safely and have
your hands free to operate the card reader at the exit.
Play Time

You can take the kids to the playground, and swing with the baby,
or just push the preschooler on the swings while you wear the baby.
You can teach your big boy how to ride a bike while you keep the little one safe and cozy.
Okay, shopping might not be every guy's favorite "guy" activity, but sometimes it is necessary.  It goes a lot faster if you have your hands free to collect your merchandise or carry bags.
 Grocery (and wine) shopping is much easier with baby in a carrier.  Placing the car seat on the cart is dangerous, and carrying a baby in arms makes it difficult to get items from shelves, and we won't even consider the ridiculous proposition of pushing a stroller AND a cart.

Your wife will adore you for wearing the sleepy baby while she tries on clothing. 
You have no idea how difficult it is to buy clothing after you have a baby.
And then of course, there is always the male bonding trip to the home improvement store.

Party time
And once you've finished all of your must-do tasks, it might be time to relax and enjoy time with family, friends, or on your own.  You could
Watch a game or Dr. Who on TV (and have hands free for the clicker, and maybe a snack).
Get all of the kids in to the game in time for the opening pitch. 
Have a hand to hold your beer at the family barbeque
Have 2 hands for getting beer for yourself AND your wife at Octoberfest.
Take a look at the map to find the best place to find a beer in Germany
(seriously, that's what his wife says is going on here).

 Or, you could just make your own beer!
  Hmm, that's a lot of beer.  Reminder, always drink responsibly when caring for children. 
Especially if wearing them.  A beer is fine, getting sloshed is not.

So, as we can see, while there are lots of things you can do with a baby in arms, sometimes a carrier really allows for activities and outings you couldn't do with baby otherwise.  Give it a try, you might like it!
Thanks to all of the BWI of DC-MD-VA families who provided pictures for this post.

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