The happy hormones of bonding with babies are not just for new mums. Babywearing can help a dad get in on the action and enjoy that new baby love, encouraging him to bond with baby and embrace his new role.
More men are taking significant roles in caring for their young. Although dads are the likely bread-winner while mums takes maternity leave, they still want to feel useful when they are at home. Babywearing fits the bill; encouraging a dad’s capacity to care for his new offspring and allowing him to help his partner.
While women have nine months to literally ‘grow’ into their new role as mothers, men do not share a physical transition to mark the beginning of their new role. Fathers therefore tend to discover their parental footing a little more slowly. Babywearing can encourage this process as dads spend more time in close contact getting to know their newborns more intimately.
While research on the effect of a father’s role is value laden, current studies point towards the fact that fathers are essential for a child’s holistic wellbeing and that paternal influences do have a positive effect upon a child’s socio-emotional development.
Babywearing offers dads and their babies the best start in life – a positive way to enjoy baby from birth and the chance to build a strong, lasting relationship right from the very start. The benefits of babywearing for dads include:
- the ability to care for both partner and baby simultaneously while remaining hands-free
- natural feel-good hormones such as oxytocin, which trigger paternal protective behaviours
- the ability to learn baby’s cues and signals much sooner than non-babywearing dads
- a relaxed confidence about being identified as a caregiver
- a great start to life for both dads and their babies!
A-list celebrity dads enjoy babywearing too – Orlando Bloom, Ethan Hawke, Neil Patrick Harris and Channing Tatum are all known to be babywearing dads. Australian celebrity dads are also discovering the joy of embracing babywearing!
(Left to right) Matt Nash (with wife Lauren and their twins); Mark Winterbottom and his son; Jonathan Thurston (and his daughter)
Anita Lincolne-Lomax, babywearing expert and director of ‘Babes in Arms’, whose own husband carried their four children, says “Babywearing for dads is a win-win for everyone – babies get hugged, dads feel more confident and mums get a rest! It ticks all the boxes!
Since there are so many babywearing options available, selecting a dad-friendly baby carrier or sling will ensure that he will get maximum use and enjoyment from it. Dads prefer models that don’t inhibit their everyday activities. Feminine patterns, ties or sashes are usually avoided, with a preference for streamline designs in gender neutral or dark colours. Dads are more sensitive than mums to overheating in a baby carrier and therefore prefer lighter-weight fabrics.
The Ergobaby Performance Collection provides some ideal babywearing solutions for dads – lightweight, active styles with moisture-wicking lining and cool mesh panels.
“It’s beautiful having your child so close and having that intimate contact with them, you can read their cues more readily. Babies love experiencing the world from the safety and warmth of their parent’s arms.”
– Anita Lincolne-Lomax