We often hear (and read) about the moms who wear their babies from birth. It’s a rewarding experience, and there are so many benefits; but up until a few years ago, we didn’t see as many dads who would wear their babies and children. It’s not that it’s never been done, and I think we can all agree that more-and-more dads are carrying their children and babies. We’re all learning how important it is to make a connection with our kids, but it’s also not always easy — for moms or dads.
First of all, for all those dads out there (particularly new dads), it’s ok to feel uncertain the first time you hold your little one. It’s one of the most unforgettable moments, sure; but it’s also not something that we as guys are typically encouraged to do as we’re growing up. Add to that the fact that many of us didn’t have fathers who demonstrated affection; and it’s no wonder many new dads are hesitant to hold their babies.
But, here’s the thing… babies don’t come with instruction books (though I’ve read countless volumes, and have learned a great deal). We all must find our way toward becoming a great parent. So, we work at it every day. We don’t always know exactly how to hold the baby, but we move beyond those first moments of fear and uncertainty.
As we celebrate International Babywearing Week, I think back to the first moments I held my baby, and all that I learned in the years that have intervened:
- Hold him close: I wondered what it would be like to hold him for the first time, but the reality is so much different, better… but it also calmed him. It made him feel safe and warm, and it was also the start of that important bonding time.
- Center of everything: Even as he slept or ate or played, babywearing allowed him to always be at the center of attention, never far from the activity and everyday tasks. He has always loved that.
- It’s a social experience: My son is also social. He loves to see and experience everything around him, so babywearing allowed him to look around, smile and interact with friends and family — all from a safe space
Of course, wearing a baby is different for everyone. Some love it, while others really hate it. Just as with everything else related to parenting, each of us approach it in our own way, and make the best decision(s) we can for our family. Whether your experience has been good (or bad), please share your story in the comments below.