How do you wear a baby carrier like a real man? Pretty simply:
1) Be a man.
2) Wear a baby carrier.
Despite a recent Twitter take by Piers Morgan, who thought it’d be hilarious to dad-shame Daniel Craig for, um, transporting his own child, there is nothing “emasculating” about a dude using a baby carrier.
Satisfyingly, the internet has shut that absurdity down with a barrage of photos of men proudly wearing their tots. (I am slayed by this particular photo and caption: “The name’s bond. Father-daughter bond.”)
Men: Baby carriers are great. They give you back the use of your hands. They can help distribute the weight of carrying a child more evenly through your back, hips and shoulders. And science shows that a lot of physical contact with your infant can actually boost their development.
If you’re a dad who wants to try wearing a baby carrier but aren’t sure where to start, here’s a quick guide.
Choose The Right Style
Virtually all baby carriers can be worn by both women and men, but if you’re looking for the most “manly”-looking option, several parents in the Lifehacker parenting Facebook group recommend the Mission Critical brand. A dad named Brendan writes: “Our daughter is only 4 months old, but I’m consistently looking for reasons to use it. The backpack is also fantastic.” Australians will have to order via a mail forwarding service, though.
Other dad-approved carriers include the Ergobaby 360, Tula, Catbird Baby Pikkolo Carrier and Baby Bjorn. (Some noted that Ergobaby carriers are made of a heavier material, which can get hot, but the company does offer styles made with lighter fabrics, such as natural linen and cool mesh lining.)
Fatherly has a guide to the best carriers for dads, so check that out for more options.
Protect Your Testicles
When wearing a tiny person in a carrier, you may be vulnerable to heel-strikes below the belt, though most baby-wearing dads we heard from said this has never been an issue. Still, until you know for sure that your kid’s legs are positioned safely out of range, you’ll probably want to stay on the offence.
If it’s your first time strolling along with your stylish child carrier and your firstborn tags your testes with a ravaging back kick, we feel for you, man. Any time after that: It’s your own damn fault.
If you need a short-term stopgap solution because you’ve just realised your baby’s legs are capable of crushing your cojones while in the carrier, put an arm under their legs to decrease their reach and minimise the windup (so even kicks to the kidneys won’t hurt as bad).
Move On To A Backpack Carrier
Once your kid can sit up independently (usually around six months), you can move them to a backpack carrier, which dads seem to particularly love. There are many options designed for you to trek around the great outdoors with your kid in tow. Or you can wear it around town, if you prefer.
A mum named Danielle writes that her husband uses the Deuter Kid Comfort 2 Backpack to transport their kid to and from daycare: “My son loves it and they get lots of ‘cool ride’ compliments.”
In choosing a backpack carrier, chiropractor Scott Bautch tells Consumer Reports that you should find one with a padded hip belt that feels comfortable: “The majority of the weight should be carried on your hips. The shoulder straps are only there to control the motion of the backpack. You should fit the pack from your hips up, not your shoulders down.”
Some other general tips for wearing a baby carrier.
- Ask friends if you can try out their carriers before you commit to buying your own.
- Always keep your baby’s face clear (it should not be smushed in your chest).
- Don’t drink anything hot while wearing your baby.
- Make sure your baby’s legs sit naturally to the sides. BabyGearLab has a detailed guide on protecting your baby’s hips while wearing a carrier.