Monday, August 12, 2013

Papa Bear and His Cub

When my son was first born i got into all kinds of baby groups and even started one of my own. Close friends of mine had been wearing their babies since they had been born, and while I might not be yelling for folks to nominate me for father of the year by any stretch, I figured that i have to do everything in my power to educate myself on the subject of childrearing. A part of that education was babywearing. Now being a first time father (and being 6'1" 235lbs), holding my tiny little 7 pound baby boy was nerve-wracking to say the least. Priding myself on being a manly man, as most men do, the thought of baby wearing was a little intimidating. I purchased a moby wrap (in black of course, to be as manly as possible) and following the instructions to the letter, led me to feel like I had a tangled hammock around me with a screaming infant inside. It took a trip to my friend and babywearing expert Kim Harris's house to show me the ropes enough to kinda get the feel for it. After she helped me get the wrap around me and Jase in the wrap, it was wonderful... Jase fell asleep and I was hands free to basically go and do.

Now my wife and I don't exactly have millions in the bank so obviously most of our cash goes to bills and groceries like most everyone I know, so I couldnt exactly go out and purchase a $300 wrap, but the moby I found to be inexpensive but still rather difficult to master the wrap, and having 40,000 feet of dangling fabric in a hot parking lot didn't seem all that inviting. So in doing a  lot of research (and a lot of talking with Kim) I went to Buy Buy Baby to shop for me a wrap that was comfy for Jase and me (remember I'm a Husky.... yeah thats a good adjective.... husky... we will go with that...guy)  that would look some semblance of manly that didn't break the bank. Luckily for me my wife had a really good coupon and I was able to procure an Infantino Mei Tai wrap that had padded shoulders and was easy to tie by myself and even easier to tie when my wife helps me... I figure that she carried him for 9 months and couldn't take him off like I can, so the least I can do is wear him throughout a trip to Walmart, Barnes and Noble or the Aquarium or the zoo...also it had a gray and white vine-like design that wasnt girly but wasnt exactly Rambo either.

The day I purchased this wrap I wore it (and my son) out of the store like a new pair of shoes...We went across the street to check out a different clothing selection for our little bundle, and whilst perusing the super cute (and manly) overalls for 3 month olds, a lady came out of her way to ask me where I had purchased my wrap and if I liked it. I commenced to telling her all about it like a new preacher eager to make his mark on the congregation. She seemed enthused because her husband had wanted to wear their little one but found the paisley prints a little too girly. I didn't blame him. I mean c'mon people.. what happened to unisex colors... I like gray, my wife likes gray, lets make a deal..anyways later on in the day we had shifted stores and were checking out the $5 movie bin at Walmart looking for the elusive, awesome $5 dvd, and a guy (roughly 40) walks by me (while I am complete with mai tai and son) and exclaims "Boy you're really taking one for the team!" Now if any of you reading this know me very well, you know how it took every ounce of self control to keep from either reaching out to grab him or saying something really nasty aloud for all the store to hear... but I didnt.. and I used that little filter between my brain and my mouth that sometimes is all too elusive. I thought to myself "well if bonding and being there for my son isn't manly then i guess I'm not manly."  But, honestly, I think that it is... if you think about it there aren't that many guys out there with the cajones enough to wrap their little one up on their chest and charge into a grocery store like a stormtrooper. Alas, I am now one of those men. And truly I think being a good father is one of the manliest things you can do.

I continue to wear my little Tater Bug right out in front, like a kangaroo, proudly displaying my love for my infant son. I'm super proud of him and he's the greatest accomplishment of my lifetime easily. My wife is now expressing interest in wearing him (but isn't confident enough in it yet to try putting him on at the front door of target like I will).  I figure with a few practice sessions at home, it will be a fight to see who gets to wear him!

I think fathers might (consciously or unconsciously) feel a bit left out if your wife is breastfeeding, that you aren't as big of a part of the baby's life as you should be... not true. I mean I'm no Dear Abby nor will I get a 900 number and give advice.. but in my opinion if husbands/fathers wear their baby, take turns feeding (breastfeeding with pumped bottles or with formula bottles) changing diapers giving baths, etc.. just being there a lot for playtime and for work time, your bond will grow with your baby leaps and bounds.. a bit of advice for fathers who are wearing or thinking about wearing your baby.. If anyone says anything in a negative way towards you wearing your little one, just know that they are the ignorant one.  Very, very ignorant. And if they had parked their all too important pride when their kids were young, then perhaps that child would act a little differently. And to all those who might see babywearers out in public, No... my baby isnt squished, and Yes, he can, in fact, breathe just fine, No he isnt heavy, nor is he too hot, and yes he is cute... I should know... I helped make him and I must say, I'm a craftsman. :) (he looks like his mother thank god).

My next stop...Coconut oil.... I hear that this stuff cures everything from psoriasis to low resale value on your home... I'm gonna have to check in to this.

-- Big Jake

Join Jake and others in his Facebook parenting group Parents of Great Kids.


  1. Cute, funny, great article. Interesting perspective.

    ktan and ergo here. :-)

    My husband loves the back carry in ergo and is a huge promoter of skin to skin to expectant parents we meet. I love hearing men sharing about being great fathers. It's very manly!!

  2. I love that my husband wears our boys! I still have to do the wrapping, but he has the Boba down! Love love love babywearing daddys!

  3. Aw, I'm happy to see another daddy babywearing. :) Great article. My boyfriend wears our son (now a year) proudly in the ergo. It made me very happy.

  4. Great job! My husband wears our son in everything from woven wraps to mei tais to full buck carriers. I swear he saved my sanity those first few months, wearing him for early sat morning walks, to give me an extra hour or two of sleep.