As a dad of two boys who were breastfed almost exclusively while they were infants (they both literally went from boob to sippy cup), I often used baby wearing as a way to provide a nurturing presence while also deepening my bond with them. Some of my fondest memories with the kids have occurred while one of them was strapped to either my front or by back and because of that, baby wearing as a whole holds a special meaning to me. I always enjoy showing love to any fellow dad I see wearing their baby out and about in public by either flashing a smile or a head nod of acknowledgement.
It makes me especially happy to see it being practiced in the media, as it is a reflection of just how much men carrying their children have increased in popularity and it has become more culturally acceptable. Yesterday however, I saw something on TV that really bothered me. It was AMEX/Real Simple commercial with a father incorrectly holding their baby in a carrier incorrectly. Here's a screenshot:
There are so many things wrong with this picture. First, the tpye of carrier the father is wearing is clearly is designed for the baby to be facing him, not outward. Secondly, the strap on the father's left shoulder Is halfway off, which results in the baby not getting proper support. Both of these things are dangerous and can cause potential harm to both the baby as well as the dad.
On the surface, some might think this really isn’t a big deal. After all, it's just a commercial, right? But here’s why you should care:
1. It makes dads look bad- Having this father wear that baby with such poor technique kind of perpetuates the stereotype of the clueless, bumbling dad that that the media seems to be so fond of portraying.
2. It’s a safety issue- Although we can safely assume that most dads are capable to properly wear their child, there might be other who don’t. What if someone tried to emulate the commercial? When done incorrectly, risk of injury dramatically increases for the baby as well as the parent.(Study: http://www.continuum-concept.org/reading/spinalStress.html)
So all in all, the “heart” of the commercial was in the right place. The fact that the company showed a dad baby wearing says something about their progressive thinking. The benefits from baby wearing are one of the most enjoyable experiences about being a parent, but it is important that you first educate yourself on proper technique to keep everyone safe. Please take a moment to check out this link, which is an awesome guide on how to wear your baby correctly.(www.babywearinginternational.org/pages/safety.php )