By Billy Doidge Kilgore
My second child is due next month and I’m excited about many things but one sticks out in my mind: wearing the baby wrap again. I’m looking forward to the feeling of a baby pressed against my chest. I love the closeness, the smell of a fresh scalp, and fingers jabbed into my nostrils. Okay, I could live without the tiny finger jabs but I truly do love wearing a baby. As a stay-at-home dad, the wrap became part of my daily routine with my son, Henry, who I wore on my chest as I cooked and bought groceries and waited in line at the DMV. One of the amazing things about wraps is you have both hands available. Two freakin’ hands! This is a game changer for parents.
At first, I was not a fan of the wrap. I resisted my wife’s suggestion to try it. I didn’t want to make the effort to learn to tie it but mostly I resisted because the idea made me feel uncomfortable. Do men wear babies? Based on my experience, the answer was no and to wear the wrap risked ridicule. I could not picture my father or grandfather wearing a baby wrap, nor most of my guy friends. In hindsight, my reluctance seems preposterous because it turned out so handy and practical.
After multiple attempts, I finally agreed to let my wife tie the wrap on me. She tucked my son against my chest and I looked in the bathroom mirror at the long piece of cloth wrapped around my torso and my son’s limbs dangling. I’m either the coolest dad or the weirdest dad on the planet. That night I cooked dinner with my son in the wrap and found myself enjoying our time together as I sliced onions and green peppers. My insecurity faded.
When my wife left for work I watched YouTube videos to learn how to tie it. I made it into a game, trying to see how fast I could wrap it around my body. Yes, I turned baby-wearing into a competitive activity. In my mind, I see ten parents standing in a row holding long pieces of cloth in their hands with a large clock over the heads. The referee stands ready to blow his whistle. First mother or father to finish tying their wrap and tuck their baby in securely wins a prize: a one gallon stainless steel YETI jug. My fantasy prize!
For my wife and me, wrapping our son was a positive experience and I recommend it to you. I don’t pretend to know what is best for your family. How you carry your baby is your business and I don’t care if you carry it in a wrap or wagon or crate. Well, maybe not a crate. If you are open to baby-wearing, I suggest give the wrap a try. The best part is you don’t have to use a stroller, which can be a magical thing on a crowded subway or in a busy airport.
Billy Doidge Kilgore is a baby-wearing, caffeine dependent and sleep-deprived dad writing to maintain his sanity. In addition to caring for his toddler son, he is a native Southerner, book hoarder, unashamed fan of cargo shorts, coffee snob and blogger. He lives with his family in Nashville, Tennessee. Billy blogs at wrapdaddyblog.wordpress.com. Follow him on Twitter @billydkilgore.