Convincing an Unwilling Man to Wear a Baby: A 5 Step Guide.
So, you have a man who believes it is not fun/cool/manly/sensible to wear his baby (it really should be his baby, I would definitely not recommend stealing a baby off of the street for this). From someone that understands how the male brain works (a man) here is a guide of helpful suggestions to ease the uncertain initiate through babywearing and also a few tips to keep from shooting yourself in the foot in the process.
1) The male ego is fragile and the most important thing to safeguard it is to ALWAYS pretend that it is NOT fragile:
I have called unwilling men sissies in my earlier post, I can do that because I am also a man; when I call a man a sissy it makes him want to prove me wrong by wearing a baby. Should his wife call him a sissy he will prove her wrong by showing her he doesn’t have to do a damn thing she wants him to. If you want a man to wear a baby (or do anything at all really) convince him that he is your hero because he is willing to babywear. The average man will do anything if you just give him a damsel to rescue. This will work even better if you have a daughter. As long as you appeal to our ego and make us feel like a big, strong, manly man we are in!
2) Men are set in their ways, learn when not to fight it:
I have seen this a few times in even my limited experience: the woman has a definite agenda about which carrier she wants. Trust me when I say, your man will not fit your agenda nine times out of ten. I have watched women try to convince their man that he wants a particular type of carrier and, instead of winning him over, she loses him. Your average man will have a preference before he even goes into the store and if you fight his preference he will quit. I know from personal experience that men tend to trust a buckle more than a knot so babyhawk might be out but he’s looking at the Ergos and Becos. What should you do? Rejoice! Get the buckliest Beco you can find if that’s what he wants. It may mean you have to get a his and hers carrier but that’s okay (in fact, my wife and I each have our own Ergo and I find that works really well for us), remember that the point is to get him wearing your baby not to beat him in an argument.
3) Men will go out of their way not to be humiliated:
Get him a nice, manly colour. I own a pink Didymos wrap and I love it, but I am not typical (even so, my preferred carrier is an orange Ergo). The average man is not going to take anything flowery or pastel and wear it at the mall, park, theatre, etc. Why? Someone he knows might see him. It may seem silly (because it is) but it’s the way we are, if we could change it we would. This is the “purse-holder” effect: if you make us do something embarrassing we may do it, however, we will resent the activity and we’ll resent you for suggesting it. Get a babycarrier that says, “I am a man! Look, I produced my very own child to prove it!” and he’ll wear it, get one that says “my wife thinks this is a good idea” and it will rot in you closet until you sell it on kijiji to some other well-meaning but delusional wife.
4) Men want to believe they are creatures of logic and practicality, undulge us:
Another great way to circumnavigate the male ego is to give us a logical “out”. If we see an activity as not manly enough we can still get our head around it if we can look at it in a rational way. There is a wealth of information on the benefits of babywearing that you can reference, here’s a couple to get you started:
If your man knows these, he can pull them out and beat someone over the head with them if they challenge his manhood. Suddenly he isn’t a girly-man, he’s a father who is proactively promoting attachment so his daughter won’t grow up to be a stripper and his son won’t get hooked on drugs (WARNING: I am joking! this is not a medical review! there is no correlation between the practice of babywearing and later drug use or “daddy issues”, however, you should probably make sure to catch a few ball games and/or dance recitals later on in life wether you babywear or not) or he’s carrying his baby in a way that leaves him conveniently free to do dishes, errrr I mean polish the car and build a shelf. Also, the cost and size factor is a big plus; for the price of one good stroller you can buy three excellent babycarriers and then you can stuff them all into one shopping bag and throw them in your trunk, back seat, etc. My Ergo usually goes right behind Mia’s baby seat in the car and there is plenty of room to spare, your man will never have to worry about planning ahead whether he should bring the stroller because you’re going to Costco and you might need the extra room in the trunk.
5) Pander to his ego in the most obvious, shameless, basic way possible:
I’m a man and I wear my daughter everywhere, in this process I’ve noticed something funny: women can actually see me! If I go to the mall, park, or grocery store by myself I am invisible, but if I go with Mia strapped to me I am suddenly irresistible to women. I’m a slightly balding, mid-thirties man who’s currently carrying around a little too much pregnancy weight, there aren’t many magazines calling me up for a covershoot; however, put a baby on my chest and I’m suddenly really interesting! I get comments from all the women, from teenagers saying “that is so cute!” when I walk by, young women stopping me to ask where I got that, older women telling me I’m a wonderful father, and every permutation in between, suddenly I’m the new sexy. Trust me, men notice this! Get a babycarrier (at some places you can rent them) and send him somewhere with it (the magic won’t work if you are with him), he’ll come back with a new appreciation of the manly art of babywearing. Yes, it’s crass and crude and a bit manipulative but it’s also effective; there’s a reason why every ad company uses sex to sell product: it works! it even works if we know they’re doing it! If you think he’s sexy because he wears a baby, that’s good; if every woman on Earth thinks he’s sexy because he wears a baby, that’s better!
So that’s it, my five step process, I hope it helps. There are two more things to remember:
1) The right babycarrier is important. Certain brands have terrible ergonomics, research is a really important part of the process. I can’t tell you which carrier is right for you but I can tell you that some are wrong for everybody; if a carrier faces the baby outward, leave it on the shelf, it’s not good for you and it’s not good for your baby. If you live in Calgary, stop by Baby and Me, they have some really, really nice carriers and staff that can help you out (http://www.babyandmematernity.com/)
2) These five steps won’t always work. Some men can’t get their head around the idea no matter what, that’s okay. The most important thing a father can do is raise his children and try to be a good father, that doesn’t mean he has to wear his baby.
Good luck, We’re pulling for you!