Celebrating International Day Of The Midwife.

Before you read this I would Like to warn you tat the following post is aimed at adults and has some objectionable terms and phrases.  I would say it’s about PG 13 level of offensive so stop reading now if you are easily offended.  

For those who don’t know, the other day (May 5th) was International Day Of The Midwife.  I thought in honour of that I would share a bit about our birth story and our experience with midwife care.  Let me first say that midwives are awesome and I really mean that; if you’re a midwife reading this YOU are awesome!  Midwives are almost certainly the oldest medical tradition on this planet, women helping other women give birth has been with us for a very long time.  It is therefore pretty strange that when we  announced to our family and friends that we were using a midwife we were met with a lot of incredulity.  Some of our friends are also crunchy people and from crunchy families so they weren’t surprised but by and large the rest thought we were a little crazy (others omitted the “little” part altogether).  At first I felt the need to defend and educate people about our choice to use a midwife (which these people saw as our choice not to use a doctor) but after about a week I was tired of it and realized there was nothing to defend.  From that point on my response was the same:  Them, “you don’t want a doctor?” Me, “why? she’s not sick!”

Popular culture has painted an interesting picture of the birthing process: Panic, screaming, hospital lights, stirrups, drugs, scalpels, doctors, operating rooms, and fear.  This is what I’ve observed from having watched TV from an early age, this is what is taught to us, to North America’s young women!  Of course, when popular culture portrays midwifery it’s even worse!  Anyone whose seen “The Backup Plan” knows that non-operating room births are not respected in pop culture.  If you haven’t seen it, I’ll recap: J. Lo is expecting and is invited by her support group to witness a home birth (here it is if you want to watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNJDaOGsOAE) It starts with a lady nursing a toddler (another thing hollywood finds hilarious to mock for being so ridiculous, if you read my previous post you probably know what I think of that) then the lady with the bongo drum arrives, obviously this is the midwife (duh! who else would play the bongos?).  J.Lo proceeds to be FORCED to watch the birth while the pregnant lady screams at her, a bunch of women sing in the background, and of course we mustn’t forget the bongoing midwife!  the scene ends with J. Lo and her partner walking down the street with PTSD induced empty gazes.  So that’s how homebirths work!  Thank you Hollywood for clearing that up for me (dear hollywood, please find enclosed with my letter a whole sack full of dicks…. eat them!).  Let me assure you that nothing like that happened at our home birth, I mean J. Lo didn’t even show up! (and I sent her such a nice invitation on facebook!)

Let me go back to the beginning though because I really want to share the male experience of a midwife.  For those men reading this that don’t have children yet the first thing you need to know is that the process of preparing for the birth of your child will be three things: educational, stressful, and humiliating.

1) Educational – You will learn things you never knew, things you thought you knew but  really didn’t, things you didn’t want to know, and things that you would have been happy to be dead and buried without knowing!  You need to roll with it.  Yep, that’s all the wisdom I have for you, roll with it.  Your only other option is being a knuckle-dragging troll who takes no interest in his family.  Oh, and I’ll call you a pussy!

2)  Stressful – The woman you love most in the whole world will, over the course of the next nine months, become mother nature’s favourite joke!  She’s going to gain weight, have pains, be constantly starving, have her guts moved around, and become generally uncomfortable at all times and in any position.  Also, Mama Nature is going to slowly crank that hormone dial from a reasonable level “2” up to a level “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!!!!!!”.  Seriously, neighbors will ask you if you can turn her hormones down!  Gratuitous sports analogy time: Alright dudes!  This is the big game.  All that understanding you’ve been practicing, all those times you did stuff you thought was stupid because she wanted to,  The backrubs (you know, the ones you did because she was ACTUALLY sore, not just the ones you did to get sex), the encouragement, and all of that empathy, your day has come.  This is the championship, you have to dig deep, grab on to your danglies and take the ride because you are now in the fight of your life!  All that crap you stood up on your wedding day and bored all your friends and relatives with, right now is the moment that the you’re expected to pay the hell up and not be a wuss!

3)  Humiliation – Here’s a piece of advice for all of you who aren’t dads yet; this is what you will need for the big day when your baby is born, write this down.  Go down to your local sporting goods store and pick out a ridiculous track suit and a couple of pompoms because you sir are a glorified cheerleader.  You will never feel more useless in your life because you will never be more useless in your life.  Some men have the delusion that they are helping with the birth, I’m telling you now to not be that stupid.  Childbirth is like a rollercoaster:  you may scream, you may puke, you may pass out or any number of other things, you may even have a great time!  But rest assured, just like the rollercoaster  it keeps going no matter what you’re feelings are on the matter.  So suck it up, embrace your role as an encouraging spectator, and try not to be too annoying because she’s got a lot on her mind!

For me, this was a great time to have midwives.  We had a team of four women: Jana, Jane, Claire, and Nadine (we also had one named Deborah at first but she left the practice and was replaced by Claire); you’ll notice that I didn’t include any last names on this list, I could say that was to protect their identities because my blog is so popular they would be inundated with calls and letters making impossible to do their job properly.  The truth is, for the several people that regularly read this blog (much love to you, sincerely) that really won’t be an issue; the real reason is that I never knew their last names.  We felt welcome from the first moment we were there.  I’ll never forget our first appointment because my wife had always wanted a midwife so she had written our local government about covering widwifery as a medical alternative, which they later did. On our first appointment our midwife that day, Jane, mentioned the letter and told my wife it made a difference.

The care of our midwives was a bit different (not that we really have other experience to judge from) because every appointment had its fair share of medical testing but also they always asked us how we were feeling, how was our relationship, and how I was feeling; having anyone care how I was feeling during my wife’s prenatal checkup was unexpected but it made me feel really great about the care we were receiving.  The midwives were always available for questions and concerns, they had an emergency line, an email box that was constantly monitored, and an on-call number 24/7 which was a giant load off my mind because the one thing I knew for sure was that I never wanted to be out of touch from medical expertise.

Finally, when the big day came they were amazing!  Jane was our lady, and she was great!  when she arrived I would like to say I was a little flustered, I had not slept much at all, I had no real idea what to do, and I had just flooded our bathroom!  (true story, seriously, if I have a kid and she hasn’t died or gotten seriously injured yet there is hope for you too!)  Jane was as cool as a cucumber, gave me a task to do (which I think may have had more to do with getting me out of the room than anything) set up her stuff, did a few tests and started knitting.  That’s right I said knitting! She knit my daughter a touque while my wife was in labour!  These ladies are a whole plate of awesome with a side of awesome sauce!  After Mia was born they did the follow up check-ups at our house; no, you didn’t misread that, they came to our house and they did it more than once!

The entire experience with our midwives was so great that I would recommend them to anyone!  I personally know that without widwives my wife’s pregnancy would have been so much more difficult.  From here on whenever I think of birth I think of midvives and I would like to say on behalf of myself and all the other mushy simpletons who’ve had a midwife, Thank you Ladies!  Thank you so much!  Happy International day of the midwife.

All the best,

Travis

Three of our four midwives with Sonya and Amelia.  From left to right is Nadine, Claire, and Jana.

We don’t have a nice picture of Amelia with Jane but this is a picture of her sleeping on the couch next to her best friend Baxter wearing Jane’s hat.

Posted in being a total sissy, fatherhood, Midwife, motherhood, thankfulness, The Human Condition | 1 Comment

The Extended Breastfeeding Issue At Our House

A friend of mine (not naming names) shared a picture on Facebook of her breastfeeding her three year old.  I was trying  think of a topic to write about at the time and that picture inspired me.  I know that breastfeeding is not really a fatherhood type of topic except for the fact that it is a reality for today’s family and there is a lot of misinformation out there that father’s are a bit more susceptible to.  The first fact I would like to deal with so that I can handily get it out of the way is this: To dudes everywhere “Yes! Boobies are sexy! WooHoo!”.  Alright, do you feel better now?  Deep breaths, and we’re moving on.

My wife and I have decided to practice what is commonly called extended breastfeeding.  We aren’t really practicing it yet since our little girl is only fifteen months old, but we will be.  The one problem with extended breastfeeding is the perception of others; this may seem strange to you (or maybe you’re reading this thinking exactly what I’m about to talk about) but some people really seem to think that breastfeeding after a year is wrong, and I’m not talking they think it’s a mistake, I mean that they accuse mothers of child abuse or being mentally ill for doing it.  Accusations fly like poop at the monkey cage and, much like the analogy I’m using, it stinks!

The World Health Orginization (http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/) recommends breastfeeding until at least two years of age and beyond if possible; it also recommends exclusively breastfeeding until six months which goes against what our public health nurses were recommending.  How did we deal with that?  We lied:  when the public health nurse recommended to start feeding her solids we said we would and when they asked us if she was eating solids at six months we said she was (she actually had her first solid food that night, fresh garden lettuce, and I’m fairly sure she didn’t swallow any of it).  In reality Mia didn’t really start eating solid food (other than for fun) until almost a year old at her own choice.  We provided her with solid food as much as she wanted while my wife continued nursing and when Mia finally did start eating solids regularly it was because she wanted to, not because we were forcing her.  We definitely did so having been well educated about our child’s needs; we knew that it was good and healthy for little Mia to continue breastfeeding along with the introduction of solid foods.  So why did we not get the same advice from our health care people?  As I mentioned above, there is a lot of misinformation out there.  The medical profession is operating on a paradigm that is only about one hundred years old (and hasn’t really been updated since), whereas real actual women operate on a paradigm that is millions of years old.

Getting back to my original point, there seems to be a stigma attached to breasts in the public eye (pun intended).  People in North America have been bamboobled (I’m sorry, I can’t stop myself) into somehow believing that breasts are dirty little secrets!  That they’re bawdy sexual organs that we are all better off pretending don’t exist outside of the confines of consenting adults in their own home with the curtains drawn and the lights out.  As a man, I would like to weigh in here: breasts are fantastic and I love them! (okay, I guess I didn’t get it all out before, now I promise I’m done)  I would also like to say a few words about what breasts are really all about:  the female mammary gland nourishing a child is pretty much as close as anyone can come to having a bona fide superpower!  Really think about it, most of the time they’re just there hanging out, then a woman gives birth and all of a sudden they spring into action and she’s walking around every day with perfectly prepared and nutritious baby food ON TAP!  If that doesn’t just impress the bejeezus out of you I would like to suggest that you are too jaded!  Does Optimus Prime have working mammary glands?  Can Superman feed a crying baby without notice 24/7?  No to both, and believe you me, at three a.m. when you are holding a screaming baby you would kick Superman square in the love spuds with a kryptonite wingtip if he was standing between you and the lady with the equipment!  So men, stop and take a moment to really appreciate the sweater-swaddled miracles on the lady in your life (Okay, I realize I just told you to ogle breasts, I may have a problem!) because when you really think about it, it is truly amazing.

I guess the real question comes down to: where did we go so wrong in our understanding of breastfeeding?  Our culture makes such a big deal about the sexualizing of breasts; they’re everywhere in the media, print ads and television feature them quite prominently and cable TV and movies can even show them completely uncovered, yet, when was the last time you saw them being used for their actual purpose in any of those mediums?  If you are reading this then you’re on the internet; approximately a quarter of all internet traffic is dedicated to some form of research into human sexuality (now there’s a political evasion for you).  Sex as an issue is just not avoidable (and honestly, who wants to avoid it?  there is nothing wrong with sex!), however, breastfeeding has nothing to do with sex!  If you checked the World Health Organization link above you might have noticed that they didn’t spend any time talking about the possible sexual implications of breastfeeding.  The act of breastfeeding is not sexual.  Breastfeeding IS an amazing way for the baby to bond with his or her mother and for the mother to bond with her child, it is an act of love.    There is an increasing movement of people that see no reason to stop that love at an arbitrarily determined time just because some people might think less of you for it.  Personally I’m proud of my wife for deciding to extend breastfeeding and I fully and wholeheartedly support her, she is simply an amazing mother.

I would like to clarify one thing before I go.  I realize that this blog has been very, very pro-breastfeeding.  I don’t want to leave anyone feeling weird or as if I am judging them.  I only wish an earnest congratulations to all you parents out there who are doing their best to raise their children, give yourself a pat on the back.  Our choices may not be the best for you and your child.  Any amount of breastfeeding is good, even a week is better than never!  However, as long as you love your child I would never judge you for your choices.  I guess the real point of this blog is that I would kindly ask for the same consideration.

As always, I am honoured that you took the time to read my article.

Thank you

P.S.

My wife and I were very lucky that we were with a midwife service that had a lot of information on the ins and outs of breastfeeding and could help us understand what was misinformation and what was good. For women who aren’t as fortunate there is help:

Contact La Leche League for help on breastfeeding and deciding what is best for you and your child. This non-profit international orginization is dedicated to helping you and almost certainly has people in your area.
online at: http://www.lllc.ca/
By Phone at: Breastfeeding Referral Service 1-800-665-4324
You can also find them on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/La-Leche-League-International/121276329602

Posted in A man's two best friends, Bias and intolerance, fatherhood, motherhood, Not being a sissy, The Human Condition, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Thankfulness

Considering that today is a day for anyone to stop and reflect whether you are religious or not, I thought I would say a few words about what happened to me on Thursday.

The other day I filled up with gas and picked up some propane and, of course, I had Mia with me in our Ergo carrier.  A young man named Ali helped me out and we got to talking about our daughters.  Ali was not originally from Canada and he was so filled with emotion and pride as he showed me a picture of his little girl.  His daughter is such a happy looking, chubby little girl.  He said she was a very special little girl; it took a few minutes for me to find out that she had very special needs, his daughter had serious hormone imbalances that required constant treatment and she’d been born without eyes. That really effected me, even now as I sit writing this it chokes me up a little.  You see, my daughter is sleeping in my arms right now as I type this and as I look at her I can’t help love the dickens out of her cute little face.  I couldn’t even imagine a world where I didn’t want the very best for her and would do anything for her.  Talking to a man like Ali makes me two things: thankful and humble.

Ali has to watch his daughter struggle in a way I’ve never had to, knowing there is nothing he can do, I can’t imagine anything harder.  When I ask him what it’s like to deal with his reply really left me speechless:  of all the things he could’ve said about how unfair, how hard, or how sad it is that his daughter has to go through this he didn’t say any of that.  What he talked about was how glad he was to be in this country where his little girl could get the help she needed!

Sometimes it feels like the great Canadian virtue to complain (politely) about our problems.  I’m no exception, I had spent a good part of that day running around in doctor’s offices because my wife sprained her ankle and I had been a little put out by it.  A few minutes with Ali changed that, I got over it really quickly!  I’ve never done anything to ‘earn’ living in Canada, I was born here.  People like Ali have to prove they have what it takes to be Canadians; needless to say, he proved he had the right stuff to me.  I was left wondering, do I deserve the country I was born in?

I don’t know, But I am very, very thankful to be here.

Happy Easter All.

Posted in fatherhood, thankfulness, The Human Condition | Leave a comment

Why I Like to Wear My Daughter. (or Convincing an Unwilling Man to Wear a Baby, Part II)

After my last post generated an insanely unexpected amount of interest it occurred to me that there might be a few more people than I thought who might want to convince a man to wear a baby.  After that, I decided that I should probably do a little more to help out.  So, here it is:  Part 2 of convincing a man to wear his baby.  I figure that men might be more likely to wear a baby if they heard another man’s reasons for wearing his.  So, for any ladies reading this: it’s okay, you can send this to your partner, it was meant for him.  to any husbands reading this: enjoy! There is no part one, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

Without further ado, here are the ten reasons why I love to wear my daughter:

1)  First off, I wear my daughter because I really do enjoy it, it’s fun and I think many other fathers would think so too as long as they’re brave enough to give it a try.

2)  Wearing my daughter really helped me in the attachment process.  Let’s face it guys, we aren’t our baby’s favourite person at first.  How many other men recognize that face they get when they crest the stairs or come around the corner to check in on your child when he or she is crying only to get that look that seems to say “Not you!  Go get the one with the boobs!”  I know it all too well.  Babywearing gave me a great way to spend some close time with my daughter so that I could get to know her and she could get comfortable with me.

3)  I could be productive in two different ways.  I’m a man, I like to be productive and I like to be lazy.  Babywearing gives me the opportunity to spend quality time with my daughter while accomplishing work around the house that will need to get done anyway.  Since babywearing makes me twice as productive I can give myself a little extra wind down time in the evenings when I would normally have to be doing dishes or something equally tedious because it really HAS to be done.

4)  My daughter’s sleep schedule is better.  When my daughter was younger she really fought sleep!  So, when she would want to be awake and we needed her to sleep I would put her in a carrier (for this I found my Didymos wrap to be the best) and let her fuss for a while until she tired herself out.  This allowed me to comfort her down and gave her the sleep she needed, it was win-win.  Now, her sleep schedule is fairly regular for a fourteen month old and we’re super happy about that.  Also, while she was getting cozy and happy and finally falling asleep, sometimes I could still play Wii because my hands were free, I call that win-win-win.

5)  It gives me extra time with my daughter.  This is a side benefit I didn’t see when I first started babywearing but because she felt safe and secure when I wore her, she now feels safe and secure when I hold her.  She used to fall asleep on me in the carrier all the time (which is just about the best damn thing ever by the way!) so now she falls asleep really easily when I hold her.  Since I work during the day sometimes until 5 or 6 PM and her bed time is usually around 7:30 or 8:00 putting my little girl to sleep gives me extra time with her that I wouldn’t otherwise get and since she goes down so easily for me it gives my wife a bit of a break as well.  So, until the fortune and fame of blog writing starts rolling in, I can still get some extra time with my princess.

6)  It helps me exercise more.  Do I really have to explain how carrying a twenty pound child on my person burns more calories?  It also engages my stability muscles so that if I ever burn through my pregnancy fat my washboard abs will be even more impressive!

7)  It beats the living daylights out of having a stroller.  This one is a list within a list:

  • a)  I don’t need to put my carrier in the trunk between destinations.  I can actually wear my carrier while driving (Not with the baby in it wiseacre!  Don’t anyone wear the baby while driving, I do NOT endorse that) and anywhere else, when she’s not using it I just hang it from my waist, it’s so easy!  I call it my dad apron because it looks like an apron hanging down.
  • b)  I can use it in my house.  You can use a stroller too, it just feels silly!
  • c)  It takes up no space!  I could probably fit any of my carriers in a decent sized shoe box, tell me a stroller that can do that!  It leaves my trunk free and my house less cluttered.
  • d)  I can push a shopping cart and I don’t need to put her in it.  That’s a problem with a stroller; either you have to put the baby in the cart or use the stroller as a cart you can’t do both.
  • e)  It keeps my daughter warm.  I don’t have to bundle her up like I would in a stroller because she’s wrapped up in a warm, fuzzy dad blanket inside my coat.
  • f)  A baby carrier is truly all terrain.  It goes up stairs, it goes through the turnstiles, it goes into bathroom stalls (BTW: as a man I can pee without taking my ergo off), it goes on a hike, it goes pretty much anywhere I want to go!

8)  It’s less expensive.  I’m cheap!  I like to save money any way I can.  Not only are some strollers as big as a Subaru, they almost cost as much!  Even the most posh baby carrier pales in price to the comparable stroller.

9)  My carriers are really stylish.  At the risk of sounding a bit vain, I look great when I have my favourite carrier on.  My Ergo is orange, which is my favourite colour but I also have A didymos that is reversible pink and grey (That’s right! I’m man enough to like pink!) and a babyhawk with two great patterns on it so I know whenever I step out with Mia that we are both going to look great.  It isn’t just me that thinks so, I get heaps of compliments from all kinds of different people.

10)  It really is the most manly way to be out with your baby.  With a stroller you’re hunched over, pushing, navigating around stuff, you have to keep checking your child and making all kinds of little adjustments, you have to avoid stairs, you look like a total tool at curbs, and you have the hassle of folding it up and jamming it in your trunk, in short, you have to fuss!  Fussing is NOT manly, real men do NOT fuss.  However, with a babycarrier I stand tall and proud, I can walk fast over obstacles and on any terrain I choose, NO FUSSING!  A baby carrier is THE dadcessory!

So there’s the ten best reasons I babywear, Thanks very much for reading my blog.  I challenge you to try wearing your baby and prove you don’t like it!

I have only two things to add:

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.  

2)  Some men can’t get their head around the idea of babywearing no matter what, that’s okay.  The most important thing you can do as a father is raise your children and try to be a good father, that doesn’t mean you have to wear your baby, I just think it makes life easier and better, you are under no obligation to agree with me.

Good Luck, I’m pulling for you!

Posted in babywearing, fatherhood, Not being a sissy | 3 Comments

Convincing an Unwilling Man to Wear a Baby.

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:

http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/laura_simeon.html

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/baby-wearing/what-babywearing-means-our-story

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babywearing

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!

Posted in babywearing, fatherhood, Not being a sissy | 9 Comments

The Inaugural Post

So, I have decided to start a blog. I wait patiently for the fanfare of the less than a dozen people who will read this; and then only because I pestered them to on Facebook. I decided to write a blog after the third or fourth time in the last month my wife has asked me “have you ever considered writing a blog?” in the last month. I honestly never had; I enjoy writing, I have opinions, I have written notes on Facebook on more than one occasion and had fun doing it so, I decided to give it a go. Now the hard part, what to write on my first blog?

So I decided to explain the name: Crunchy Dad, it comes from a subculture of parents that do “strange” things with their children that a hundred years ago in North America were completely normal and still are in most countries. In my case we wear our daughter, we cloth diaper her, we sleep with her, and we let her feed herself. I did not start out to be a crunchy dad, my daughter decided that for me. When I went in to parenting I had a very mainstream, commercial view of how I would be doing it: Strollers, disposable diapers, her own room, and spoonfeeding baby foodstuffs to her. I got the wrong daughter for that. We learned quickly that she was claustrophobic and did not care for sleeping alone one bit; the amount of effort we had to go through to calm her down was ridiculous. The solution to this problem was to sidecar her crib to our bed, Life got immeasurably better henceforth.

Next, she was allergic to disposable diapers, she got a rash so bad that she actually had bleeding ulcers (poor girl). Whatever we tried did not work, we even had a prescription cream that barely even slowed the rash down. Finally, we tried the one thing I was not excited to try: cloth! “Babes in Arms”, a local Calgary retailer that specializes in “crunchy parent” (or as I would prefer to put it: traditional parent) solutions had a trial pack where we could try many types of diaper (yes, there are lots of different kinds) for three weeks and if we weren’t satisfied we could return them all and get all but $25 dollars back. I’m good enough at math to know that that was a good deal but there was one big problem, we couldn’t use barrier creams with cloth diapers! I settled in for what I thought would be the fastest failure in diaper trial history figuring that if the creams were barely keeping her rash at bay then the lack of them would make her little bum into hamburger. Then the weirdest thing happened, her rash cleared up. When I say her rash cleared up, I don’t mean it slowly went away, I mean it cleared up in a mater of three days! No creams, no special treatment, no anything but cloth diapers. The change was so dramatic I could’ve kissed them except for the fact that they were still glorified poop-catchers. I am now the biggest fan of cloth diapers. Oh, and in case you were wondering we tried disposables on occasion after that just to see if it was a fluke and found that wearing them for any more than two hours made her rash start back up.

The most common question I get from people is some permutation of “you put poop in your washing machine?”; yes, but what most people don’t realize is, so does every parent. You see, one advantage of cloth diapers is that hey have elastics to keep the poop inside the diaper, disposables not so much! In fact, before using cloth I called the back of the diaper the poop funnel because of a delightful design flaw in disposable diapers that results in any poop that is runny and forceful enough (which is pretty much half of them for the first few months) to go straight up the back of the diaper and onto the baby’s clothes; there was a few times where I was actually wiping poop out from between my daughter’s shoulder blades, YUCK!!

The whole baby wearing idea was the one decision that was, at least, mutual. The choice of wearing our daughter or pushing a stroller around was pretty easy to make. Baby carriers are light, easy to use, compact and they can go anywhere we go: no brainer! Every once in a while I see some parent pushing a particularly fashionable stroller and I look with some emotion akin to jealousy and a little regret for not using a stroller myself; then I watch the poor sucker fold his stroller down to the size of an ottoman and jam it into his trunk and I’m suddenly so over it! She loves the closeness and the security baby-wearing gives her and I love it for basically the same reason. Bliss! I really can’t recommend it enough (provided you have a proper carrier, I have an Ergo, a Didymos, a BabyHawk, and a Moby. A fair amount of research should go into the decision).

To learn more about and purchase my carrier I ended up again at Babes in Arms (is there anything they can’t do). Baby-wearing is the best thing ever for a dad like me, wearing my little Amelia is such a great bonding experience and not enough fathers do it. Time and again I recommend to women to get a carrier their husband would be comfortable with as well only to be informed that their husband would never wear one. NEVER? What is wrong with these men? apparently baby-wearing is seen by some men as the fatherhood equivalent of holding their girlfriend’s purse. To these men I say: GET OVER IT YOU SISSY (actually I use different words but I’m trying to keep this entry PG) Your kid doesn’t care about your rep and whether the other adults think you’re “cool”, and besides which why would their opinion matter more than your child’s does? You know what makes your kid think that you are awesome? Being close with them for some great quality time, you’ll be the coolest dad ever!

Lastly, the baby-led weaning or as it is often called, baby-led solids. This has two aspects: extended breast-feeding and no “baby specific” food. Amelia eats what we eat and she eats it with her own hands. The upside: she gets to experience food, she can touch it, look at it, smell it and eat it; she gets to try what she chooses and pick what she wants. The downside: the mess! Mia often wears more food than she eats and she is quite generous doling out food to the dogs (by dropping it on the floor). Again, this was Mia’s decision. She wouldn’t let us put a spoon in her mouth, she had to hold it herself. My little girl has a way of getting her way, she reminds me a lot of her mom. As for the extended breast feeding, well, I think you can figure that one out: fourteen months old and going strong, booyah.

So that’s it. That is why I chose the name “Crunchy Dad”. I hope you like it. I didn’t choose the crunchy lifestyle for myself, my little girl demanded a different approach, insisted that her old dad needed to stretch his boundaries.

Thanks Mia, I owe you one!

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Posted in fatherhood | 6 Comments