Babywearing for Dads (Baby Bjorn and SnugBaby Reviewed)

Dads, this is something you really should be thinking about!

Babywearing is great for us dads, especially in that that we can calm our babies excellently using the closeness of a baby carrier. The bass vibrations of our voice can have great calming affect on baby. One of the things I never tired of when carrying our children was just tilting my head and being able to gently kiss the top of their head. I also previously mentioned postnatal depression and the causes, one of these being not feeling bonded with baby… well babywearing is a great way to bond with your baby.

I think for mum and dad, one of the great things about babywearing, is being able to do so many things whilst sharing the experience of what you are doing at same time. For baby, too commonly their view of the world for first 9 months or so, is the sky, from laying in their pram as we shop, walk or generally get about. Through babywearing, they get to see everything we see, which obviously has to support their development. I used to find myself pointing things out and talking about them whilst carrying the kids, but in retrospect, I realise that when I was pushing them in a pram, we didn’t really engage with them!

What one do I need?

As with everything baby-related, the choice seems to be endless!! They actually fall into four main categories (I’m bound to get contradicted with on that point but hey, my blog my rules, sorry private blogger joke…)

Baby Sling Style

Relatively simple to use. It’s also a favorite amongst mums who like the ease and privacy it provides for breastfeeding. Although they are quite versatile and can be adjusted to a hip carry for older kids, not the type I ever got on with and one I rarely see men using. The other drawback is they tend to be size dependant for wearer, so not great for couple who want to use same carrier.

Mei Tai

At the end we review the SnugBaby take on this type. They are also known as an Asian Baby Carrier (or ABC). Basically a rectangle piece of fabric with four straps, two for the shoulders and two for around the waist. The straps are criss crossed and tied for security. Mei tai carriers, tend to distribute the weight more evenly than most and can be used in almost all carrying styles. Most are not recommended for newborns (unless its a SnugBaby) but can be used right into toddlerhood. Probably too quickly dismissed by many, I know I certainly did as a new dad, but wouldn’t anymore.

Baby Wrap

These are basically just a large piece of fabric. They can be used in huge array of different styles, but the drawback is the wearer has to learn how to safely tie each style! For this reason I am not keen from male perspective, although I can see that if you are using them daily you will quickly remember the different ways to tie them. However, I feel for dads, who maybe are only getting opportunity to babywear at the weekends, just too much time and stress re learning how to tie it each time!

Back Pack (or Front Pack) Baby Carrier

Probably the most common sort that you will see dad carrying baby in. Personally, I think this is only because the manufacturers of theses types recognised huge male market and addressed it. The other types of carriers have very minimal promotion of use by dads. I am also reviewing the Baby Bjorn active carrier, one that I also used with my children. These are pretty restricted in carrying styles, but easy to use and quite masculine in appearance.

So onto our reviews!

Baby Bjorn Active

This was carrier we bought for our son and then used also with our daughter. This really became my carrier, not sure if this was because Steph wasn’t keen on it or because setting it up is like getting your seat position right in the car, only for someone else to drive it and change all the settings! So if she did use it and naturally would have to change the set up, she wouldn’t hear last of it from me! Come on guys, you know what I mean, right?

Overall this is a simple to use, functional, mid budget carrier. It is comfortable to wear and easy on the back.

When you first receive the carrier, it is in two parts, I know we hate instructions, but use them! I did the typical male thing, ignored the instructions, spent 30 mins trying to figure it out… only to then read the instructions and have it ready to go 5 minutes later! Once you have got it together, you will spend some time setting the carrier up to suit yourself. This is probably the main drawback to the Baby Bjorn, if you are going to share the carrier you will be forever re adjusting it to suit each other. It is also claimed to be breastfeeding friendly which I would dispute. I know a few women that have tried and it is certainly not easy or discreet to achieve.

All that aside, I loved MINE. Yes, once it became just mine, I really enjoyed using it. I would wear it at every opportunity and carry the kids. It is really comfortable and the large padded straps ensure you hardly feel you are wearing it. Spending time getting it set right is worth it, as you can then carry your baby for hours with back pain or discomfort. Small minor point is that it only has two positions, facing in or facing out on your chest. This also limits how long you will be able to wear it as the kids get older. They are cool looking though and I think actually one of the few baby products that strike me as male orientated, and made with men in mind. So the Baby Bjorn Active gets a FOUR Star Review

SnugBaby

I’m not sure why, but when I went out to review the SnugBaby, it didn’t exactly fill me with excitement. Maybe because of the 99% focus on women on the website, maybe just the designs were not masculine enough or appealing, or maybe it was the thought of having to learn to tie it (sounds complicated!). However, as you read on you will see my opinion changed! The SnugBaby comes in number of options and designs, and is a variation on the Mei Tai carrier. SnugBaby is suitable for use from newborn right up to toddler. (Yes, to put it fully to the test, I even carried my nearly three year old in it, quite comfortably too!)

 

OK, wow, what a convert I became, once I got the hang of it, I loved it. The basic ties are a doddle, and even the back carry takes no time at all to get a grips of. I really thought my two kids would challenge the SnugBaby claim that it is suitable even for toddlers… especially with them being 23 months and even 35 months!! Not at all, had my little girl up and carried within minutes and she loved it! My concern over back support was unfounded, I found the carrier comfortable and supportive, the wide straps where they cross the back ensure maximum support and spreading of the child’s weight. The carrier itself is so lightweight, and add to that the multiple different positions you can use it in, I really think this is superb! Also, there is no problem in any number of people using the carrier, as there are no settings to remember… put it on, tie it up and away you go… it really is that simple. Honestly guys, take long hard look at this one, don’t dismiss it because of the female-orientated website or the colour schemes. The product itself gets a resounding FIVE star review the website and marketing approach unfortunately only get a THREE star review and again thats boosted by the product.

To be clear these reviews are from a dads perspective, I am not a babywearing expert and I am aware the different opinions exist regarding different carriers types. I am hopeful we will have full guest blog on baby wearing from expert shortly.

14 thoughts on “Babywearing for Dads (Baby Bjorn and SnugBaby Reviewed)

  1. Disclaimer, I’m not an expert. But as I understand it, the baby bjorn outwards facing carry is not at all good for babies. I’d recommend you look at the ergo or connecta, both very easy to use and popular with baby wearing dads I know. Maybe ask Papa Kangaroo what he recommends?

    • I am aware that they shouldn’t be used as outwards facing until they can hold head unaided or their terminology ” hold head and shoulders up unaided” but wasn’t aware of any specific problems with active. That is good general advice for baby wearing. Hopefully Ian will pop by and give us the benefit of his wisdom.

      • I’m very late to this post, apologies. I echo what LiveOtherwise says: don’t have your baby facing out. It might look cute, and I must confess I used to do it myself before I realised how bad it was. But:

        Basically, your baby can easily get overwhelmed by visual stimuli. If she’s facing in, all she needs do is nestle her head against you. When she’s ready, she will raise her head again and resume taking in the world. If she’s facing out, she cannot control the input, and is very likely to become highly distressed.

        There are also, and I will try to be careful how I phrase this, ah, questions over how well the Baby Bjorn supports the hips of the infant, whether facing in or out. It is not a carrier I would recommend.

        • Thanks for your comments, please don’t feel need to hold back. I think you are best placed to give correct advice, and this is point of piece. I can only do it from my perspective as dad, I am certainly no expert, so would welcome anything you can advise my new and expectant dads.

          For readers Papa Kangaroo is man after my own heart, he is the only male Die Trageschule trained Babywearing consultant in the UK.

  2. first time i have been here – i like it 🙂 might recommend to my clients? (will e-mail you re that)

    just a couple of quick thoughts from me on this post tho x – more pictures? esp dads wearing children – what about wearing when another comes along? ie wearing siblings or twins? the first picture – great its a guy but the BEST way of babywearing surely is to have your baby snuggled to you and as there are rules re when babies can face out a pic of babies facing in would be much better? i also feel you have dissmissed the wrap and the comment re sharing slings? – working together, not spending too much and having a carrier/sling/wrap the baby is familier with is surely a much more sensible option? most you can adjust and re a wrap – yeah they are made to length but get one for the tallest person and the smaller one can tie the extra fabric up x

    not being too critical – just honest – hope you would do the same to me 🙂 xx

    • I think you miss point it is not a pro baby wearing piece it is just my experiences regarding baby wearing and a product review of two products I was sent. I am not expert on the subject and don’t profess to be one. I hope to have a piece written by Ian who is the first man in the UK to be certified by the Die Trageschule babywearing network which will approach the subject from different perspective.

      Some of the points are easily answered, try finding pictures of dads with slings etc almost impossible, even the baby carrier manufacturers seem to neglect dads when it comes to wearing. Hence my comments to Snugbaby on their marketing/website. Brilliant sling but would be surprised if many men order a sling from them. I would love more encouragement and support for dads to baby wear as there are benefits to the whole family.

  3. I think it’s great that you use a sling. I had a baby bjorn when C was young and loved it up until she was about 8 months old and she then got quite heavy and the shoulder straps weren’t very supportive. My husband refused point blank to ever wear this sling, more from a vanity point of view than anything else though.

    I spent hours on the internet trying to decide which sling to get next and I decided I wanted a mei-tai style one but I wasn’t keen on the tying so I eventually opted for a Rose & Rebellion carrier which has buckles and could be adjusted easily. The great thing about this was that it was reversible so mums could choose a pretty style but if the dad didn’t want to walk around with a flowery sling on it could be used with the plain black side out.

    My husband did wear this sling a couple of times when we were camping but he was still very self-conscious!

    Great post anyway (after all my rambling!)

    • Thank you for your comments and compliments. Think baby wearing a must for any dad even just occassionally

  4. It was a life send when hubs wore our children. Both girls were 9lb2 babies and to be honest after 9 months of carrying the blighters it was nice to have the time off. We had a similar design to the baby bjorn and again I could never work out how to put the damned thing on but hubs seemed to use it no problem. Both girls were worn from forward to outer facing and they loved it as did he.
    Great post

    BNM

    • I agree, perfect for dads to take some of load off mum, also seems to stop babies squirming and wanting to be held by mum. I loved carrying my two.

      Thanks for commenting glad you enjoyed the post

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  6. Over the course of three children we have had FIVE carriers: Two slings, a Baby Bjorn, a Snugli and the Ergo Baby.

    The Bjorn is definitely the best looking and easiest to use. The clips and connectors are very intuitive and it’s easy to get smaller infants into it.

    My big complaint is that when the kids get larger (or if you wear it for more than 20 minutes at a time) it really starts to kill your back. This is because the design keeps all the weight on your shoulders. It’s like wearing a backpack BACKWARDS!

    The “Active” version has wider straps and a which provide additional support for a small improvement over the “Original,” but it still puts all the weight on your shoulders, pulling them forward. The additional strap is still too high to put the weight on your hips.

    If you backpack, you know what I’m talking about. A lightweight daypack is fine for lugging 20 lbs of textbooks from class to class, but if you want to be able to hike for an hour with 40 lbs you have to shift the weight from your shoulders to your hips.

    If you only plan to use this when grocery shopping and think you’ll give it up when they’re 6 months old, this might be for you. If you think you might want to go to the park and hang out, or use it even when the kid starts to crawl, then the Ergo Baby is probably more your speed.

    p.s. this is coming from a guy who is 6′, 180# and fit. My wife is smaller and far more critical of the ergonomics of this carrier.

    If you’ve found this review helpful, please let me know!

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