Using a baby sling is one of the most practical ways for dads to bond and enjoy spending time with their children.
Some dads may be put off using a sling by suggestions, perhaps in the media, that it’s not a ‘manly’ activity. This toxic masculinity is very misinformed. In fact, studies have shown how crucial the baby-father bond is, and that babies with strong attachments to their fathers may form more secure relationships, be more sociable as they get older, and promote better language development and cognitive skills.
This outdated attitude is changing and many dads enjoy carrying their babies. This increase in popularity is helped by sightings of well-known babywearing celebrities including; Chris Hemsworth, Ryan Reynolds, John Legend and Kevin Hart, who have all been spotted carrying their newborns.
Often dads are happy to carry their older children on their shoulders when they tire, but carrying younger babies is just as important. It frees up your hands to do other things, helps you care for your baby while your partner has a break, and it can offer more options and freedom on family days out. And slings aren’t just for newborns; using a carrier with a toddler or preschooler can be more comfortable than carrying in arms and be a fun experience for you both.
What Should a New Dad Look For in a Baby Sling?
Different slings work for different families, so it’s often useful to start by thinking about what you want in a sling and when you’ll use it to carry your baby.
- How long will you carry your baby?
- Does the sling safely and comfortably support your child?
- Is it for quick cuddles, long hikes or both?
- What about longevity? Do you want it to last well into toddlerhood and even beyond?
- Will you be sharing the sling with your partner, or other family members, so you need it to easily fit different people?
- Is it comfortable and are you confident using it?
- What climate do you live in, does your sling need to be lightweight?
Baby Slings Which are Great for Dads
These are a great option for dads, especially if you find buckle carriers aren’t comfortable or don’t fit well. Baby wraps work for all shapes and sizes of parent and come in lots of different lengths and blends so you can choose what suits your family and environment best.
A wrap is ideal if you want comfort and to share with a partner because you can tie this beautiful fabric in many different ways, making it the most versatile way to carry your child.
A woven wrap is length of fabric, specially designed to be tied in different ways that allow you to comfortably carry your baby from newborn to preschool. The soft fabric of a wrap moulds around you both, allowing you to adjust each millimetre of fabric to exactly fit your baby. This ensures your little one is safe, comfortable and secure in their natural newborn position and will continue to offer lots of support as they grow.
Woven wraps come in different sizes and buying a wrap in your 'Base Size' is a great place to start. Your Base Size is the length you need to do a Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC), which is the carry most parents learn first.
|Men’s Clothing Size (t-shirt, top, jacket)||
Note: If you are tall (6’3"+) or have a baby who is more than 12 months old, we would suggest going one size up.
How To Tie a Woven Wrap
A FWCC is an ideal way to learn how to use a wrap. It teaches you how to create a seat, keep tension and tighten the fabric.
Once you’ve mastered this you can move on and try other carries. You can share the same wrap with a partner, even if you’re different sizes, because there are so many different ways to carry your child and tie the wrap.
If you’re using a longer wrap, you will simply be left with longer 'tails' (unwrapped lengths of fabric) or you can experiment with more complicated carries.
Using a smaller size will mean finishing your carry by tying under their bum, tying a shoulder or using a ring finish, which requires less length. You can also change the style of carry you use - you might not be able to do a FWCC, but there are hundreds of other carries to experiment with and you're sure to find one which suits you and your little one.
If you’re looking for a sling that is quick and easy to use, many dads love ring slings. They fit any frame and allow you to snuggle a newborn comfortably on your chest, or carry an older baby or toddler on your hip, giving them a great view of the world while allowing you to interact with them.
Ring slings are comfortable, and quick to use, have a low learning curve and are ideal for all ages; from newborn to older children who like to be up and down often.
Ring slings are specially woven wrap fabric with a set of safety tested rings at one end. The sling is secured on one shoulder through the rings and you can carry your child on your front or hip. They hold your child in the ‘M’ position which is optimum for hip development, and the ergonomic positioning is comfortable for the wearer too.
They are also easily shared between parents, as they can be loosened and tightened again and again with no need to re-thread the slings each time and fit universally.
Ring slings are a great lightweight option, perfect for keeping in a bag when they’re not being used. They’re also breathable and cool thanks to the single layer of fabric and the airy nature of a one-shoulder carry.
Baby carriers are popular with dads as they are widely portrayed in the media, so are familiar to many people, and are quick to use. Many are easily adjusted to allow different people to use them. They can often be used from newborn until around 2 years. A well-fitted, wide-based carrier will support your baby in their natural position which promotes optimal development of the hips.
Some dads may find it tricky to get a good fit around the torso with a buckle carrier and may prefer a tie-on or half-buckle carrier. These feature tie-on shoulder straps which mimic the snug feeling of a woven wrap and, like a woven wrap or ring sling, mould around the wearer's body allowing for easy adjustability and no digging. This is another great option to share between partners.
This style of carrier is perfect if you want a sling that is very comfortable and supportive but quicker to use than a woven wrap.
A baby sling is often viewed as an essential purchase for new parents and rightly so. Carrying your baby in a sling has so many advantages and can be an especially lovely activity for dads. Woven wraps, ring slings and well-fitted baby carriers all offer comfortable, supportive ways to carry your baby, with the advantage that they can all be easily shared between partners.
The International Hip Dysplasia Institute acknowledges that Oscha Woven Wraps, Ring Slings and Cairis are “hip-healthy” baby carriers (when used as directed). This means that Oscha slings provide the correct support to your child’s hips, encouraging the normal hip joint development that is especially important during the child’s first 6 months.
If you need further help choosing the right sling read our helpful guide.
Here at Oscha we have a number of babywearing consultants who are on hand to help you with your choice of carrier and to advise you on getting the best fit from your sling. We are available Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm (GMT/BST) via email or by using the chat button in the corner of the screen.
Written by Jillyan Graham
Jill is a Baby Carrying Consultant based in the Scottish Borders and is Mum to two girls. For more info about the work that she does visit - Carry Me Round