Babywearing may not yet be a common practice among Filipino families but it is certainly gaining popularity through the efforts of local and international babywearing groups. Events like “International Babywearing Week” also serve to highlight the art of babywearing, and help to “celebrate, promote, advocate for, and focus media attention on the many benefits of babywearing.”
In the spirit of solidarity, we join babywearers here in the Philippines and all over the world in celebrating International Babywearing Week by sharing a few reasons why Filipino families choose the babywearing lifestyle – coming from, not moms, but dads who wear or have previously worn their children.
1. It allows for closer bonding with your child. Michael Quintana, a self-professed “tatay” to Miguel Inigo, 3, shares, “I bought my wife a Next9 Ring Sling a week before her due date. We started babywearing since Day 1 on our way home from the hospital until now that my son is nearly 4.
“We love babywearing because it allows us to bond with our child… my wife and I can also ‘HHWW’ – hold hands while walking, while I carry my child.”
JD Maligaya agrees with Michael. He wore their little girl, Jessie, now 8, for two years. “My wife had a slipped disc, so I was the only one who would do babywearing with our daughter,” JD shares. “It was like hugging our baby all the time.”
Similar to JD and Michael, Jigs Molina, father of Gav, 5, and Jam, 1, loves the bonding that takes place when he wears his child. “I love how babywearing makes me closer to my daughter, and I love how I can kiss her and smell her all the time,” he explains.
“The smell of a newborn really is magical. Practicing baby wrapping is a form of bonding between me and my daughter. It's something I want her to learn when she has a baby of her own.”
2. It’s more economical. Jinoe Gavan, founder of Takbo.ph, marathoner, and dad to 4-year-old Gab, shares, “We did babywearing for about a year, until Gab would wiggle his way out of the sling/carrier.
“Usually, I would wear him when we travel or go on a trip. We love it because we do not have to buy or bring heavy and expensive strollers.”
Michael adds, “Babywearing is economical too; we don't have to ride a taxi, which we should if we brought a stroller with us instead of using a baby sling."
3. It gives you and your child more freedom. Babywearing can be quite liberating for both parent and child. Jinoe shares, “We preferred using the baby carrier or sling so that Gab would have more freedom to move and observe his surroundings.”
JD adds his two cents’ worth: “I like that babywearing allows us to be more mobile, compared to if we had a stroller.”
4. It can help your baby fall asleep more easily. According to well-known pediatrician Dr. William Sears, babywearing is one way by which you can put your child to sleep. Jigs has actually proven that this is true. “We’ve been babywearing for one year,” he shares. “I babywear since I find it more comfortable to move around in with a small baby, plus it's easy to lull a baby to sleep inside a carrier.”
Jigs adds, “I taught my partner how to babywear to help her carry our baby when I am not around since she has mild scoliosis.”
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5. It helps Dad to have a more active role in caring for the kids. Jay Palacpac, dad to Pablo, 10, Lukas, 6, and Judah, 4, shares, “We’ve been babywearing since 2009, when Lukas was born. I was the one who used the sling more than my wife, May. She wasn’t comfortable using it.”
“Babywearing became very useful, especially when we had Judah. Lukas was too big for the stroller and with another young child to assist, the stroller can be bulky and sometimes hard to maneuver in public places.
“I liked that babywearing allowed me to do our ministry while carrying our baby around, especially when May got pregnant with our third child and couldn’t run after the kids,” Jay continues.
“It was convenient when we would bring the kids to parties or join gatherings where there isn’t space to push the stroller around or when we have to climb steps. I could hold my two other kids while carrying the baby when we’re crossing the street.”
6. It makes a dad “look great.” If you’re a mom reading this, you would probably agree that the image of a babywearing man usually makes you go, “Awww…” – because you know that not all men would choose to wear their babies, perhaps at the risk of looking less “masculine.” On the contrary though, babywearing dads like Michael know better: “The best part about babywearing? I am always a head turner, plus 1,000 pogi points!”
Now, it’s time for YOU to weigh in: Are you a babywearing dad or mom? What do you like about babywearing? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below!