As you may know my son and I were voted “Face of the Fair” for this year’s Wear a Hug Fair! As part of that I did a blog interview for the Babywearing Ireland Newsletter. So for those of you who didn’t see it you can read it below, and you can also sign up for the Babywearing Ireland Newsletter here so you never miss out on any of the great stuff in there again!
Babywearing Ireland’s (BWI) annual ‘Wear a Hug’ Fair, will take place on Sunday 27 September at the Glenroyal Hotel, Maynooth from 10am-6pm. Now in its fourth year, the Fair has grown in popularity and is an eagerly anticipated date in the Irish babywearing calendar. The Wear a Hug Fair is now Ireland’s largest gathering of babywearers with over 1000 attending last year. Here is the interview, hope you enjoy it!
Ciarán, Tell me a bit about yourself.
I’m a first time Dad, and loving it! Living in Kerry with my beautiful girlfriend Katie and our perfect little boy. He’s 8 and a half months old now, and the best little man. He loves his wrap cuddles with both Mom and Dad. I’m a full time student in IT Tralee just heading into my fourth and final year.
Tell me about that first time you wore your son when he was just six weeks old.
My partner always intended on babywearing, but I was very skeptical. I thought I’d only do it in a plain structured carrier, and mainly just at home. The first few times with the SSC were amazing. I loved how close my baby was to me and there’s nothing like the feeling of him asleep on me. I was amazed at how quickly he settled when being worn and how much we bonded. The SSC got me hooked and once I wrapped with a woven it was love! I knew I had to share my experiences and love of it with other dads.
Did you find using your local sling library and meeting other babywearing parents useful?
My local sling library and the national library which is also very close are fantastic. The first wrap and ring sling I used were from the Kerry library, and Sinead was great showing me how to use them properly and safely. Tania from the national library has been brilliant too, she showed me how to back carry with wraps and got me into my first SSC before I even had a little baby.
You have tried a lot of slings and carriers, do you use sscs, ring slings, Mai Tais, wraps in different circumstances or do you have a favourite type, are some more ‘manly’ than others?
Wraps would have to be my favourite, they are just so comfortable and versatile. I loved stretchy wraps when he was smaller but it’s all woven now. I find myself using a Mei Tai most days too, they are great for getting on quickly and still provide most of the comfort of a wrap. There’s always one in the car for the shops, much handier than a buggy! I’ll really use anything at this stage, but thinking about it now woven wraps and Mei Tai’s get the most use. I don’t think any type of carrier is manlier than any other, it’s all about personal preference, what you feel comfortable with and what makes you feel confident. Is there anything more manly than being the best Dad you can be? Wearing my baby has given us an amazing bond, provided me with a way to settle him under any circumstance and just made us so close in a way that I don’t think could be replicated in any other way.
Talk to me about wovens, all of dads settle for the sscs and are a bit hesitant to learn how to wrap.
I absolutely love woven wraps. I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to use loads now and they are definitely my go to carrier if I’m going to be wearing for a long period of time, or putting him down for a nap. There are loads of different ways you can use them but to be honest I have two carries I like and they are all I use 90% of the time. I would urge all dads to at least give wovens a go. Even if they only do it at home. They are much more comfortable for at home too, you can sit down in them with a knot on the front (to play Xbox!). Getting my partner to wrap my little baby to me was the best thing I’ve done, and she had to wrap him to me a good few times, it took a while for me to get it right by myself! You can get some really awesome wraps too, and it’s so easy to transfer him to his cot from a wrap when he falls asleep to allow me to get other jobs done.
What advice would you give to other dads who are keen to babywear but don’t know where to start?
Definitely go to a babywearing consultant and sling meetings. It’s great to be able to try different carriers and get shown how to wear them properly so they are comfortable for both Dad and baby. If you and baby are not comfy it’s not going to work, and you won’t have a good experience. Also rent from a local library or borrow from a friend before you buy. Some wraps/ carriers are very expensive and there are so many types it’s a bit overwhelming at the start. You might end up spending a lot of money on something you might not like afterwards and won’t get use out of.
Any advice for those women who would love to encourage their other halfs to babywear?
Tell them to look at my page and other babywearing dad pages on Facebook/Twitter etc. Show them that it is manly, men do wear their babies with pride, and that there are manly and cool carriers and wraps out there. It’s not all rainbows and flowers, there’s skulls and comic book characters out there too!
What is next on your babywearing journey?
I think more back carries with woven wraps! My little fella is a wriggler and it’s really difficult to get him on my back in a wrap. He mostly goes up in a Mei Tai at the moment but I’d love to get more use out of my shorter wraps. Apart from that just continue trying to encourage as many Dads as possible to wear their babies and hopefully they will love it as much as I do.
You were selected as the 2015 Face of the Wear A Hug Fair, will people be able to meet you at the Fair?
Yes of course, I’ll be there all day. I’m giving a little talk for the dads on the day and I’ll be at the babywearing Ireland library table in the afternoon if anyone wants to meet me. I’ll also have some of my ‘dad friendly’ wraps and carriers that I have reviewed to show to the dads and they can try them if they like.
What do you do when you are not babywearing?
At the moment I’m doing a lot of babywearing as it’s the summer holidays! Soon though it’s back to college for the final year of my honours degree and that will take up a lot of my time with reports and projects. I have a motorcycle that I don’t get to take out as much anymore but I do enjoy it when I get the chance! I’m a wildlife biologist so I love being outdoors, walking in woodlands, bogs etc. taking in the wildlife finding little creatures and plants.
Babywearing for you in three words
Hands Free Hugs!
How can people get in contact with with Ciarán – The Babywearing Dad?
My Facebook is http://www.facebook.com/bwdads
Twitter and Instagram are @CiaranTheBWDad
WordPress blog is http://www.ciaranthebabywearingdad.wordpress.com