If a guy does a Google search for the terms “dad” and “baby carrier,” the most highly ranked results he’ll find display the image of a camouflage print contraption, modeled by a headless female. Such is the state of affairs for men trying to find a caddy for their precious cargo. Not only is it the general assumption that in order for men to appreciate baby gear, it has to look like a leftover prop from the set of ‘Rambo’ (Isn’t that the stereotype dads who use carriers are trying to shake?), marketers don’t even bother to actually get a man to stand in for the photograph touting the gear.
The ‘Ask Dr. Sears’ website proclaims the importance of father engrossment (involvement to a higher degree) in shaping a baby’s life. “Bonding with baby right after birth brings out sensitivity in dad,” reads one online entry. Carrying the baby allows a freshman dad to have physical involvement with his neonate; and experts agree that once a father establishes a physical connection with his newborn, an emotional bond quickly follows. It makes the new responsibility of fatherhood real, and helps Mom achieve a faster postpartum recovery.
As a sensitive, somewhat geeky guy searching for the perfect carrier, I briefly considered the Daddy Camo Baby Carrier Cover, and then moved on. Andrea Sinor, who is in charge of Press Relations over at DadGear (purveyors of everything cool and dadly – such as the totally dad diaper vest) turned me on to Belle (pronounced ‘belly’). Belle has a line of carriers designed by Seth Murray and Mark LeBeau, “fathers and outdoor enthusiasts.” “YES!” Happy with the tip, I headed on over to the Belle website only to behold… more moms using carriers. Confused, I contacted Seth to see what gives.
Seth concurred that there should be more images of men on the Belle website, but was quick to make another point. “My goal was to make modern carriers that look great on both moms and dads,” he said. “Nine of them are targeted gender neutral, but many people often comment on how they look dad specific… The Organic Black, Organic Denim, Organic Moss, and Organic Sand frequently get these comments… Even our Lilac has been bought by men…”
It was hard to disagree with Seth. If male sensitivity is the goal, there really isn’t a color or pattern for that. It’s a sense of style and comfort that’s most important. The Belle line is sleek and modern and, designed by dads, it’s adjustable to fit the male body-type (though comfort for moms is still the main focus). “The Organic Sand is one of my favorites,” continued Seth, “very rugged and earthy looking.”
My search for a baby carrier ended with my discovery of Belle. The organic choices they offer were perfect for me. Besides, as dads themselves, I trust that Seth and Mark know what works best for men wanting to embrace their maternal side.
Belle carriers start at $89.99.