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Happy "International Babywearing Week"!
While the practice of carrying babies in a sling, wrap or carrier has been around for millennia, each new generation of parents puts their own spin on it. And it's not just for moms, as dads across the country are proving this week in a series of babywearing outings across the country with the City Dads Group.
"We're such an active community of dads," said Lance Somerfield, a teacher-turned-full-time-dad who founded the City Dads Group through Meetup. "A few years ago, we stumbled upon the fact that this was a holiday, and we thought it'd be really good to head to different iconic locations and take photos of us babywearing."
So... why is babywearing deserving of its own week?
"It's essentially just bonding with your baby while you hold them in their carrier," explained Somerfield. "And when you throw a holiday behind it, you've got a fun, engaging day for dads."
City Dads Group is all about promoting dads bonding with their children, so the babywearing concept works well, Somerfield said: "Especially when the babies are at this age where they’re 0-2, you know, you can only bond with them in so many ways."
City Dads Group's NYC chapter organized a babywearing dads walk at the Bronx Zoo over the weekend, and according to Somerfield, "you would've thought the parade of babywearing dads was an actual exhibit at the zoo, given the stares from onlookers."
Though he won't be babywearing forever — Somerfield's son, Jake, is 7, and his daughter, Jade, is 6 months — Somerfield and co-founder Matt Schneider believe the actual activity is symbolic of something larger.
"To keep them close to your chest is really pretty special, even if it's a simple thing. And we want to celebrate that."