Babywearing and Boys

I had a baby girl first. I think the gender of your first child sort of becomes the ‘default’ gender in your mind. When I found out that I was expecting a boy the second time around I was sort of at a loss. By that time I had over 3 years of parenting a girl under my belt, adding a boy to the mix sort of scared me. Could I mother a boy as well as I mothered a girl? Would it be exactly the same, or would it be different?

My first trip to a baby store in search of cute boy clothes did nothing to make me feel better. It is an uncontested fact that girls’ clothes are cuter. Way cuter. And also more fun. Way more fun. Dresses, tights, teeny barrettes, and sparkly shoes. Plus, in a pinch, it’s fine to dress a girl in boys’ clothes, but the other way around is not so cool. In fact, realizing I may never use Hannah’s little baby outfits again caused a late-pregnancy breakdown.

But, as it turns out, the baby clothes were not the only things that have been relegated to the closet. I’ve also packed away some of my baby carriers. As I realized in the 5 minutes I spent in the babywearing business, we all ooh and ahh over pretty baby carriers, but the gender neutral ones are what most everyone wants. Because either they want to share the carrier with their husband or use it to carry their son. Either way, as lovely as pink and floral are, they’re probably not what you actually go with in the end.

Jacob in my 'gender neutral' Kozy carrier

Jacob in my 'gender neutral' Kozy carrier

Since Jacob was born, I have been sticking with the gender neutral baby carriers too. My Kozy carrier, especially, sees a lot of use. Not that Kozy carriers are always gender neutral, they’re absolutely not. It just so happens that mine is, and so that’s one of the reasons it’s seeing the most use. I also happen to love the long body, but really it’s mostly the fabric I chose.

Jacob in my 'girly' Freehand carrier

Jacob in my 'girly' Freehand carrier

I used the Kozy with Hannah, but I also used a lot of rather pretty mei tais, too. One of my own, in pink and brown, was a go-to carrier for me. I also have a purple floral Freehand carrier with embroidery on the straps. It’s beautiful and expensive, even though I bought it second-hand. It was a splurge, and it was Hannah’s personal favourite. I think the last time I wore her in it she was over 3 years old. In fact, she would still go for rides in it if I let her, but since I’m generally carrying or wearing Jacob it’s not an option.

Another shot of the Freehand

Another shot of the Freehand

Because I love the Freehand so much I still use it around the house. It’s perfectly functional, and Jacob is far too young to care whether a baby carrier is girly or not. But I can’t quite bring myself to use it at the grocery store. It’s my own hang-up, I know, but it’s the honest truth. So the pretty carriers may still see the light of day from time to time, but that light is filtered through my living room windows.

I have friends who insist that the baby carrier is something that you (the mom or dad) is wearing. It’s an article of your clothing that the baby just happens to be riding in. And you wouldn’t give a second thought to wearing a girly shirt simply because you have a baby boy strapped to you, so there’s no need to give a second thought to your choice of baby carrier. On the one hand, I can see their point. On the other hand, so many strangers still refer to my little man as “she” that adding a girly baby carrier to the mix just seems like too much.

Now, be honest with me. Would you wear a baby boy in a pretty pink carrier? Or would you stick with basic black when push comes to shove?

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  1. I wear my son in a pink Moby.

  2. oooh….that is a pretty Freehand! 🙂

  3. I’m honestly not sure. I never knew what I was having, so my sling was blue plaid. I think Jacob looks great in the Freehand — it’s really not obnoxiously girly, it’s pretty subtle. I probably wouldn’t be overjoyed about carrying a boy around in a pink sling, but then the pink sling wouldn’t match most of my clothes. I think the sling matching the Mom rather than the baby makes a fair amount of sense. (That Freehand goes great with your purple sweater!)
    p.s. if I’d had the girl first I would have been bitter about not reusing the clothes too. Eve looks adorable in Angus’s old too-big t-shirts, though.

  4. I wouldn’t wear a pretty pink carrier, boy or girl 😉 I like more funky ones. But to answer the question, if I loved the carrier then yes. For me it’s about my style.

  5. It wouldn’t matter to me if the carrier was pink, green, lavender or rainbow. I’m more concerned with making sure my daughter is comfortable than worrying about what kind of fashion statement I’m making.

  6. My personal style tends more towards reds and blacks, so it didn’t make that much of a difference when I was picking a (red and black) sling for my son.

    We do have a pink stroller that we use only in the house. Our nanny’s back was getting tired from carrying the baby around so much while getting things done for our preschooler, so we came up with the idea of a clean, indoor-only stroller to roll him around. My husband went out to get an inexpensive model at Babies R Us, and they only had pink in stock. It wasn’t worth a second trip, so he got pink. No guest has ever said anything about it, but I probably wouldn’t take it outside the house.

  7. Oh – I forgot to say that I love how the Freestyle looks!

  8. It’s very true what you say about girls’ clothes being way cuter – the colours are more vibrant, the styles more varied. I was thrilled with my first, a boy, but used to yearn a bit to shop in the girls’ section…

    As for the carriers – I also see the point about feeling that a carrier is an extension of your own clothes, but I’d probably do the same as you and use a gender neutral or more boyish one for outings. If you think about it, people tend to use “colour coded” baby blankets, and I think carriers are viewed the same way.

    Anyway, it wasn’t an issue for me with my kids, since I had a blue patterned sling when my boy was born, but I wasn’t crazy about it and ditched it when my girl was born, in favour of a gender neutral one (hoped my husband would use it too, but that was a vain hope!).

  9. I had two boys so I never went through the change of gender thing. In fact, in my family we only know “boys”. I am an Aunt to 6 boys. There are no girls in our family. My parents have 8 Grandsons.

    My mom is dying to buy a dress for a grandchild.

    I love your carriers. Such variety. I have one to my name but I love it.

  10. I stand by my view that it is something YOU accessorize with your own wardrobe, so if you are comfortable wearing it girly, go for it!!

    This was a topic at the Babywearing Conference last summer in Chicago and the fashion expert said slings match moms, not babies! But of course, do what YOU feel is right!


  11. It is funny that you wrote this. I have been wanting a more gender neutral carrier (we have a lavender Moby Wrap) in case baby number three is a boy. But Hubby told me no I needed the girly one so people would know my daughter was a girl. At least until she gets enough hair for pig tails. 🙂

  12. We discussed this when I won a ring sling – I LOVE pink, but we thought it would be wierd to wear a boy in a pink sling.

  13. Julia @ A Little Bit of All of It

    I totally wear my little guy in my pretty carriers. In fact, I prefer the girly ones. Since my husband won’t babywear, I never have had to consider that either. 🙂 The majority of my carriers are probably feminine. 🙂

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