Viklefar Is Danish for 'Babywearing Dad' and We Need to Start Saying It
You've heard of hygge, the concept of being cozy and connected in the winter. The next big trend out of Denmark is viklefar, which means "wrap-dad."
You've probably already heard that Denmark is consistently ranked among the best countries to raise a child. They get a round of applause for their progressive parental leave and shared parenting policies, which include taking 14 days of leave after birth or at any time in the first 14 weeks, 32 weeks of paid parental leave (which is shared between the two parents), and an optional further 32 weeks unpaid leave, also shared between the parents. The country is also home to a word and a concept that U.S. parents have become fascinated by: hygge, Danish for "cozy," which encourages us to slow down, unplug, and connect with family and friends.
But hygge is far from the only Danish word/concept that we could stand to embrace. The next big thing from the Nordic country? Viklefar, which directly translated means "wrap-dad." Yep, they have their very own word for dads who babywear. Insert all the heart-eyes emojis.
"Babywearing is gaining more and more traction in Denmark," notes Aja Guldhammer, founder of Carrytales, a global marketplace for secondhand (or "reloved") baby carriers and wraps. "It has definitely been a big thing for moms in 2019, and now we see more and more dads picking it up too, so to speak."
What Danish Dads Are Saying
Daniel Baun, HR manager for men's accessories brand Trendhim, is a fan and participant of the viklefar trend, sharing, "I used it with all three of my sons. First, because it is super practical: You don't have to bother with a pram, you can just get your baby on and go around in the city to run your errands with two free hands. Second, because it is a bit hyggeligt." He also attests to babywearing helping him "create a nice bond" with his children.
Torben Lonne, a dad, diver, and chief editor at DiveIn.com, says that babywearing goes hand-in-hand with outdoor activities, like hiking and long walks, that are part of Danish culture. "Especially when we go for walks in the park or hiking trails, babies are happy to experience the calm and tranquility brought by the natural environment," he says. "In cities and more urban settings, they can safely watch what's happening around them, feeling warm and protected from being close to their dad. We don't use strollers that much here anyway due to the weather, and it's much easier to babywear for daily walking and getting around the city. Not to mention, I think the baby is much happier with the warmth provided by being attached to their parents in the winter."
There's Even a Viklefar Calendar
To celebrate the trend, Carrytales created a 2020 calendar with a viklefar theme. Guldhammer says, "We wanted to celebrate some of the wonderful babywearing dads with these pictures. We hope that these fine examples might encourage even more dads spend some more time close to their babies."
The calendar also features a viklefar with his fur baby and a little boy wearing a baby doll, acquiring those badass viklefar skills well in advance of parenthood.
What We Could Learn From Viklefar-Loving Danes
Look no further than Carrytales' shot of the young boy doing his best viklefar impression (that's December, by the way) to see that Danish parents socialize their boys and young men to see themselves as caregivers. It's just one way Denmark's gender-egalitarian society sets them up to succeed as dads.
Lonne believes it's his country's prioritization of gender equality that has laid the foundation for viklefar to become commonplace. "There is nothing 'unmasculine' about walking around with your baby strapped to your chest," he says. "Parental responsibilities should be equal." And so should babywearing.