Traditional African Baby wearing - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 04-20-2006, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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greetings!

I know this is not the baby wearing forum. but i thought i'd try this one anyway. can anyone give me some insight on how to wrap a baby the traditional african way?
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#2 of 18 Old 08-03-2006, 05:33 AM
 
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Hello

I live in South Africa, and though I have never personally tried to use this method (I use a sling) I have seen lots of ladies doing it...
You basically carry the baby on your back wrapped in a blanket : no that does not sound right. It is difficult to explain, but the baby is carried on your back, with a blanket wrapped around you and the baby, the baby is swung up onto your back as you lean over forward, you then put the blanket around you and baby and tie it at the front and tuck it under baby's bottom, baby's legs are open with feet facing towards your waist : hope this makes sense!

ANNIE - Crunchy WAHM to 2 boys & baby girl born 12July08 ~From contentment with little comes happiness â African Proverb
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#3 of 18 Old 08-03-2006, 09:08 PM
 
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AnnieMarie! I wanted to see how your birth went, but then they took away the search feature. What are the details!

Oh, and I've been craving a KwaPizza lately....from the little Spar centre in Empangeni.

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#4 of 18 Old 08-05-2006, 09:20 AM
 
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Hello DarkhorseMama - I cannot remember if I posted my birth story or not , but I just posted it again (hope no one minds). It is called Ryan's home water birth, in the birth stories section.

You know KwaPizza is still there, I could so go for some of their pizza now, but it is about a 40km drive from where we are :

Ryan just decided to wake up - as he tends to do when I try to get on-line great chatting to you again!!

ANNIE - Crunchy WAHM to 2 boys & baby girl born 12July08 ~From contentment with little comes happiness â African Proverb
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#5 of 18 Old 08-29-2006, 01:54 PM
 
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Wearing your baby on your back with the Maya wrap is similar to the way women wear their babies in Africa. But the african wrap is just a rectangular cotton sheet with africa patterns and the actual technique for wearing it was described in the first reply to your post.
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#6 of 18 Old 09-03-2006, 05:52 AM
 
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I lived in Senegal for a while, and they used a rectangle of cloth (called a pagne there - basically a wide sarong). As AnneMarie said, the baby was on the back, covered in this. People in my region would tie the top two corners of the pagne above their breasts and the bottom two at the waist. Baby's legs would indeed stick out in front, very cute! I'm not sure there's a pan-African way of baby-wearing, but looks like in West and South Africa, at least, the traditional way is very much the same.
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#7 of 18 Old 02-19-2007, 03:53 AM
 
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Check out these instructions for the one shouldered carry (I've seen that referenced as generally done more in East Africa). I carry my ds by taking the rectangle of cloth, centering him on it, swing him onto my back. Then I tie the top two corners of the rectangle over my breasts kind of bouncing him to make it snug. Then I tie the bottom two corners around my waist so that his bottom/weight is carried around my hips. The traditional methods usually are twisted not tied but I have no one to show me how to twist safely so I tie It took a bit of work to get him tight enough like this. If you are small to medium in statrue a sarong is the perfect size for this. have fun!

me, wife to dh, the movie geek (7/01), mama to ds1, budding Star Wars geek (10/05), dd, budding princess of the dirt (03/08) and ds2, budding extrovert. watch out! (8/10).
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#8 of 18 Old 02-23-2007, 09:48 AM
 
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i have seen many mamas carry babes like pps, but i have an odekwa, which is basically an african mei tei. the difference is that the top straps are shorter, so the straps just tie above my breasts and do not wrap back around to babe's bum. also there is padding on the top for baby's neck. i bought mine in namibia before i even had a glimmer of baby dreams in my head (i just knew i wanted to wear my baby in one when i had a baby and figured baby would come before i returned to namibia).
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#9 of 18 Old 12-26-2007, 05:31 PM
 
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Here's a link to a picture of my SIL wearing one of my twins...She's from the Gambia. She is wearing him just like the first description says.

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j1...mandkis010.jpg

Rivka, mommy to 3 big boys and a set of b/g twins
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#10 of 18 Old 08-17-2008, 11:46 PM
 
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yes, I was about to say... wrapped on the back, legs through to front. One tie above the breasts and one below.

Tikva18, I love that picture of your sister in law! So adorable. How happy your little one looks. You know... I still remember being that way on my mother's back. She would use a large towel or blanket or whatever was handy but I felt so safe! I will be wearing my baby the same way when he is born.
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#11 of 18 Old 08-25-2008, 02:20 PM
 
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Tikva, your sil is lovely. Is that a knitted blanket she's using??

I don't know about the rest of Africa, but I remember at least one Ethiopian carrier which we saw displayed in a restaurant here in the States was very much similar to the mei-tai. Only made of animal hide and decorated with white shells. The shoulder straps were much shorter though, with loops at the end. It almost looked like the mother would tie the bottom straps, and then pull the top straps over her shoulders and actually hold them? Maybe? Dh remembers seeing babies carried in those. When we were in Ethiopia, we also saw babies tied onto their mother's backs in large blankets, or with the large white shawls the women wear.

Now, my dh, on the other hand, once used a padded market bag (a large woven fiber bag). He was supposed to be transporting a baby from a medical clinic back to it's foster family, and didn't have the means or the knowledge to wrap the baby. In his defense, at the time he was young, single and had never cared for a baby before. He got arrested because someone pegged him as a human trafficker and the doctor had to go down to the jail to explain what he was doing with a baby not his own and why it was in a market bag.
That probably doesn't qualify as "traditional", though.
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#12 of 18 Old 08-25-2008, 02:34 PM
 
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yes, it's knitted. It happened to be the closest blanket at the time.

Rivka, mommy to 3 big boys and a set of b/g twins
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#13 of 18 Old 09-08-2008, 08:57 PM
 
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In Ghana they carry like Tikva's SIL. They use a thinner piece of cotton fabric and instead of tying it they roll it like you would a towel after you get out of the shower, but rolled at both the top and the bottom. I could never get mine rolled tight enough, but some mamas let it get a little loose so babes bottom is in a pouch, lol. I loved seeing little baby feet sticking out from under mamas arms at the market!

B wife to B and mama to my two boys B 1/23/07 via csect and H 9/27/08 my vbac babe!
We , selectively (don't) vax, babywear, cosleep, love music, and try to be as crunchy as we can get!
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#14 of 18 Old 09-08-2008, 09:06 PM
 
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My DP is from Kenya. His sister bought me a kikoi (not sure of the spelling?). This can be used as a wrap I am told. I have an Ellaroo wrap that is much larger so I'm not sure how this smaller SPOC could be worn. Would it be worn in the same way as shown in the photo of Tivka's SIL? I haven't used it yet, but would like to if I could figure out how to do so safely. Can this style of wrapping be used with a larger babe too? DD is 6mo and 20lbs if that helps. TIA!
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#15 of 18 Old 09-16-2008, 04:41 PM
 
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I think as long as the fabric is wide enough to go from the bottom of baby's bum to just below the armpits and your knots are tight enough you should be fine, even with a larger babe. I lived in Sao Tome for 2 years and the women would use any old rectangular fabric with it just tied around the waist and the other knot just over their breasts, and yes, the little feet sticking out on either side made me smile every time:.

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#16 of 18 Old 09-16-2008, 09:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svmaine View Post
I think as long as the fabric is wide enough to go from the bottom of baby's bum to just below the armpits and your knots are tight enough you should be fine, even with a larger babe. I lived in Sao Tome for 2 years and the women would use any old rectangular fabric with it just tied around the waist and the other knot just over their breasts, and yes, the little feet sticking out on either side made me smile every time:.
Really? I'll have to check it now, thank you. We haven't tried to use it since DD was very small and new. She's 20lbs now and able to be worn on the back now in other styles. Is she too big for this style of wearing now? Can it only work tummy to tummy? Your youngest DS and my DD are close in age.

TIA
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#17 of 18 Old 06-08-2014, 09:15 AM
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Age to put babies on your back with a simple piece of cloth

I lived in Cape Verde for a few years and am about to have a baby back in the States. I don't recall at what age you can start putting the babies on your back using a piece of cloth. Anyone?
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#18 of 18 Old 10-26-2014, 01:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRA View Post
I lived in Cape Verde for a few years and am about to have a baby back in the States. I don't recall at what age you can start putting the babies on your back using a piece of cloth. Anyone?
Around the time your baby has excellent head control so, probably around 8 months?

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