Modern Cradleboard Use? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 08-13-2011, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am expecting my third child very soon and plan to wear them as I did my first two. Since my first daughter our adventures in babywearing have taken us from a simple pouch sling (still handy in a pinch) to wraps/mei tais, you name it. We are quite interested in the possibilities of using a cradleboard or a version of a cradleboard as it has several attractive features, particularly for the months when the baby is too young to control his/her head. What I'd love to hear is if anyone out there has used a cradleboard or knows any good resources on how to use them. Also if anyone knows a place to purchase them that would be nice.....I'd love to support traditional craftsmanship and purchase an authentic one if I can afford it.

 

Thanks all :)

 

Karen

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#2 of 23 Old 08-15-2011, 01:13 PM
 
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I would be concerned about proper developmental positioning being supported in a cradleboard.

 

The froggied position of knees at 90*,  about level with the baby's belly button, spread about shoulder width apart, this develops/supports, the hip, upper femur and the epiphyseal plate growth. This allows the baby's back to be supported in that rounded position that baby desires to be in without changing it.

 The need to support this shape becomes less important to baby as grows and meets developmental milestones crawling, sitting up and walking.

Certain baby carriers meet the needs of supporting this positioning from birth through toddlerhood they are ring slings, a German style wovens and a Korean Podegais. Mei Tais, and Soft structured carriers are better suited to babies that are sitting up well.

 

 


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#3 of 23 Old 08-16-2011, 07:21 AM
 
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I also wouldn't use a cradleboard (but they do look pretty cool, don't they?  winky.gif)This article is lengthy, but it gives a good overview of proper positioning in baby carriers.  It specifically says that cradleboard use had detrimental effects on the babies' development.

 

What are the attributes of cradleboards that make them attractive to you?  Could you get those same benefits in a carrier that properly supports an infant's spine and hips?  I know you said you like the head support of a cradleboard...you could get that same head support in a woven wrap, and still be able to wear the baby in a position that won't harm her spine and hips.


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#4 of 23 Old 08-16-2011, 07:48 AM
 
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dh made a gorgous one for us but we didn't use it for no other reason than it's heavy as all getout.  dd at this point thinks she rode around in it, though, which is pretty sweet.  i don't see it as developmentally harmful as it's kind of like a combination of swaddling plus a carrier.  here's a pic:

eta: that linked article calls them "papooses" which is pretty offensive....

cb.jpg


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#5 of 23 Old 08-16-2011, 09:04 AM
 
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That is gorgeous!  And that's *why* they're harmful, because of the straight legged swaddle position.  It's the swaddling/positional aspect that's harmful, not that the fact that it's a carrier.

 

Eeek, I didn't realize that the article used that term, and I agree that it's offensive.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hildare View Post

dh made a gorgous one for us but we didn't use it for no other reason than it's heavy as all getout.  dd at this point thinks she rode around in it, though, which is pretty sweet.  i don't see it as developmentally harmful as it's kind of like a combination of swaddling plus a carrier.  here's a pic:

eta: that linked article calls them "papooses" which is pretty offensive....

cb.jpg



 

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Mama lady to my lady baby born 3/09 on the kitchen floor.  Looking forward to seeing which room's floor the next one will be born on in October.  love.gif
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#6 of 23 Old 08-19-2011, 08:28 PM
 
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Hi

 

The Hip Dysplasia Institute has good information on inappropriate use of swaddling and cradleboards.  See

 

http://www.hipdysplasia.org/default.aspx

 

There is a video and document showing importance of leaving room for infant's legs to move.

 

Take care

Jim

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#7 of 23 Old 11-05-2011, 08:02 AM
 
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The area where we live cradle boards are regularly used. It is not at all uncommon to go to Walmart and see one in a cart with a baby sleeping soundly in it. I don't think mothers here use them to the extent that they would cause hip problems, or even for very long... like only during naps and for the first 3 or so months of a child's life. (This was what a friend who used one told me.) Babies get lots of time out of them (really the majority of the day). Honestly, I love seeing them used... and the babies always look so calm and happy in them. :-)


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#8 of 23 Old 11-05-2011, 05:09 PM
 
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I think they're lovely, and I have seen them in use, but only for sleeping babies or very young ones.  It would certainly be detrimental to leave a child in such a restrictive carrier for extended periods of time, but as long as you're mindful, I don't see the problem.  You'll probably find that you don't like to use it very often anyway, because they are very heavy and if you aren't used to the weight, that can be a problem.  Most of the cradleboard-using mothers I've known have used them only for formal/ceremonial occasions and have otherwise used a wrap or sling.

 

I think any you can buy are unlikely to be functional, unless you live in the right part of the US and could buy one from a local mother.  But the design is very simple and you could probably figure it out without instructions, and since you're an experienced babywearer you would know what safety considerations to bear in mind.

 

I remember seeing a tutorial somewhere online describing how to make one...I don't know if I could find it again.  I will try.

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#9 of 23 Old 11-05-2011, 05:14 PM
 
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Hm.

 

Well, this has a PDF lesson plan you can download that has a description of traditional construction methods...page 13.

 

http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED192601&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED192601

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#10 of 23 Old 11-05-2011, 05:21 PM
 
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And here's the tutorial I was thinking of.

 

www.poncatribe-ne.org/pdfs/Health/CradleboardPtrn2.pdf

 

It doesn't have straps, but adding them should be simple.

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#11 of 23 Old 11-06-2011, 11:16 AM
 
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Just a personal anecdote about this: I don't know much about the potential for hip/back development problems (and of COURSE that's something to be investigated when it comes to a baby carrier!), but I was carried in a cradleboard as a baby and I LOVED it. It was a huge part of my early childhood, and a really positive experience for everyone involved. For what it's worth, I have 0 hip/back problems.

 

It is a traditional babywearing method in Northern Sweden (though it's not like we gained this knowledge from a traditional culture directly -- my father was born in Sweden but grew up in Canada, and wasn't carried himself). My father made the cradleboard out of found wood, some backpack straps and bent willow branches for the headpiece. He's a total worrywart when it comes to child safety, so I'm sure I was secure. Like I said, I loved it. I was swaddled arms down in it (though I don't know from what age onwards) and found it so calming that I would demand to go in it when I was upset. We also had one of the original (brown corduroy, anybody?) Snugglis, but apparently I didn't like it as much.

 

He would take me for long walks in it, probably a few times/week, if not daily. I think like most baby carriers (including forward-facing carriers like Baby Bjorn), it's important to take the baby out of the carrier every few hours and let them stretch/move. I don't know much about cradleboards in Native N. American societies, but as far as I know in the Saami tradition they are used primarily for baby transport, since many Saami societies were traditionally nomadic, following reindeer herding patterns.

 

I wouldn't leave an infant in a cradleboard for more than a few hours/day, but I would highly recommend adding it to your (already vast!) babywearing repertoire.

 

I may have just gotten lucky, but as I said before, I have 0 back/hip problems (compared to my sister, who has a pretty serious scoliosis -- and wasn't carried in the cradleboard) and now enjoy carrying my own baby. But I have to use a ring-sling -- my dad won't part with his chef-d'oeuvre handmade cradleboard!

 

 

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#12 of 23 Old 11-07-2011, 04:59 PM
 
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As a Native American, I have raised all five of my children in Cradleboards. All my children are strong, healthy, athletic, and never had any growth issues whatsoever. I mostly used my cradleboards for napping. Never for transporting or carrying. I would just prop it up on the couch or against a wall, or lay it on the bed. Believe it or not, it is also a cultural practice to tie them up in a tree and have the board suspended with a rope hanging down to pull gently for a swinging motion. I never did this but my relatives have. Cradleboards were used for thousands of years with no problems, therefore I am not going to question their safety. I found that by around 1 to 2 months old, my children would automatically doze off when put in their board. It is also a cultural belief that one should take extra care with the board when  not being used. Do NOt drop, throw, or leave it laying around haphazardly, as what happens to the board can happen to the baby. It is a strong belief amongst Native Americans. Also, you want to have someone you know and/or trust make the board, as the thoughts and prayers are put into it by the maker as they stitch.  You wouldn't want to put your baby in a board made by someone with a lot of bad "medicine" or other troubles....

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#13 of 23 Old 03-23-2012, 02:53 PM
 
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I make the modern equivolent of the cradleboard. The awesome thing is mine are machine washable.

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#14 of 23 Old 03-23-2012, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to everyone for the responses! I ended up using a stiff-bodied Chinese baby carrier that my friend who lives in China brought home on her yearly visit to the US. It is longer than most American versions of Chinese carriers and it has a curved rest for her head. could use it for back carrying my daughter from the time she was born. At first we'd swaddle her but now she's big enough to ride around without blankets. I am still intrigued by the cradleboard idea, particularly for napping as she does not like to nap unless she's in the sling or I am in bed with her. Is 7 months too old to introduce it?

 

Thanks!

 

Karen

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#15 of 23 Old 05-14-2012, 09:58 PM
 
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Hi Karen,

My name is Doug Limon. I am Ojibwe and Oneida. I make traditional Ojibwe cradleboards. Our son Gavino was in a cradleboard from birth until he was 9 months. That's when he started walking. Babies in cradleboards start walking earlier then most because the cradleboard helps to strengthen their leg, back and neck muscles. You can check out my cradleboards at mnartists.org/Limon2 or on FaceBook at www.facebook.com/thecradleboardproject. A cradleboard is very healthy for the baby. You can reach me at doug@limonfineart.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,

Doug

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#16 of 23 Old 05-14-2012, 10:25 PM
 
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The cradleboard is very healthy for the baby. It is well engineered and it's been around for thousands of years. My son started walking at the age of 9 months because of the cradleboard. Many people I have talked that were in the cradleboard or had children in the cradleboard say the same thing. My son started dancing professionally at 14 months. He is 3 years old now and he is still dancing with the Native Pride Dancers. He is very healthy both mentally and physically. I am working on The Cradleboard Project to revive this tradition in our community. I come across a lot of bad information about the cradleboard. This misinformation dates back in the boarding school era. The cradleboard helps to develop the child both mentally and physically. 

 

"Native Americans may have originated the concept of Back to Sleep with the traditional use of the cradleboard. The baby is placed on his or her back and swaddled into place in this safe and secure environment. Cradleboards keep the baby safe in a distinct location, help with the child’s skeletal development, strengthen neck muscles, and provide an opportunity for the infant to be visually and emotionally stimulated by his or her environment and family."

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/upload/healthy_native_babies_workbook.pdf

 

Every child should be lucky enough to be raised in a cradleboard.

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#17 of 23 Old 05-15-2012, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey Doug :)

 

The baby I mentioned in my original post is 9 months old. Is that too old to get the benefits of a cradle board? I downloaded the pdf book and am looking forward to reading it. Thanks for linking to the cradleboard you made for your son. It was beautiful.

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#18 of 23 Old 05-21-2012, 10:24 PM
 
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Clara.jpg Dikinaagan/Cradleboard

My five children and four grandchildren have all been raised using the cradleboard.  I too was put in a cradleboard and traditional swing.  Our cradleboard has a footboard to make sure there is plenty of room for baby's feet.  I do not have hip issues nor do any of my children and grandchildren. They have been used for thousands of years, and continue to protect our children in the 21st century.   Make sure you learn the proper use and construction for the protection of your children.    

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#19 of 23 Old 09-22-2012, 09:18 AM
 
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Cradleboard use should start within a couple days of birth.

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#20 of 23 Old 12-12-2013, 01:40 PM
 
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My partner and I are Mi'kmaq from the Atlantic. We would love to raise our baby in a cradle board. The only thing is there are no teachers or elders in the area to ask. I have been researching for patterns and designs for my partner. He will be in charge of the build. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Wellaliaq.
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#21 of 23 Old 12-13-2013, 10:59 AM
 
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I make non-traditional cradleboards. I have them for sale on Etsy.

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#22 of 23 Old 08-07-2014, 01:33 PM
 
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The cradleboard is very healthy for the child's development both mentally and physically. The baby is wrapped in a software cloth with arms tucked in which gave them the same secure feeling of being in mommy's tummy. When the baby is being carried on the mother's back it is very comforting to the baby. The baby is familiar with motion from mommy. The baby is at eye level with all the adults and learns from watching them. Physically the cradleboard will strengthen the baby's leg muscles, back muscles and neck muscles and that why babies in cradleboards typically walk sooner then babies that aren't raised in cradleboards.

Our son started to walk and dance at nine months. He started to dance professionally with Larry Yazzie and the Native Pride Dancers at 14 months. He's a Grass Dancer. He's six years old now and still dancing.

All this nonsense about Hip Dysplasia and any other ill effects attributed to the cradleboard is unsubstantiated propaganda as a result of boarding schools and forced cultural assimilation. The US government and organized religion did their best to try to destroy the culture of the Native American. They gave it their best shot but we're still here. I intend to preserve the tradition and culture of the cradleboard. The cradleboard has been around for thousands of years. It has proven to be healthy and safe for our children.
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File Type: jpg From Cradleboard to Dancing_080714.jpg (254.7 KB, 8 views)
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#23 of 23 Old 08-08-2014, 03:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyBundles View Post
<p><a class="H-lightbox-open" href="http://www.mothering.com/community/content/type/61/id/266095/width/500/height/700"><img alt="" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="266095" data-type="61" src="http://www.mothering.com/community/content/type/61/id/266095/width/500/height/700/flags/LL" style="; width: 500px; height: 385px"></a></p>
<p>I make non-traditional cradleboards. I have them for sale on <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/108094611/modern-cradleboard-newborn-10-months-old?ref=sr_gallery_3&amp;ga_search_query=cradleboa rd&amp;ga_view_type=gallery&amp;ga_ship_to=US&amp; ga_search_type=all" target="_blank">Etsy.</a></p>
Anecdotes about babies that were raised in cradleboards and did not have hip problems are NOT evidence that cradleboards have no negative effects because the relationship between cradleboards and hip dysplasia is probabilistic ... that is, use of cradleboards (and tight swaddling) increase the probability of hip dysplasia but do not create hip dysplasia in all infants. It would be like claiming that having an uncle who smoked a pack a day all his life and lived to be 100 means that smoking does not lead to cancer and premature death.


And the evidence for a relationship between hip dysplasia and cradleboards comes from diverse sources and is not limited to North American Indigenous peoples. Tight swaddling in various parts of the world also leads to higher incidence of hip dysplasia. And various peoples who carry their infants straddling their hip or back (e.g., African and Inuit people) have a very low incidence. Moreover, there is a clear physical explanation for why keeping infants legs tightly together leads to hip dysplasia in some cases, namely the bones are still developing and are being put into an unnatural position.


The sad reality is that traditions are not always harmless, no matter how many centuries they have been practiced.
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