Carry me away- the history of wearing your baby
April 19, 2017
Baby wearing, or carrying a baby is as old as the human race itself. Images of children being carried in ancient Egypt has been discovered by archeologists and there are images of Native Americans carrying their babies and infants. Baby wearing makes so much sense- carrying was developed by moms and caregivers to create a sense of security and a safe place for the baby. With the baby safely wrapped or in a carrier- the moms could continue their daily tasks- like gathering, farming and the preparation of meals.
But in modern history baby wearing was re-introduced to Europe. In 1961 baby wearing was about to become fashionable as well. Baby Bjorn was to be discovered and it entered parents lives. And very quickly was one of the most popular gifts to give a new family or to buy for yourself. Thanks to Baby Bjorn baby wearing increased in Europe. The frame back carrier was also later developed to carry older toddlers. And then my favorite piece of history- In 1972 Didymos introduced the woven wrap to Germany. And Didymos introduced the ring sling in 1986 followed by a pouch carrier in the 1990’s. The Asian style carrier- the Mei Tai has literally been around for centuries but was made popular again in 2003.
Compared to other cultures, this was a late stage for babywearing to be re-introduced.
Here is a small introduction to carriers that is used by various cultures:
Asian style carriers – Carriers with straps with or without a waistband have similarities to what we know in Europe as Pods and Meh Dai. Except the Asian style carriers have been being used for generations and centuries. They can be related to buckle or other soft structured carriers that have since been produced in Western countries. I bought my first Asian style carrier from Lyssa Love.
Traditional Sling Carry/ Rebozo carry – pouches, simple pieces of cloth/hip and back carriers have been used in Mexico and South America again for centuries. The whole community raises and carries a baby in a rebozo style carrier. It is possible these are what have inspired the ever popular ring sling and pouch carrier as we know it. I buy all my ring slings from PiPaPo
Wrap style & Torso wraps – Kanga Cloths or carrying cloths are most well known in African countries. They carry baby against your torso on your back, fairly low compared to European and modern carriers. Saying this they leave the upper body completely free meaning the carrier is able to work, bend and carry other weights easily. This carrying tradition may have inspired woven wraps, stretchy wraps and stretchy hybrid carriers. My first baby carrier was a NooNoo Pie stretch wrap that I literally used daily! I have also bought a Lenny Lamb wrap from Simplicity, Zozinette wrap and PiPaPo who stocks Girasol and Didymos.
(NooNoo Pie: https://www.facebook.com/NoonooPieBaby/?fref=nf)
(Simplicity Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/394108037645511/)
This is just a quick lowdown on the basic different carriers.
From this being said there are many different ways to carry your baby. It is a sight we see daily here in South Africa- a mom with a baby on her back walking. Europe and America has developed their own range of carriers that complete baby wearing for us here in SA, but what is convenient here, may not be elsewhere. What’s possible for one person is not always ideal for another, therefore we must share and bask in the baby wearing love that each country has to offer.