A Closer Look at the History of Babywearing
If you take a look around the world, there's no doubt you will notice numerous differences among the varying cultures. Our clothing, the food we eat, the types of houses we live in and how we make a living all set us apart from our neighbors.
But, even with all these characteristics that make us different on the surface, there’s one thing that will always be a constant; the value of family. No matter where you go around the world, there are people working to provide for their families and care for their babies. And one of the most interesting aspects of this is a major thing we all have in common – babywearing.
A centuries-old child-rearing technique, babywearing largely began out of necessity. Long before being a housewife or a stay-at-home-mom was possible, everyone in the family had to work to provide for the family. This means women didn’t have the time or energy to constantly tend to fussy babies, so they had to bring them along. Also, keeping baby close made it easier to feed them without having to stop working and the baby stayed warm, safe and healthier, away from germs and diseases.
Over time, babywearing was seen as something only lower class people did because they couldn’t afford modern-day luxuries, like strollers, bucket seats, and nannies. Those that had help with their babies oftentimes left them behind while tending to other duties. And that became the socially acceptable, “normal” way of raising your kids.
That is, until today.
Nowadays, societal trends are shifting to embrace babywearing and the practice of attachment parenting, which we believe is phenomenal news for raising happy, healthy children.
And these changes are taking place in cultures everywhere. Even though we live in different climates on opposite ends of the world, most cultures have at least one thing in common: babywearing.
Here are some things you probably didn't know about the history of babywearing around the world:
- A 4-5ft. long scarf, called a Rebozo, was traditionally used to help women care for their babies while also being able to help gather food or do chores while wearing baby, instead of staying behind to care for the kids.
- Mostly worn tied over one shoulder and under the other, but can also cover the head to provide shade from the sun.
- Often used to assist the mother during labor by providing support and proper positioning.
- The Rebozo remains a popular choice today.
- History depicts various methods of babywearing; from placing baby in a basket strapped to mama’s back to wrapping them to her front using a bed sheet and belts.
- Traditionally done as a necessity, societal trends in parenting eventually made it a characteristic of the poor, so it became less mainstream.
- Nowadays, babywearing has increased in popularity all over Europe.
- Pouches, wraps and short cloth carriers are largely what's used and are readily available.
- Babywearing was practiced from very early times; mothers had to work in the farms, so they would wear their babies on their backs.
- Carriers varied in popularity, depending on which region you’re looking at. For example, the podaegi was widely used in Japan, while the Meh Dai was the carrier of choice in China.
- The Meh Dai consists of a square piece of fabric with four straps tie over the shoulders and around the mother’s waist, holding baby securely in place and are the most widely used today.
- Babywearing or backing is a time-honored traditional way of carrying your baby, practiced in some form by virtually every mother still today.
- Babies are generally worn low on the mom’s back in a cloth wrapped around the torso, called a kanga or kitenge, which was also used as an apron and a blanket to sit on.
- Seen as a sign of respect, mothers in Africa believe it’s the best way to keep their babies warm and healthy.
- Practiced in the early days, babies were tied into their mom’s saris and brought along on daily activities.
- Over time, babywearing became taboo as people thought babies were being spoiled and needed space.
- Eventually, it became something only poor people did and remained that way until recent years.
- With a resurgence in popularity, wraps and slings are becoming more easily available and commonly used.
- 1960’s America saw the invention of the snugli baby carrier, by an American woman and inspired by the African form of babywearing.
- In 1980, the ring sling was invented by Dr. William Sears, who also coined the term babywearing.
- It has increased in popularity in recent years, with a societal movement toward attachment parenting, or exterogestation.
- A large number of baby carriers are available today, but ring slings and wraps are among the most popular.
At Two Feathers Babywearing, we believe the love of family is one of the ties that bind us together as humans, regardless of where you are in the world. And the concept of babywearing makes it possible to raise our children in the most natural, healthy way possible.
This is why we designed our Ring Slings intentionally to provide comfort and security for baby while giving mommy and other caregivers the gift of convenience, freedom, and a special bond with baby. Our silk and linen slings are luxuriously simple, loved by many and available in colors to suit even the most fashion-forward of mommies.
Want to learn more about Two Feathers Babywearing, a local, Oklahoma company and how we can help you? Get connected with us on social media to see our latest projects and exciting news.
Posted on Thu, December 1, 2016
by Brooke Phillips filed under