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For many, babywearing seems like a fashion of the 21st century, a new way of taking care of babies, followed by parents who are not stroller fans. But the practice of carrying children has a very long history, dating from ancient times.

🤗 Just like today, parents’ lives weren’t easy even in ancient times. Moving from place to place in the case of nomadic people or having to work all day for producing food and other necessities in human settlements, people couldn’t ignore their children. It came naturally to find ways to stay connected to their children and attend to their needs despite their necessity for work, so they used barks, animal skins, or later simple woven pieces of clothes tied around in various ways around their bodies. All these methods evolved in time in a beautiful way, influenced by different cultures around the globe:

🌍 Egypt– Art from Pharaonic Egypt depicts women with baby carriers: Egyptian women who picked cotton in the fields would use colored slings wide in the middle and narrower at the ends, made from their dresses.

🌍 Mexico and Guatemala– a short, wraparound sling called Rebozo is used for carrying babies.

🌍 Kayan and Kenyah tribes from Borneo carry their babies in a rattan plaited carrier, decorated with multicolored beaded patterns and amulets for protection.

🌍 Mozambique– They developed Capulana- a printed piece of cloth tied over a shoulder and knotted between the breasts (like a sling)

🌍 Ipili people from Papua New Guinea use a net bag called a bilum to carry their babies. They are carried with the strap around the forehead of the mother and the baby in the bag carried on the front or back.

🌍 Kenya– A rectangular piece of material with a border around called a kanga is used to carry children.

🌍 In South West China, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, children were worn in Hmong style carriers which are usually beautifully hand- embroidered. Mei Tais, originating from China are the most commonly used carriers even today.

🌍 Indonesia– Called selendang slings, pieces of fabric that are also worn as a skirt or a dress are also tied over one shoulder and are used as baby carriers.

🌍 India– In these parts of the world, women use a part of their long length saris to tie and carry their babies in it. There is also a famous statue of Rani Lakshmibai, the Queen of Jhansi in the 19th century, riding a horse in the battle with her child on her back.

🌍 Europe– a 14th-century fresco in a church in Padua, Italy, portrays Mary carrying the baby Jesus in a sling while astride a donkey. In Germany, a traditional cloak or coat was worn, in which there was a piece of cloth to wrap the baby on the hip. In Sweden, women carried their children in a “bog” or “boeg”, made of leather and shaped into a rounded bag with edges and straps that were cut into traditional patterns. In Wales, the Welsh blanket was used to carry babies, which continued until around the 1950s.

ISARA’s Pinterest selection here: https://pin.it/7ceDVnR

🙂 With the invention of strollers and the idea of not spoiling the child, the practice of carrying babies has been lost in western countries in the last centuries. It returned with great force when concepts like “The Continuum Concept” by Jean Liedloff and  “attachment parenting’’ by Dr William Sears gained popularity and the term babywearing coined by Martha Sears. Nowadays, there are a lot of companies that produce a great variety of carriers, studies about the benefits of babywearing are being done constantly and babywearing consultants are always giving the best advice to parents new to this domain.

❤️ Thus, babywearing has come a long way to arrive at this beautiful stage, acknowledged by professionals and adored by parents and babies around the world. We, at ISARA, are contributing with our knowledge and dedication to the constant development of this beautiful practice and we are always inspired by parents around the world who choose to keep their baby close.

Dutch anthropologist Itie van Houtvan Hout writes in his book about babywearing around the world, “Beloved Burden” that carriers have always had “exceptional significance for their users”. We no longer adorn our carriers with amulets for protection, but we still believe that this object holding the most precious being in our lives should be created with love, dedication and responsibility. ❤️ Innovative, organic and creative are words that define our work at ISARA, offering our best to parents and babies around the world!

Sources:

The History of Babywearing

How Babywearing Went Mainstream

https://thebabyhistorian.com/

The cultural history of carrying babies

 

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