There is a fuss about baby carriers. Special wraps are made, with tutorial videos showing how to use them and I shake my head, thinking what is really new here?
Depending on the age, any old towel or wrap can do the job perfectly. For years in Africa, women have used this method of carrying babies on their backs because it leaves hands free to multi task. We securely strap babies on to our back by making a tight knot using the edges of the towel from two even sides on the top and bottom. Or one can tightly wrap one flap to the opposite side and tuck the remaining side on the opposite side as one would with bath towel after a shower.
If one is unsure of the security especially with very small children, one can take a small wrap and which they can tie to hold the baby in place before wrapping the baby in the bigger towel. Eventually the baby will learn to cling to its mother and will not fall should the towel come loose.
One can hardly feel the baby’s full weight as it is even distributed as you walk hence it is easier to carry hand luggage and for the stronger women, they can even balance something on their heads. One would think that would put the baby at risk should the package on the head drop but I tell you from young age the girls are taught to lean to the front should they feel their parcel or baby dropping. The parcel will fall to the ground but the baby will remain on the back as they also lean forward to mother’s back when she bends.
For an African mother, one can hardly afford to stop working as most of the work around the home is menial. There is never enough time to tend to the crops and the home, so strapping the baby allows one to multi task. Because of the frequent motion as the mother moves about doing her work they baby will quickly fall asleep, then the mother can put them down and continue to work. Even on harsh cold day, a mother can strap her baby just to keep the child warm.
The mother’s back then becomes a human cradle, a place of safety and protection. Mother and child are bound together by simple cloth. There really is no need to have specially made wraps, the baby trusts its mother to not let it fall and the mother will by all means protect her child from falling. She can flee from whatever danger she faces without leaving.