Baby wearing has been around since women figured out that they can multi-task. (I say this as a woman explaining to the men out there reading this.) Think about it. We needed to tend to the fire, wash clothes in the river around the corner (turn left at the two big trees), prepare and cook the game our cavemen brought us, and who knows what other chores our ancestresses had? Later on, we needed to tend to the fields and herds. All the while, we couldn’t leave our young all alone to fend for themselves while we did what we had to do. Besides, baby formula hadn’t been invented yet. So, being the enterprising creatures we are, we had no other alternative but to bring our babies along and invent something that would enable us to use our hands but keep the baby close to us.
Today’s population can credit the endurance of the species to ancestors who worked at survival with their babies strapped to their bodies. All over the world, evidence of baby wearing can be found among people as far removed culturally and geographically from each other. Among the top examples would be the Egyptians, the American Indians, the Chinese and other Asian tribes. Now, a growing number of people are beginning to largely practice it again, with a few modern day improvements.
From the mountain tribes to the low-land ricebowls and the sea-dwelling fisher-folk of my country, baby wearing is a deeply ingrained part of our heritage. I only regret that I can find few pictures to better show it, but our children have been raised as close to the bosom as possible.
Historically, this is largely by necessity as parents work hard for the family’s daily bread or tend to other familial chores themselves and there are no nannies. Sure there are other relatives the children can be left with but babies are generally never far from their mothers, especially when they are not weaned from their mothers’ breast yet.
Nowadays of course, there is a decline (compared to the numbers back in the day) in baby-wearing with the advent of nannies and other care-giving amenities (the bassinet, the breast pump, the baby formula, etc.). Parents can work while not worrying about whether their baby has enough milk at home.
However, my present culture is still not that far in time from the old days. Westernization did not happen for my country until just recently (if you can call a few hundred years “recent”). And with the West’s dawning consciousness of natural family living, of which attachment parenting is a part, it just seems right that I would look to affirming my child-rearing inheritance. (Naks!)
Next: WEAR YOUR BABY 3: Baby Carriers