Introduction: How to Carry Your Baby African Style
This way of carrying babies is very common in Mozambique, south eastern Africa. It is relatively comfortable and versatile. Plus, all you need is a rectangular piece of cloth (and a baby, or course).
The baby in this picture is 9 months old. I have been carrying him using this technique since he was 1 month old. As he grew, my back got stronger!
Step 1: Find a Rectangular Cloth
The material should be sturdy but soft. Cotton works well. What is important is that it is rectangular and also big enough (about as wide as your arm span). The cloth pictured here is a Mozambican "capulana".
Step 2: Put the Cloth at Your Waist
Imagine you are going to wear it as a skirt. Just hold it like the picture and then lean forward with your torso parallel to the ground.
Step 3: Baby Goes on the Back
Lean forward, grabbing the ends of the cloth. Have someone assist you by holding the baby and then putting the baby on your back, face down.
Step 4: Cover Baby's Bottom and Back
In this leaning position, slide the cloth from your waist upwards towards your and your baby's shoulders.
Have the person assisting you adjust the bottom edge of the cloth so that it fits underneath the baby's bum. The baby's legs (from the knees down) must not be covered.
The top part of the cloth will go up to the baby's shoulders (older babies can leave their shoulders uncovered, younger babies need more support).
Take the right side of the cloth and put it over your right shoulder.
The left side goes under your left armpit.
Step 5: Tie in Front
both ends of the cloth meet in the front, between the breasts.
tie it twice and slowly come out of your leaning position.
Step 6: Done!
your baby should now cozily sit on top of your bum, with his legs wrapped around your waist. Now you can go around and take your baby with you.!
Do not worry; he will not fall down. He MIGHT start slipping if the cloth is not tight around him, but this will not happen all of a sudden.
It takes a while to get used to the sensation... You are going to think the baby is just going to slide down and fall. If you are feeling nervous, try walking around the house with someone following you and checking on your baby.
Step 7: Variation
If you want to carry the baby towards the front, all you have to do is follow all the steps and then:
lean forward, raise your left arm and slide your baby towards the left so that he comes back and around you. the knot will move towards the top of your right shoulder.
This is a good carry if you are going to sit down and lean back. It is also a better carry for younger babies that do not yet have good head control.
In this carry, the baby's legs wrap around the side of your waist.
Step 8: Also Works for Older Babies!
Here I am using the same technique to carry my 2.5 year old. She loves it, but I can only do it for a little while since she is heavier!