June 17th – June 24 is Black Baby Wearing Week
Black Baby Wearing Week was started in the United Kingdom in 2018 when Black moms were left out of the movement even though African mothers were the originators of wearing children on their backs with homemade wraps and slings.
Black women have been wearing their children on their backs for centuries and we learned it from the motherland. “The babies move to the sway of their mothers’ hips, synchronised throughout the day, bending with them as they collect water or sweep the floor and rising again when the women stop to rest,” wrote Emily Wax in the Guardian. When captured Africans came to North America, they brought the tradition with them and you could see Black moms working in the fields with their babies tied to them not for the purpose of bonding but more likely to keep them safe and in their sight for protection.
Today, we wear wraps and slings to multitask and to bond with our babies.
Why is Baby Wearing Important?
One of the best ways mothers and fathers can multitask and get things done around the house is to strap the baby to your back and carry the child around while you complete housework and more. According to NaturalChild.org, “Wearing a baby promotes physical development. This stimulation helps him to regulate his own physical responses, and exercises his vestibular system, which controls balance. The sling is in essence a “transitional womb” for the new baby, who has not yet learned to control his bodily functions and movements.” The child is close to you, relaxes, and it creates a strong bond due to the proximity of the baby to the mother. This makes the baby feel loved. According to Baby Bjorn’s website, “You can enjoy closeness with your baby while you go shopping, take the dog for a walk or perform household tasks. It also makes it much easier for you to tend to older siblings who also require your attention.” Infants should be carried on the front in a sling and once they have control over their neck muscles, they can be carried on the parent’s back.
Check It Out
BLACK BABY WEARING SUPPORT
There is a Facebook Page that supports moms who wear their babies and they state that they exist to “bring light to our history and embrace the future of Black babywearing.” Now don’t think this is all about carrying infants because it is not, these moms carry big kids too and they do it well. What better way to mind an active toddler than to have them attached to your body?This group is kicking off the week-long celebration of Black Baby Wearing Week with a Zoom Brunch called Brunch with Wraps, Slings, and Harmony where you can bring your baby all wrapped up and cuddled tightly to you. You can also find them on Instagram and Twitter.
Infants should be carried on the front in a sling and once they have control over their neck muscles, they can be carried on the parent’s back.
Wrapping children securely is a skill but there are tutorials that can easily teach you how to do it properly and safely, like the one shown below.
If you don’t feel entirely safe with a fabric wrap, there are various commercial front-facing baby wrap carriers that you can purchase and they range in price from this affordable Cozitot carrier to this more expensive Baby K’tan wrap for infants. You can also find African sarongs or wrap skirts on sites like Etsy.com.