If you will recall my earlier post regarding my native cloth called Khanga. This was an unfinished topic as I have more to talk about the many uses of this cloth which brings me to my second topic : "The Baby Sling".
For a baby sling, one can use any rectangular piece of cloth; mainly cotton which also depends on the climate of the native location, geographically. In East Africa, khanga or kitenge ( a much heavier cotton cloth) is used to carry babies/toddlers on the back.
The following site refers to several types of clothing used for baby slings around the world http://awareparenting.blogspot.com/2006/12/baby-carriers-cultural-history.html Historically, for an African woman to leave their young in someone else's care was unheard of especially if it involved the mother being away from home for too long. Naturally, a baby is brought into this world as no one else's responsibility, but, the mother's. However, if the mother is at home and has relatives around her, i.e. grandmothers, sisters, aunties and any other siblings, then yes; help is always at hand.
It is natural for a mother to bond with her child. Yet in Africa and other parts of the world it is the matter of convenience to have a baby on your back. It is assuring for both mother and child and therefore, peaceful. For those around you this means the baby feels extremely secure and has the comfort of the mother especially during feeding time.
Happy and Content!
Feeding time is a big deal in any mother's mind; it is like a second heartbeat. So then the mother has much to consider i.e. whether it is okay to leave her little one with another person, whether she would be back in time to feed, let alone trusting the person who would take care of the baby. The answer will be 'what if' and that's where the khanga sling comes to action. Mind you, babies love this so much. The only time you will hear their voices is during feeding time. This intimacy between mother and child, ( I so definitely believe) has its physiological benefits for both individuals.
Not a care in the world!
We all know how hard it is to get attention from any child during combing, in this case braiding hair. The image below proves that the mother has succeeded by having the baby secured around her body and feeding at the same time....... easy whizzy!!!
Tribal woman in Central Tanzania
Beautiful Himba Mother and Child from northern Namibia
(child not happy of an intruder ...go away, stop following us.....)
Ashanika girl from central Peruvian Amazon carrying her sibling