What Is Babywearing?
Baby wearing is the practice of carrying a baby using a sling or a piece of cloth tied or knotted across the torso either on the back or on the front of the body.
After a mother brings her child into this world, she is needed to attend and care for her baby. By using a baby sling she can do so by keeping the baby right by her side. The concept of baby wearing is not unheard off, it’s been practiced for centuries ever since the existence of mankind.
Baby Sling:’The Traditional Heirloom’
If you were born, lived or visited Meghalaya, you must have definitely witnessed women carrying babies on their back.
Every household in Meghalaya must have used a baby sling or what we locally called it “Ka Jain It” for carrying babies.
In Khasi; one of the tribes of Meghalaya “Jain It” means “A Cloth to Carry”.
Where “Jain” means cloth and “It” which comes from the word “Kit” means to carry. Be it for carrying their own child, or for carrying a younger sibling.
In the olden days if a woman is ready to start her own family she must learn to weave her very own baby sling. If she doesn’t know how to weave her own baby sling, she is not yet allowed to get married which also signifies her readiness to take responsibilities as a mother.
With the change in time and lifestyle, traditions were modified to adapt to these shifts.
Today in the Khasi tradition, a baby sling is the first gift that a new mother receives after she has given birth to her child. Or it’s passed down from her mother to her or between the female members in the family.
The baby sling that the people in this region used is made of cotton that is reeled and spuned by hand, so it’s much thicker and tougher. Which makes the sling usable for generations and it’s passed down as a family heirloom.
Today with many other options made available to mothers, the traditional way of baby wearing is very much less seen in the cities. One reason might be that the modern working moms of today are opting for a more stylish baby carrier where they can easily purchase online. Although women in the villages and even some in the city, are still following the passed down heirloom of carrying babies till today in Meghalaya which is a touching sight to see.
The Need of Using a Baby Sling
Travelers must have been puzzled at the very sight of the way people in Meghalaya carry their babies.
The occupation of our grandparents pretty much determined the kind of lifestyle we have adopted. Back in the olden days most of the tribes in Meghalaya mainly consisted of farmers and daily working laborers.
Their livelihood was still simple, and they were dependent on their farm for food. They were hardworking and had to work on the field every day, which made it difficult to care for a baby when they were not home.
The baby sling was the best way of taking care of babies. Using a baby sling is very much better since the baby is tied either to the back or the front with the support of the torso, which is hands free making it easier for mothers to perform other chores in the field or at home.
Why Use Baby Sling?
After talking to some of the women seen using a baby sling, they said that it’s the best way to care of the baby because the mother is right by her child which makes both the child and mother less anxious.
When a child is carried using a baby sling the baby lays on the mothers back which is warm, making its a comfortable place to sleep soundly. The warmth from the mother helps the child to stay warm and keep away from sickness.
Lifestyle Change and Zizira’s Upcoming Launch
Evolution is necessary, we live to improve, to strive for a better and convenient lifestyle every day. But we should remember to preserve our traditions, our cultures that very much mold the roots of our existence. We should learn to appreciate and most importantly not to lose our heritage to modernization.
We at Zizira are launching a new product where we take the feel and knowledge of traditions that has been followed for generations. And infusing modern design with style to fit the taste of modern mothers.
We have designed the baby sling by infusing traditional aesthetics with modern design. Keeping in mind that the field of work might differ for mothers of yesterdays or mothers of today but the love of mothers for their child is still the same.
Zizira Eri Silk Baby Sling Launch coming soon! Write to us if you want to know more. You can also shop our Heirloom Eri Silk Shawls.