Wear Your Baby Using a Shawl

Inspired by women of the Taos Pueblo Indian village, the author explains how to wrap a shawl to carry your baby.

| January/February 1972

Most parents who want something to carry their babies in go out and buy a commercial baby-carrier . . . you know, one of those gizmos that goes on your back like a knapsack or straps the child to your belly. Although these commercial gadgets are convenient because they free your hands, they are inconvenient in that you have to fight straps and buckles to get your baby in and out of them. For car rides, walks, visits or errands, on which both hands aren't absolutely needed, I've found it's much better to carry my little one in a shawl.

Shawl-carrying simplifies life with a small baby so much, you'd think the practice would be a widespread element of the new life-style . . . but it isn't. I had to get the idea from watching women of the Taos Pueblo Indian village, standing around, relaxed and poised—as unburdened as the breeze—chatting and holding their chubby toddlers in their arms with the help of triangular, black-fringed shawls.

Yet when I became pregnant soon afterwards, I started keeping my eye open, not for a shawl, but for a commercial baby-carrier. When I did come into possession of both a hand-me-down Japanese belly-position carrier and a backpack carrier, however, the Japanese model got lost and Ama Selu turned out to be so small (5 lbs., 6 oz. at birth) that she needs padding in the backpack even now at the age of five months.

Though pint-sized, Ama was an awkward bundle and seemed heavy in my arms. So, when she was two months old, Mary, a friend, offered to lend me her ruana —a heavy woolen shawl from South America used as a baby-carrier—I was delighted! Here was a shawl designed for carrying babies. I wanted to try it out with Ama immediately!

It embarrasses me now to recall the clumsy pouch I fumbled together for Ama with the ruana and several large safety pins. When I tried to carry her in it she wiggled and screamed. Luckily, another friend, Betsy—who had originally brought Mary's ruana back from Colombia—knew how to adjust it.

Betsy obligingly demonstrated proper ruana technique with her five-month-old son . . . and I came down hard on myself for my over-civilized, needlessly complicating, western mentality. Safety pins indeed!

3/26/2014 6:23:56 AM

Parents are very conscious about their babies products. There are several baby products available in market. Shawl is a winter cloth for babies. Parents use several Products according to season and year. In first four months parents are very conscious about their health and growth.So they choose the best hygienic products.http://www.babysteals.com.au/terms-and-conditions

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!