Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Wearing Baby

Closet Content Analysis: Scarves Put to Other Uses

Choices: Scarves as Baby Carriers 

My niece was visiting me in France and I got to meet my grand-niece, Ella for the first time. Melanie and her husband took part in a family gathering in Wales but then when he had to return to work in Canada, Melanie decided to travel to Barcelona, then to visit me in France. Thank goodness for baby-wearing. Now I had no idea how convenient and expedient this was. What comfort to the baby and how else can you have two free hands to carry luggage and a baby stroller/buggy/pousette? As you see in the photo, the stroller/buggy/poussette was more convenient to carry the luggage.

Baby-wearing: Melanie at the airport in Merignac (Bordeaux) leaving for Gatwick, with baby Ella in a front carrier.

Melanie had a commercial baby carrier but she informed me about the beautiful scarves with which women wear their babies. I never knew! Well, of course, the more we talked about it, the more women I saw wearing babies here in France and wearing them very well indeed, never mind very fashionably at the same time. Of course this is not a new idea, it's just that I have only begun to notice it.

A short aside, baby-wearing also came in handy when Ella's stroller was stolen. I was quite astounded that someone would actually steal a stroller. We were in Eymet having lunch on a Sunday and Melanie put the stroller just outside of where we were eating. We both could see it. However, while enjoying lunch and talking and laughing and reminiscing . . . the stroller was taken. When we were leaving and realized it was no longer there, a woman at the table next to us told us that she noticed a man placing the stroller in the trunk of his car. Of course, she did not think anything of it and certainly could not have been expected to connect us to it. Baby-wearing was the natural solution for this misfortune since we were a fair distance from the car. Two days later, we bought a second hand stroller in Pessac which managed Melanie's luggage well enough.

According to Babywearing International:
"Babywearing" simply means holding or carrying a baby or young child using a cloth baby carrier. Holding babies is natural and universal; baby carriers make it easier and more comfortable, allowing parents and caregivers to hold or carry their children while attending to the daily tasks of living . . . all while keeping the baby safe and content."
There are many sites promoting baby-wearing and baby-slings so google away and you will find much more than I can ever tell you here.

I've never been a mother so I never ever took an interest in this. I must say, after watching six month old Ella as she nursed (unknown to anyone else), snuggled and viewed the world from the front of her mother, that this is definitely a good thing and if you want, it can be a fashion statement. Why not? I can't imagine anyone doing it because it is fashionable, but rather, if you are going to choose to do it, why not make it fashionable? Choice for the well-being of the baby - there lies the difference. Oh yes, and of course, the convenience for the mother. But then there's also proper positioning of the baby's hips and legs. There's so much more to this than meets the eye.

Melanie claims that she hasn't quite mastered the scarf tying and so she used a commercial carrier for this trip. The scarves, rather wraps, needed are huge, more shawls than scarves. The width should be at least .7 meters to 1 meter (at least 1 yard wide) and the length, approximately 5 meters (5 to 6 yards). Not many scarves come in those dimensions or shawls in that length. The fabric needs to be strong, yet with some "give", and lightweight enough to tie. The first thing I thought was simply to buy fabric but it appears that this retail need can be met online. To me, buying fabric should be less expensive and what an array of "shawls" one could have in one's closet. 

There are loads of online videos that demonstrate how to tie a rectangular scarf for a variety of baby weights and sizes and how to do it properly and safely for the baby. When searching, try key words such as baby wearing, baby sling and baby carriers.


  1. Thanks for this post! It brings back my memories of traveling with Ella with luggage in hand! Babywearing continues to be a big part of my life and I have since purchased a wrap and am learning to use it. The first try resulted in tears for both my baby Ella and I as I tried to balance her on my back while wrapping the very long fabric in a "double hammock." Now I can do it and am able to do housework and cooking while she hangs out perfectly happy. The wrapping technique helps to distribute her weight so that I am comfortable. I am surprised at the high cost of them but am tempted to buy more in other fabrics knowing the the babywearing culture of buying and selling allows for selling them close to the original price. The theory that carried babies are happy babies rings true with my very happy Ella.

    Melanie Osmond

    1. Happy baby, happy mom! Make sure to take photos and send them my way - I can update the post with the "double hammock". Your post reminds me of a friend from Calgary who used the following line, "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" I'm thinking that with a little one in the house, it should be changed to, "If baby ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" And so here's to happiness! I know the two of you have it with Ella.


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