Babywearing among the Yoruba Women of the south /south-western Nigera
Wow, I have recently made some lovely friends on a babywearing Facebook forum and they were really inquisitive about how we babywear in my culture (Yoruba in Nigeria, Africa). So I decided to put up this post including photos and videos. Now, you all know the school holiday is currently and we mums are so busy with the kids to ensure that they enjoy their holiday. Hence, I might not be able to write too much today. You can guess that there is still a whole lot about our babywearing culture which is not available online ( because I have done some google search). My culture is only one of a thousand cultures in Africa so you might see mums in Kenya, Uganda or South Africa do it a bit differently. They way we Yorubas do it is predominantly the way many Nigerians do it!
The women carry their babies with a rectangular piece of a beautifully patterned cotton fabric called ‘iro’ and then they use an additional piece of fabric called ‘oja’ (which is specially woven for this purpose) to reinforce the back support for the baby especially for carrying toddlers/older children. The additional oja is optional as some women don’t bother using it and when you see them with their babies on their back, it appears as if their babies are sagging! But the babies are fine because I have never heard of a baby falling out all through my upbringing. I Remember that a lot of superstition used to go with babies falling out with people saying that it can affect the fertility of the male children when they grow up. If it happens that a woman did not back her baby well (which is rare), the older women in her compound or neighborhood will correct or help her to adjust the baby properly.
So as you can see from the above videos, you can either tuck the end of your iro over your chest or simply tie. We usually put the hands of little babies inside the iro like I did with Joseph in the above video and this is also great for nursing your little one to sleep. The other method of releasing the hands of the baby is suitable for older babies or toddlers whose backs are stronger.
The idea with our way of carrying is that the iro has to be snug around the baby to offer baby adequate support. It is easier demonstrating this than to actually write about it and believe me it is very easy and quick to do!
Here are some reasons why African women back their babies ( that’s what we say..back our babies not babywear! ) http://www.infobarrel.com/7_Reasons_Why_African_Village_Women_Back_Their_Babies
History of yourba people http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Yoruba_people
Hello, my name is Bisi, babywearing consultant (SoB CIC), mother to two cheeky & very special kids (Joy and Joseph). Our 3rd baby has been christened Joy&Joe baby wrap slings! and we loveeee babywearing :)