Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Are you a baby wearer?

Ok, this might sound like an alien term but "babywearing" refers to the practice of "wearing" your baby on your body using any type of carrier.

In Malaysia, we'd probably see a lot of Indonesian maids slinging babies or toddlers on their bodies using the sarong batik.

Personally, I am not one of the "cultural" types who would go around with the baby strapped onto me full time. Seriously, I think I'd hardly get any work done! I also have a bad back...

One fine day, the baby was crying more than usual that my Chinese neighbour knocked on my door to check if everything was alright. I told her that the baby would cry if I'm not within viewing distance, which I don't recall experiencing with my first child...

She recommended that I wear a "mei tai", which I eyed gingerly although I've seen her carrying her little granddaughter, a cute 1 year old girl with pigtails, around (see pic on the right).

I mentioned my bad back but since the baby is still so small, she doesn't think it'll hurt. Since she has a mei-tai and wrap (a long piece of linen cloth that would be as difficult to tie as a saree!), she lent me the former.

The baby had stopped crying and was watching and listening with interest. She was also quiet when the auntie carried her and placed her on my back while I quickly tied the straps.

When the auntie demonstrated the way for me to tie the baby on my back, I knew I will NEVER be able to do it - gosh, I may just fling her away! You see, you've got to hook the top 2 straps under the child's armpits, hold the straps with one hand, bend down and slowly place her on your back O_O

Of course, the auntie could do it with her eyes closed since she's used to it. Seriously, the little girl took it all in her stride when the nai-nai (paternal grandmother) strapped her on the back.

The baby was *really happy* (although she looks worried in the pic but she didn't cry at all) and I was able to continue:
  1. cooking dinner i.e. stir-frying a plate of vegetables,
  2. washing some plates and 
I'm afraid that's about all I could do because I felt really awkward carrying her on my back! LOL

Besides feeling rather warm in the back, I was worried each time I turn around that I might knock her legs or her body against the doorway or the edge of the wall. Feeling rather stressed (and hot!), I unstrapped her after about 30 minutes.

My back didn't hurt at all and I quite enjoy using the "mei tai" (front carry) when we go out. She can even fall asleep comfortably, take a nap and wake up without crying :D

Since it's a traditional "mei tai", the Hubby had to help me tie the straps across my back (in an "X") each time I carried the baby in front. I like it so much that I trawled the web in search of a modern "mei tai" where I can snap on the straps myself. I've only used it once since it arrived and I like it a lot already!

Guess that'll be in the next post?

P/S I forgot to mention that a few days later, the neighbour's daughter presented me with a new mei-tai in dazzling gold. It's just as nice to use as her everyday one but I need someone to tie the straps up for me. Thus, it's a back-up carrier for now ;-)


  1. Hi! Have you tried the sling which doesn't require any tying (just loop it over the shoulder), similar to the sarong batik? My mom got me one recently from Mydin (only RM13.90!) and I find it really handy.

  2. Hi! It's me, the Anonymous again. The sling works fine at the front as well - that's how I carry my little boy. I haven't tried carrying the baby on my side - baby and I haven't figured that out yet!