Society

Hands-free and happy

Members of Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers (BSIM) at Race course

Members of Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers (BSIM) at Race course

 “I could even trek a mountain. My hands are free,” declares Anjana. D. Her 10-month-old son lies on her chest, held by the structured baby carrier. “It is comforting for a mother as the baby is constantly in touch and the baby feels secure too,” she adds.

Baby carriers have been around for many generations. And the urban society is catching up with the concept as it promises immense benefits.

“One can feed the baby discreetly in public,” says Swati Aravindh, who is active on Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers (BSIM) on Facebook. “You can use the hood to cover the baby’s head and breast feed anywhere, be it a restaurant, airport or any public space. You don’t have to look for a closed enclosure. As the baby is cuddled, it goes to sleep easily too. One can carry even a newborn. We want to encourage more mothers to use them,” she adds.

There are traditional ring-sling carriers, Mei Tai that can be strapped with knots, and structured carriers that come with buckles. “Every single item, including the ring or buckles, is tested for safety. There are many brands, but one has to buy an ergonomic one,” says Anjana.

The readymade carriers allow mothers to multi-task, says Priya Harikumar. “It relieves mother of stress, backaches, and shoulder pain. I don’t have to hand over my baby to someone when I want to step out for a walk or go shopping.”

It’s not just the mothers, fathers also use baby wear. Says Bruce, who recently went on a holiday to Malaysia with his one-year-old son Sahishnu.

“We had a good time sightseeing at the Twin Towers while the baby napped away. The carriers come in breathable cotton fabric, so the baby is comfortable while moving in any crowded place like a theatre or a station. While travelling abroad, your hands are free, and you can also easily carry the luggage ,” he says.

Though one has to spend anywhere between Rs.1,500 and Rs. 7,000 to buy a good carrier, mothers say it is a good investment. Says Rathi Priya M.G. “Every baby wants to be held or carried. They learn to walk fast and they become more confident children in the future. Most children are stroller un-friendly. They become restless. But, in a carrier, they enjoy the view and are happy.”

The online forums encourage re-sale of carriers too. “There is a lot of information on social media that teaches you to buy the right carrier,” says Manjari S. who bought a used carrier.

Aishwarya Raj says baby carriers enhance the bonding between the mother and child. Anu Durairaj carries her two-year-old daughter Sadhana in a Mei Tai and it helped her enjoy her holiday without worrying about the baby. “You can wear the baby till they are around three or four,” she says. Though one can carry the baby as long as they are comfortable, one has to take diaper and feeding breaks as required. Sharanya K.S. held her baby to her chest for nine hours during her trip abroad.

There are just two B’s that come to the rescue to calm down your baby, says Sujitha Anoop. “Breast feeding and Baby Wear.”

City connect

Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers (BSIM) formed by a group of mothers in Coimbatore has crossed 100 members. They are a part of several sister groups on baby carriers, breastfeeding, Baby Led Weaning, traditional weaning, cloth diapering, and gentle parenting. Recently, members of BSIM walked at Race Course carrying placards on babywearing carriers and breastfeeding. To know more, visit Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers (BSIM) on Facebook

Babywearing facts

Babywearing facts

Ring-sling comes with a ring and you sling the cloth into it and tie it. You can carry your baby on your front, hip and the back. You can get on with your household chores along with the baby

Mei Tais can be worn on your back or front. Works for travels, shopping, long walks and sightseeing. The fit should be M-shaped where the body panel reaches from knee to knee on the child.

Structured carriers come with buckles. It’s like strapping a school bag on to your chest.

In all these, the baby’s forehead should be at a kissable distance

To know more, visit Babywearing India group on Facebook

Bayiravi Mani, Founder of Kol Kol online store of baby carriers

“A non-ergonomic baby carrier aggravates an already existing hip problem in the baby. So, choose wisely,” says Bayiravi Mani, founder of Kol Kol online store. It is based in Gurgaon and sells ergonomic baby carriers.

A work-from-home baker, a carrier helped Bayiravi manage her baby as she stayed alone with her husband. “That’s why I decided to start Kol Kol. I source the fabrics from the South and test it on my baby before I sell them. Right now, I sell ring-sling and Mei Tais. The structured ones are being tested with other moms. It feels great to have your baby on your chest and still have your two hands free to do housework. When there are guests, it is really helpful as grandparents and the father can also carry the baby. Most importantly, mothers get a life. When you are out, you don’t have to make excuses and rush home for the baby’s naptime. When my child sleeps on me, I know my child is secure.”


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Printable version | Aug 16, 2022 11:52:18 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/international-babywearing-week-celebrations-and-ergonomic-baby-carriers/article7747277.ece