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Babywearing in Malta, and beyond, past and present

[ 0 ] 04/10/2017 |

Babywearing; is it really a new trend? It seems to be a deeply grounded, unfounded, and actually very recent belief in the Western world, that the close attachment that young babies demonstrate towards their primary caregiver, usually the mum, is something that we need to break off as soon as possible. ‘Don’t spoil that baby’, ‘Don’t hold her in your arms all day’, ‘Let her cry a bit, it’s good for her‘ is a common advice a young mum might hear even from her very own well meaning mother. Even though it was just one or two generations before her, her mum’s mother or grandmother, doing exactly the same, as we new mums do nowadays. We wear our babies, just as women have always done for thousands of years, in order to cope with parenting a new baby that needs bonding, skin to skin contact and being held close, while juggling house chores, work chores, and the needs of the rest of the family members. Nature has mastered the way that humans are to be made and grow up as healthy as canbe, so there has to be a good reason why the vast MAJORITY of human babies do resist being physically detached from their mum, for a few months as the bare minimum. And actually there are many, as more and more studies in the field reveal.

My very own great great grandmother, back in 1915, was forced to immigrate on her own from Asia Minor to Greece with a 1 year old in her arms. There were no prams at the time, at least not from where she came from, and not in her social rank. Prams were unheard of. She tied her baby with her silk wedding bedsheet on her back, freeing up her hands to carry what she considered as necessities to her new destination; a second-hand Singer sewing machine that she owned (women used to sew their own clothes) and the picture of her beloved Virgin Mary. The silk bed sheet does not exist anymore, but the other two items have been passed on to me to safeguard them <3

Were women of that time babywearing in Malta? Thee doesn’t seem to be anything officially recorded, so I dropped the line to the Babywearing Malta group.  Jenny Barbara Buhagiar said she doesn’t have any first hand information but a woman who recently delivered something to her and was in her 50s, when she saw Jenny wearing her youngest boy she told her  “you are reminding me of the old days”. Gertrude added that ‘long time ago country women and peasants or older siblings used to baby wear since they needed to work in the fields too’ and that she encountered paintings of peasant women in Malta baby wearing , low back wearing with a cloth which they used as well as a hammock to rock the baby to sleep. Tracey Ann Vella Cumbo commented that her father in law who has 9 siblings, when he saw her wearing her son he told her that his mother used to wear them like that too. His eldest sister is about 70. Tatyana Farrugia said ‘My mother says her mother who had 7 children, used to use a sheet to tie babies to her. My grandma never worked in the fields so I would imagine she wore her babies for domestic works.’

 

Leanne Fenech Yüce ‘s mother in law (from Turkey) uses a piece of cloth to tie babies on her back while she goes on with her daily duties. She wore her 5 kids, 3 grandkids who are all grown up now and now doing it with 2 new grandkids. Leanne says they love it, and fall asleep within minutes! My mother in law told me that in Norway as well it was common sight to see women working in the fields wearing their babies. I wonder why it hasn’t been more documented since it was such a widely spread practice.

Lets move now fast forward to today!

 

How has Babywearing changed the life of mums living in Malta for the better?

The replies are from members of the Babywearing Malta group.

Maria Parnis I am a babywearing convert. 😊 with my first son I used to own a non ergonomic carrier and it put me off completely to the idea of babywearing! My back hurt, my baby’s legs turned blue, he was super fussy and it was not practical at all. With my second son, I researched and found a maltese babywearing group….. I was intrigued and wanted to know more, my fellow group members helped me and I also met up with a professional. I loved it instantly, I could see that both baby and mummy were super comfortable so I bought an ergonomic baby carrier while I was still pregnant. When my son made his debut I tried it immediately. Loved it!!!! It is so comfortable and super practical. In 2 years I barely ever used my pushchair and now we are moving on to a toddler carrier too!!! 😂 😂 I love babywearing! To all new mamas and mamas to be…… do not go for cheap brands! Go for comfort, safety and practical

 

Vicky Aquilina I babywear when I run errands, walk my dogs and baby is fussy (teething). I also love the outdoors and have two dogs which are walked everyday. Thanks to my sling and baby carrier I continued to do it with baby too. All I can say is it’s practical, easy and for me personally….a life saver. With my baby carrier and sling I didn’t have to give up my walks or need help when doing shopping. I have both a sling and baby carrier. I use sling at home mostly and baby carrier when going out because of lumbar support. 😊

 

Geraldine Cauchi Powell I started babywearing my lo since he was around a month old! Esp after once I went to my grocery store and literally couldn’t move with my pram. My lo loved being close to mummy (or daddy ;)) and after a year still does!! My hands are free to do shopping/walk the dog/do a quick errand and even do some chores in the house! And once I changed to an ergonomic carrier it was so much easier! It’s practical and light and it was a godsend when we went abroad! Would recommend it to all parents out there 😉

 

Elaine Vella From before my son was born I wanted to give baby wearing a go. In the first month o used a non ergonomic carrier, which was given as a gift, the and although my son was still young and pretty light my back used to ache after a short while. I then started researching babywearing and attended an ergobaby workshop where I just fell in love with the product. I tried different models and purchased my ergobaby performance. From then on it was a life changer. I used it daily to go to work and my son was so comfortable he napped daily. I used it at work, to do laundry, to go to the store, to go for a walk, to go abroad. It was and still is the best investment ever. When you live in a busy area where a pushchair barely ever passes on the pavement, baby wearing was a saviour that gave me ease. Now at 2 years I still love it. I highly recommend it to anyone who has a child, go for an ergonomic carrier which is practical and safe for the child. Happy babywearing !

Jade Bøye Baby wearing has made it so easy (possible) to travel, go shopping and catch up with house work. It’s saved me time and helps with creating that special bond with our kids. My husband also loves our ergo carrier, loves to go on hikes in our rocky countryside, where a pram is out of the question. I carried my daughter until she turned two and had no issues with my back or shoulders, it’s amazing! Super supportive, light and compact. Highly recommended it for any parent or carers 😀

 

Tiziana Farrell It surely made me a more independently mum especially when alone, with no help and running errands. But most of all it kept me and my baby closer! It’s a beautiful feeling and now looking forward to wear my second baby soon!

Tammy Stellini Basically if I was told I can only take 3 items to an isolated island …. baby carrier will be one of them 🙂 it simply makes you mobile, able to carry on with your life and not to mention that baby feels secure and comfortable against mummy’s heartbeat. Having 3 kids I am grateful to have used baby carriers – they just make life more comfortable and convenient

 

Therese Azzopardi When you are always on the go, baby wearing gives you that little push in running errands with your lo. It is comfortable and you cannot describe the feeling having your lo so close to you. Plus he used to have so much fun. The carrier was also used when doing house chores (not cooking of course), but apart from still doing your things, you have your angel close by and bonding was getting stronger ☺️

 

Maria Mizzi Started baby wearing when my daughter was 2 months old, and still wearing her at 25 months 😍 as a baby my daughter used to nap in our carrier when going for walks. It makes shopping or running errands much easier and practical. Perfect when travelling especially when visiting places where one can’t go around in a stroller. Ideal when going somewhere and there’s a crowd as I can protect my daughter better. My daughter still loves looking around and seeing the world from up above when in the carrier 😊 Our ergonomic carrier is safe, very light and comfortable for both of us. My back doesn’t hurt even now that my daughter is older and heavier. My daughter benefits from more hugs & kisses on the forehead when I’m wearing her. I rate it as my best buy and recommend baby wearing to all persons taking care of babies & toddlers! It’s special & both my daughter and I love it 😊

Audrey Camilleri Me and my husband were fascinated by the amount of people who baby wear,and make it seem so easy and comfortable. We saw people wearing their babies during a trekking holiday, and it was at that point that we decided to read and learn about baby wearing. I read a lot about baby wearing, and also joined the group on fb: Babywearing Malta. I can say that I wear my lo all the time. I find it very useful when we go to a supermarket. Can’t wait to wear my lo when we’re abroad! 🙂

 

Natasha Azzopardi Baby wearing has really enriched my experience of motherhood in those early months. I have three kids and don’t know what I would do without my carrier. I need to have free hands to be able to carry on with my jobs during the day. I wore my little ones to the supermarket, whilst cooking at home, on and off planes, to parks virtually everywhere I go. And my kids loved it too. Also it was easy and handy to breastfeed whilst in the carrier. I would recommend baby wearing to any new mum. I love being that close to them and they get Lots and lots of cuddles:)

 

Annamaria Dudas When our daughter was born my husband lived in another country 2000km away from us. I was alone, living on the 4th floor in a building with no elevator. I had to run errands, do grocery shopping and carry all of that and my baby up to the 4th floor. Then when she turned 2 months old we began to travel back and forth between Hungary and Ireland, later Hungary and Malta. It was sooo much easier first with a wrap, later with an SSC (soft structured carrier) to manage all that. My hands were free, my baby was close and comfy. I was soooo grateful that we were babywearing when we moved to Malta, the pedestrian walkways/roads here would have been a nightmare with a buggy, no offence 😀 My daughter hated it anyway. But she loved being carried, we loved the closeness, she felt safe. We went on carrying until she was a little over 4 (of course she wanted it less and less) and I really miss it. I think it helped us to build closeness, made my daughter more independent and it was priceless that I did not need to travel with a buggy/pram.

Manolita Pace Babywearing has given me my life back. As a baby my son didn’ t like the pram, pushchair, car seat whatever. I felt like i was going crazy because he wanted to be held all the time. However i had so much stuff that i had to do. I discovered ergonomic baby wearing when he was about 5 months and that s when i started living again. I used to put him in the carrier and leave the house on foot and do all the errands that needed to be done. At home i used to put him in the carrier and do some housework. Last year at 2 years old we went for a holiday and thanks God that i had the carrier with me. We visited a lot of medieval towns with hundreds of staircases….we used to go about effortlessly. If he sleeps we simply continued on our way be it on a train, bus, boat or simply walking around. This year we did it again at 3 years old and 16.5kg i carried my son around and didn’t feel an ounce of back pain. He simply loves it. At home he sometimes gets the carrier and tells me “Mamma poggieni gol carrier pls” 😁

 

Jenny Barbara Buhagiar I only wore my 3rd baby and it has been awesome .. .still wearing him at 16 months. I do not think I would have been able to still take my twins (4 when he was born) all over, by walk & by bus (as I don’t drive) if it wasn’t for babywearing.

 

Happy International Babywearing Week 2017 to you all <3 I hope many of you will join the babywearing event on Saturday at YUE.

 

Anything to add? Please leave a comment below.

 

As always, Love, Liza

 

PS. Here’s a recent shot travelling with the kids <3

 

Category: Ergobaby, Mum's Library

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