Saturday, June 14, 2014

How to Carry a Baby Like a Rwandan

After months of seeing babies carried on the backs of their mothers or other women, I finally got my chance to carry a baby Rwandan-style for more than 2 minutes.  All you need is a big enough blanket or towel and voila, you have a baby carrier!  It might help prevent or cure hip dysplasia too, based on what the treatment brace looks like and the experience of a young baby out here who potentially had it and then didn't after months of being carried like this.

STEP 1 - Get the baby to ride piggy-back with his or her arms down.  The arms can be free, but trapping them in the blanket avoids hair pulling.

STEP 2 -Wrap the blanket or towel around the baby, making sure to roll the top of the blanket first to create extra support for the baby's head and neck.  Get someone to turn the baby's head to the side before pinning it with the blanket.
Proceed to tuck in the top corners of the blanket across the woman's chest to hold the upper part of the baby in place.  It needs to be tight.  Otherwise the baby will feel like he or she is falling away from you, which is distressing.

STEP 3 - Hike the lower portion of the blanket under the baby's butt and legs and pull him or her upwards.  This motion is like hiking up one's heavy backpacking pack before attaching the hip belt. 
You can choose to keep the baby's feet outside of the blanket or you can keep them inside.  Most women have the baby's feet outside of the blanket.

STEP 4 - Proceed to twist the lower corners of the blanket around each other once or twice before tucking the ends under the blanket.  This also needs to be tight. 
I found that I couldn't breathe in deeply with this method of carrying a baby because of how tight the blanket has to be to keep the baby from sliding down.  I also happened to put my lower knot right at the point of my solar plexus, which was uncomfortable.  With more experimentation, I hope I can find a more comfortable place to put the knot and the edges of the blanket.

 STEP 5 - Enjoy hands-free baby carrying that allows you to do things in front of you without worrying about the baby getting hurt or being in the way.  I could have played a guitar, cooked, or carried something without squishing the baby.

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