How to Wear a Baby East African Style

Babywearing is huge is East Africa. Everywhere you go you will see mamas carrying babies, and sometimes even babies wearing babies.
Babies are worn in beautiful, brilliantly colored kangas and kitenges.

My daughter’s nanny and our dear friend Emmy first taught me how to wear her in a kanga. It quickly became my favorite way to babywear. I could get so much done around the house while she was on my back. It was also an instant way to put her down for a nap when she was ready. At almost two-and-a-half years old, we still do it almost every single day. I seriously don’t know what I would do without it.

Tandem Babywearing

When Eva was still just a baby, I snapped pictures of Emmy explaining how to tie a kanga so that I could share them with friends I sent kangas to. But since I’ve received so much interest in how I wear Eva, I thought I’d share it on my blog along with my best explanation AND a how-to video I attempted to create. Maybe between the pictures, the explanation, and the video I posted you can figure it out, haha.

Step One: Carry baby on your hip.
Step Two: Swing baby around to your back.
Step Three: Drape top center of kanga across the baby’s shoulders.
Step Four: Make sure bottom part of kitenge is tucked under baby’s bottom and hamstrings. The baby should be “sitting” in the fabric.
Step Five: Pull ends of kanga tightly, bringing one end over one shoulder and the opposite end under the armpit. Tie the ends in two knots.

Okay, that may have sounded confusing, so I made a video.
This is the first time I’ve ever filmed myself in this fashion so bear with me.

PS- I’ve learned several things from the making of this video:
1. I should probably plan out what I’m going to say before I start filming.
2. I suck at making how-to videos.
3. I will never be a vlogger.
I also apologize in advance for my two-year-old who was protesting the whole time because she thought I was going to put her down for another nap. Oh, and for my nasally voice… I was in the middle of a cold.
Without further adieu…
It helps if you look in a mirror as you’re doing this.

It’s okay to feel a little uncomfortable at first. Ask someone to help you out.
But if it absolutely, totally doesn’t feel comfortable at all to you, you can always tie the kanga in a knot over your shoulder and use it as a regular ol sling, lowering the baby into it after it is tied on.

Or, if you don’t want to wear your baby in it, you can also use it as a saarong or beach blanket:


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