Willingness to carry the offspring began in the times, which we know only from books. At the time when we began to take our first steps in an upright posture, women began to carry their offspring in their arms. At this point, the roles of parents were divided, with mothers taking care of the child and fathers providing food and prosperity for the family. It did not take long for a man to realize that by constantly carrying a child his hands were occupied. To make daily chores easier and not to leave the baby alone, designs emerged to keep the baby on the back.
At the turn of the century, babies were carried in more and more comfortable ways. They were wrapped in sheets, woven shawls or square flags.
Time for convenience
A revolutionary invention was the introduction of baby carriages, which made it possible to take the baby completely off the mother’s hands. Initially, these were baskets with wheels attached. Strollers still have their uses today and are used by all parents.
Back to the past
Hundreds of years later, we are discovering the many advantages of carrying our offspring close to our bodies. Our awareness that we provide them with closeness, a sense of security and we have influence on their correct posture convinces us a lot. Nowadays we want to provide our offspring with the most comfortable conditions for life.
Polish fashion for sling, that is colorful, diverse and comfortable
Cloth slings had different names – chycki, odziewacki, szmaty or płachty. The name depended on the region of Poland in which the sling was used. Children were also wrapped in pieces of clothing – they were worn in zapaska, i.e. large, embroidered aprons, or in thick woolen scarves; here the choice of material depended on the current season.
Children were carried by women and older siblings. Only newborns were carried in aprons and stockings, which were tied around the waist. In addition to their function of carrying, aprons were a great protection against the cold. Another type were hacks, or triangular slings. This model served a great function as a cradle, it was worn over the shoulder and the baby was placed in front or to the side of the wearer.
For a version of carrying the baby in front or on the back, wide, rectangular slings called rags worked great. This method allowed the mother to control what was happening to the baby, while the toddler could observe his surroundings.
The choice of cloth used to make the shawl was tied to the region and family traditions. They often took the version of a blanket, were multicolored and decorated with fringes, for example. Depending on the cut, shawls were woven from cotton, linen and hemp canvas or warm wool. They were usually rectangular in shape, or possibly triangular. Wearing technique was haphazard, not always adjusted to correct posture. Parents cared only that the child did not slip out of the sling.
The era of baskets
At one time, children were also carried in wicker baskets, which replaced the baby carrier of the time. During farm work, the baskets were placed in the shade or hung on trees so that the baby would not be disturbed. The baskets were light and handy.
Today’s slings are an improved version of those we know from history or from our grandmothers’ stories. Nowadays baby sling is a popular option for carrying a baby. In Poland we have many advisers and experts in the practice of slinging. They differ from the old-fashioned ones in that they are much more versatile and knowledgeable, explaining how to carry a baby.