A favorite

I have many favorites here in Africa. 

One of them is the way mother’s carry their babes here. 

Mom’s use colorful cloths of many kinds to tie their babies onto their backs.  It is colorful, cheap and easy.  It’s also a great way for babies to have wonderful physical contact with their mom starting at a very young age (a few months). 

Here, Winnie is using a traditional kanga to hold Jeremy.  To use the fabric, a mom leans over balancing the baby on her back, then she pulls the fabric tight over the baby making sure it covers the bum, 



but not the legs, and then she pulls it tight and knots it close to her breastbone.  

If going out, the mother usually takes a Kenyan baby blanket and ties it around the baby and herself to provide extra protection from “the cold”. 

Each kanga has a different saying on it in Swahili.  It might be something like, “We have loved, but this is how it must be” or “Don’t be jealous, God is the giver of our bread” or other sayings you might find wise women using or expressing. 

I’m working on my kanga use.  I’m not comfortable with having Ameena on my back yet, so I tie on the kanga and then “stuff” her in the front.  “Stuff” was the word used by a momma in the market when she saw my method.  She so DID not approve of my method, but then again, oh well!

P.s.   And now, here Ameena is……on my back in a kanga!!  Not bad!

4 thoughts on “A favorite

  • Karen


    I’ve admired these kangas in all of your pictures. Could we work out some sort of trade? You bring one back (if you have room in your luggage )for Annie and I’ll sew matching somethings for your girls? (Or not matching if you like)

    Thanks for the duowrap recommend!

    • mayfamily

      Deal!!! I’ll message you to work it out here in a few weeks, I’ve got quite a few ready to be packed to come home, so you can have your choice. Funny thing is, I had just been wondering if I could work some kind of deal out with you and whallah!

  • TulipGirl

    Found you via a comment on Naoma’s fb page. . . a girlfriend has already asked me to send back kangas and details of tying for her babywearing. . . (And we won’t be in Kenya for at least 6 more months!)

  • natalie

    You look so cute in this pic.

    P.S. I want to see a photo of the “mom leans over balancing the baby on her back” step of getting one of these nifty things on!

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