I’ve Got the Carrier, Bring on the Babies

So, while I was studying Kaqchikel Maya, a couple of years ago in Guatemala, I was amazed and attracted to the traditional way Maya women carried their babies around. I was hooked. Hooked on the variation in textile and hooked on the simplicity of the practice.

I had previously decided that before I had kids, I needed to find better alternatives to the awkward American practice of transporting a baby to the side in a heavy plastic car seat like trying to carry a five gallon bucket of water. I longed for something simpler and more intimate. Something less consumeristic and something more aesthetic. I found that something in Guatemala, in the ye old Maya practice.

In Guatemala they call these things cargadores de bebes which literally means carriers of babies and sounds pretty cool in Spanish. I think they haven’t quite caught on in the English speaking world for lack of a catchy name.  Baby carrier, baby sling, baby wrap all fall a little short.

The things themselves, however, I could see really catching on with Gen Y as we’ve experienced excessive consumerism  and  are looking for alternatives. A number of those alternatives seem to lie in the simpler ways things were done in the past, ways we are now rediscovering and re-embracing. Here’s my contribution. A simple way to hold your baby close, take him or her everywhere, and avoid the bulk of lugging around strollers or the plastic car seat out of the car.

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3 thoughts on “I’ve Got the Carrier, Bring on the Babies

  1. hello! I am guatemalan american and i would like to know how to wrap a baby, if you could tell me how you did in both of your pictures (front and back sling) and also would you know where and how I could get authentic guatemalan textile? thank you so much.

    • Hi, thank you for your comment. I just took a bunch of pics showing how to fold the cargador. I am no expert so please don’t try it with a real baby based on my directions. It should give you a good idea of how its done though.

      It is folded the same for the front and back, though you need it pulled tighter when it’s against your back.

      I spent some time trying to find an authentic baby carrier textile online but haven’t found a good source yet. There are cheap ones that are not made by hand but I would definitely want a hand-made one. I really like my blue one that is made from 100% cotton from the town San Antonio Aguas Calientes. Those from other areas are often made of nylon and can cause the baby to overheat.

      I will definitely comment here if I find a good online source for a hand-made Maya baby carrier.

  2. Pingback: Maya Baby Carriers: A How To | And That's A Post

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