When I go to the mall, I find it really heart-warming when I see parents wearing their adorable babies. I think it is something special especially with babywearing dads. It’s also great that more and more parents are seeing the benefits of babywearing.
I used to babywear my little one as well. I carried her in a mei tai and ocassionally in our soft structured carrier. These days though, only my husband babywears because my knees are giving me trouble. But while it lasted, babywearing was such a wonderful experience for me and my daughter.
Babywearing is one way of having infants physically close to their mothers. It has been established that infants who are cuddled cry less and are less fussy. Meanwhile, babywearing parents are able to do their activities conveniently. They may use wraps, ringslings, mei tais or soft-structured carriers, among others to wear their babies.
The Need for Local Baby Carrier Brands
Babywearing is a practice that has been present in indigenous tribes in the Philippines such as the Igorots and the T’bolis for many generations. Traditionally, women wear a piece of cloth to have their young ones physically close while doing their chores.
While it’s certainly great that there are dozens of imported and safety tested baby carriers in the market, having local brands means diversity and often, more affordable options for parents who would like to babywear their children. It is also a special way to help local brands thrive.
There are a certainly lot of good local babywearing brands but recently I got curious about which ones have been safety tested. I then discovered two: Ubba Woven Wraps and Nanay at Ako Boutique.
Ubba Woven Wrap
“Ubba” is the Ilocano word for carry or babywear. It is a Filipino brand that features Abel Iloco fabric which is handloom-woven from cotton by the talented weavers in the Ilocos region.
Just look at the beautiful tapestry
|Image courtesy of Ubba Woven Wrap Facebook page
|Before release, Ubba woven wraps are tested for tensile strength by an international testing agency. Tensile strength is the maximum force that is needed to break a material, in this case, fabric.For example, the results of the tensile strength test done before the release of their woven wraps in 2015 are as follows:
Warp ( thread strung over loom vertically ): 60.15 kgs
Weft (thread drawn lengthwise through):26.44 kgs
This means that it will take about 26 kgs for the material to start breaking under tension.With the Ubba woven wrap, a mom can be attached to her baby without worrying if the material would break.
|Image courtesy of Ubba Facebook page
Nanay at Ako Boutique
Nanay at Ako is a local Filipino brand that was established in 2013 by a mother and daughter team. It is based on natural parenting practices of babywearing, breastfeeding and cloth diapering. It is the maker of several kinds of babycarriers such as Nakong’s CarGo, Nakong’s Mei Tai, Nanay at Ako Ring Sling. Nakong is the Ilocano word for boy which is their inspiration for making the products with care.
Nanay at Ako CarGo
Nanay at Ako CarGo is an ergonomically designed full buckled soft structured carrier (SSC). Its body and straps are made of cotton canvas and cotton twill. It has a sleeping hood contained in a pocket. This pocket is also large enough to hold valuables such as keys, wallet or mobile phone.
I think Nanay at Ako CarGo is probably the first safety-tested SSC that’s locally made. Most safety tested and imported SSCs are quite expensive, usually more than P5,000. On the other hand, CarGo is relatively more affordable at 4,000+. Some designs are even on sale, like the cool Panagbanniaga.
|Image courtesy of Nanay at Ako Website
The strength of the materials and its structural durability ( buckles, webbing, zippers and snaps ) have passed international safety testing. The weight limit for the CarGo is 20 kgs.
Nanay at Ako Meh Dai
The Meh Dai is Nanay at Ako’s version of a mei tai which is a traditional buckle-free wrap using ties. It is made of cotton and twill. It is highly adjustable and can grow with your baby.
A vibrant Meh Dai like this design called Yellow Turtles costs about P1000 with a detachable hood and a front zippered pocket. Its materials have passed international safety testing as well.
|Image Courtesy of Nanay At Ako Website
Ubbaem ni Nakkong Campaign
|Image courtey of Nanay at Ako Facebook page
Last year, Ubba Woven Wrap and Nanay at Ako Boutique launched their “Ubbaem ni Nakkong Campaign” which is a partnership geared towards supporting traditional weaving communities in Isabela and Ilocos.
For instance, this simply beautiful Cargo Ubba semi-conversion Kusikos brings about the intricate patterns of the abel fabric with the modern comfort of a soft-structured carrier.
|Image courtesy of Nanay at Ako Website
Babywearing can truly be a one-of-a-kind bonding experience for parents and babies as long as we practice patience and safety. I also hope that other brands be inspired by what Ubba and Nanay at Ako Boutique have achieved in terms of providing safe, comfortable and affordable carriers.
Nanay at Ako
Although many parents place importance on safety testing, it is also imperative that all practice safe babywearing. According to Babywearing.org, here are a few basic safety tips.
Maintain a clear airway for your baby. This means you need to keep the baby in an upright position, high enough to check breathing and to check if the chin is away from the chest.
The carrier must have adequate support for you baby’s knee and back. Your child’s knee must be higher that his bottom in a spread squat position. This means an ergonomically designed carrier will provide better support and comfort.
Make sure to check your carrier for wear or damage such as loose stitching or weak spots. It is advisable to buy from reputable manufacturers.
For more information about babywearing, you could join Babywearing Philippines on Facebook. You could also practice using different kinds of carriers by renting them through Wear Your Baby Ph so you can experience it yourself.
How about you, have you tried babywearing? Do you know other local babywearing brands? I’d love to know more about your experience.