Babywrapping: A Cultural Perspective on Public Health & Infant Mortality

Thank you for clicking on the link to read my most recent blog post. Today I am going to walk you through an envisioning exercise.

Take a few deep breaths and forget about your own worries for a moment. I want you to imagine you are a new mother (maybe you are), or even a mom with multiple children under the age of 12. This Mama has no car and needs to go to the local market for groceries. She must either choose to lug her infant in the hospital-provided car seat while she walks to the nearest bus stop– pay for her own bus fare plus her older children. Then get to the market only purchase half of the groceries she needs so that she and her children can manage carrying the load back home; or she could leave the infant at home with its older siblings, but if she leaves her baby at home, she knows that there is risk the baby could be unsafe. She can only depend on the resources she has to protect and sustain her family.


Access to a babywrap can change all of that. As a Multi-certified Doula, Holistic Childbirth Educator, and Postpartum Care Provider, I think about how many Mamas I see struggling with their new babies. My own personal and professional experiences strongly influences the importance of why I design and promote the use of babywraps at my monthly Issa Wrap African Babywrapping Events.

The first picture I get in my phone when I woke up the morning after hosting one of my largest babywrapping events, at my house is a Baby Bee wearing her baby in a wrap, with a prideful smile.

As a women’s health care provider, my community based support services are expanding. I recently started conducting postpartum care services after haven given birth myself a little over a year ago.

Through my private practice, Beehive Birth Consulting, my “Issa Wrap” program is designed to provide prenatal education to the marketplace by offering concierge style home-visitation services with a focus on breastfeeding support, postpartum care, babywrap use and the cultural benefits of traditional healing. The benefits also include helping Mamas and families get access to these services who may be in economic hardship.


I am also co-founder of InTune Mother Society (IMS), an organization that seeks to create a bridge to a global market to help women access culturally specific babywraps for Mama’s enrolled in the WIC program as well as other family service organizations, hospitals, and family/legal interfacing systems.

This Fall I begin my journey in Anthropology at Oregon State University. Majoring in Biocultural Diversity and Human Development, my passion for research, writing, and creating, drove me to revamp my Mama Bee’s Collective action.

I gained a massive amount of inspiration from a great friend who is from Kenya. She has roots from within the Turkana Tribe, where it is know as the Cradle of Civilization…

My wildest dreams is of growing an organization with a large reach and impact that could become a global mission.”


Babywrapping as a public health initiative…

The function of babywraps in public health are cultural. We know that socially, emotionally, and mentally, African American women and families are a major topic when we talk about Infant Mortality. This month my Hive is addressing babywrapping as a public health intervention through Issa Wrap, in that the practice increases breastfeeding success, decreases child abuse, increases general safety and health of the family unit and potentially lowers maternal/infant mortality. Just so happens that September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month so I am excited about our upcoming IssaWrap! event…

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In my private Postpartum Care Practice, African Babywapping– carrying on your front, back, and side to side– is my go to, to encourage breastfeeding and milk production.

Last month was Black Breastfeeding Week and I shared how when we breastfeed, we get natural “oxytocin shots,” so we took our babies out to get a little “Milk Wasted.”


 


But did you also know that we get a fairly good sized natural oxytocin when we wrap our babies. African cultures have been wrapping their babies since the beginning of time. It is shown that babywrapping does scientifically replace some of those hormones when the breastfeeding relationship transforms.

One of my Mama Bee’s wrapping her baby. She started wrapping her baby around the time she turned four months old. Babywrapping “lightened her load.”

My practice theorizes that the cultural connection between Kanga fabric and the use of custom babywrap carriers is a strong pointing out that “babywrapping” is a remedy for healing justice in the African American community.

It is my hope to show this through the work of my research and practivism withing BCC.

Babywraps can play an integral role in child abuse prevention too. Research reports that 89 to 94 percent (range based on variation of data state to state) of parents who abused their babies did so because the baby wouldn’t stop crying.

 

“Babywraps reduce crying,” Here an article by J. Claire K. Niala a mother, osteopath & writer based in Nairobi, Kenya points out Why African Babies Don’t Cry.

Here is another reason why Issa Wrap African Inspired Babywraps could also be an important tool for reducing Infant Mortality and abuse in Black pregnant women and families.

Babywrapping is also key to prevent accidents as it has the potential to prevent infant-related accidents too.

This is a powerful tool we can use with the right knowledge that we have had since the beginning of time and our ancestors are guiding us back to the practice.

Wrapping Across The Globe– Babywraps and Breastfeeding in the African Tradition.

In December of this year, we are launching our global partnrship with Kenyan NGO Daughter’s of Africa, a grassroots effort dedicated to delivering education and entrepreneurial support service to women in the village of Turkana.

The Issa Wrap program provides local and national training and resources to community volunteers without babywrapping credentials to ensure families are properly informed and safely fitted.

You can read more about the Beehive’s initiative Issa Wrap! on this website.

Learn more about babywrapping as a public health intervention when you connect with me here on Facebook.

Follow me on IG @beehive_birth_consulting

Twitter @BeehiveBirth

RaShaunda Lugrand – Designer and Trainer

Of Issa Wrap! A program of Beehive Birth Consulting

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