So many people are intimidated by the African Kanga and miss out on the simplicity and fun of using it. In fact, I was one of them! I didn't begin using a Kanga for babywearing until this year. I remember the first demonstration video I saw featuring a kanga. My immediate thought was, that doesn't look safe. This was, of course, when I was just beginning to research and explore babywearing with my first child. I was worried about a torso carry. How could something be secure that didn't go over your shoulders? What really frightened me was watching the "twist and tuck" method of tying. What! No knot?! No way was that safe and I wasn't about to try it. What's more is that it looked like it was going to push down on my breasts and/or squish them. I am trying to keep them up! I really didn't want something putting downward pressure on them.
I missed out on nearly five years of babywearing with a kanga because I was afraid to try it. Hello! Women in Africa have been wearing their babies in this fashion for centuries! If it was unsafe, they probably wouldn't be doing it. So, I finally mustered up the guts to try it out with my little guy, affectionately called "The Dude." Granted, my babywearing skills have considerably advanced since my first child, but kangas are not difficult to master. If you can safely do a back carry, then you can carry your baby in a kanga.
Here is the basic back torso carry in an African Kanga with The Dude.
Some people have the misconception that you can only carry a small baby with a kanga, but this is not true at all. I actually thought that carrying my 28 lbs. toddler was really comfortable and quick! In fact, you can even carry a bigger kid like a 5 year old, if you really wanted to. This video shows my 23 month old, "Jellybean" in the torso kanga carry.
Lastly, I have a one-shoulder kanga back carry. This is for all of you who just don't feel comfortable or secure without something over your shoulder. A very simple carry that doesn't require any tricky slip knots.
Jami is the author for the Babywearing Videos Blog where she is attempting to do every carry, with every variation with children of different ages in every type of baby carrier. She is also the creator of Babywearing Videos, a site where users can upload, embed, share and talk about their favorite videos from all over the web! (Coming June 2010)