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Mixed reactions trail carrying of babies in `carriers’

Some women and men have said carrying babies on `baby carriers’ was making mothers look like kangaroos instead of human beings.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews on Saturday in Lagos that carrying of babies in carriers was not African while others believe there was no medical advantage.

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Mrs Ruth Isibor, President, Catholic Women Organisation, St. Joachim and Anne Church, Ijegun, described modern women as being overzealous mothers unlike ancient ones.

According to her, “women of these days are becoming something else. A child that is supposed to be carried at the mother’s back is kept in a bag that is called `carrier’ in the name of fashion”.

She said that putting or carrying a baby on a carrier was very strange and did not give that child the dignity of childhood.

“Some mothers who prefer to carry their babies on a baby carrier on their chest are only behaving like animals by acting as mother monkey.

“It is the fashion of monkeys or kangaroo to carry their babies on the chest everywhere they went because it is their style of protecting the young ones,’’ she said.

The woman leader said that though those that did so called it fashion, but spiritually, it was a form of relegating human beings to mere objects.

“About few weeks ago, I challenged a young woman in my area carrying a baby on her chest with a carrier who was trying to take a bike, because the baby almost dropped,’’ she said.

Moreover, Mrs Deborah Emejom, a school teacher in Ajah, told NAN that carrying babies on baby carriers was really risky because the buckle could get loose.

“I’ve witnessed when a baby carrier cut on the road and the baby fell down, it would have been a disaster if not for immediate rescue by a passersby.

“The problem is that the carriers we have in Nigeria are not the good ones because those used out could withstand the test of any weight of a baby which is why the use out there is encouraged.

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“Medically, using baby carrier causes chest pains especially for babies that have weight, so why not back babies which is safer and more assured,’’ she said.

Similarly, a father of three children, Mr Kenechukwu Nwaka, said the practice was subjective, depending on the orientation of such women.

“A Muslim would cover her baby with Hijab inspite of how hot the weather is. This is unhygienic and risky to others, I recall the woman who did same in the just concluded Presidential poll.

“She was in the queue and the baby died without her knowledge, not until after she had voted before she realised it,’’ he said.

According to Nwaka, publisher of school books, “inspite of this, I believe backing of babies is better as opposed to carrying them in pouches like kangaroos.

“The legs dangle like mad man’s pendants, although some may argue that the baby is visible but if you have to mount on a bike or try lifting something you will see how dangerous it is.

“Moreover, our ancestors got it right. Let’s not sheepishly copy foreign practice, please let us keep backing our babies like our parents did to us,’’ he said.

Also speaking, Mrs Josephine Eguavon, immediate past President, Confraternity of Christian Mothers, said that carrying of babies at the back created emotional communication between mother and child.

“It may look fashionable and convenient to have your babies on carriers as our young mother’s would say, but it’s lack of knowledge of the impact created when we carry our babies on our back.

“I must say that, there’s a lot of bonding by way of physical contact between the mother and child when carried on their mother’s back, it’s healthier because the baby breath’s well unlike when strapped to the chest.

“In a case that a mother has any kind of respiratory infection or diseases, the child can easily be infected, it’s not a safe way to carry babies,’’ she said.

She said that should there be an accident inform of falls, the baby will be affected, as the mother will fall on the child and cause suffocation or injury.

A caterer, Mrs Asisat Oyeleye, was of the opinion that though carrying of babies in front was modern, but was risky for the baby and mother.

“Backing of babies is a lot safer than having them in baby carriers because when a woman stumbles over, she falls face down and the baby at the back remains safe,’’ she said.

However, Mrs Buky Shomide, a business woman in Diaspora, told NAN via telephone that carrying of babies on baby carriers had more assurance to enlightened mothers.

“Though it is a borrowed culture, but it depends on comfortability of the woman, especially international women.

“The problem of having babies on carriers is that the weight of the baby would eventually affect the backbone of the mother,’’ she said.

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However, a medical practitioner, Mrs Yomi Newton, said that backing of a child as an African or Nigerian culture was both healing and psychologically soothing.

“Most often the `oja’ or `loin’ tied round gives the baby a grasp of tommy flattening while at the same time, one should be careful that the loin is not too tight.

“Backing a child culturally is a sign of fertility, convenience and enables the mother to perform other household chores, while the child will not be forcibly dropped by any evil force,’’ she said.

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