When we arrived in México, my son was 4 and he no longer wished to be carried about. However, my husband’s family introduced me to the rebozo and I sent some to all my friends that had babies to wear.
Babies are an integral part of life in this Catholic nation, where birth control is still considered a sin and contraception very difficult to come by in rural areas. These two factors create a childbearing age that begins at about 15 and ends in the late 40s. Most women do not have any choice but to take the smallest of their broods along with them for the daily trip for tortillas or while minding the store. In rural areas, babies also may be taken out to the fields, all snuggly encased in the rebozo.
A rebozo is a staple in a traditional Mexican woman’s wardrobe. Young girls wear them as shawls to add color to their outfits. Mothers wear them as baby slings and nursing covers. Older women wear them to shade their heads from the blistering sun.
They come in all colors and materials, but the most common pattern in our area is a simple black and white.
I have seen indigenous women wear their babies on their back as they come through town selling fresh cut flowers, but most women here wear their babies face to face.
The rebozo loops about the baby securely and allows the mother to use both hands, although, with heavier babies, one hand is braced underneath for additional support. The extra material is then used as a blanket to cover the baby’s head, either from the sun or cold or with newborns especially, from the evil eye.
Read more about rebozos here: Sliding a rebozo through a wedding ring