In Malay it's called barut gantung bayi for the triangle shaped one or bedung for the rectangle one. While some tradition requires the binders to be worn on the inside of the clothing which is directly protecting the baby's skin, some traditions wore them on the outside after the layers of clothing. It doesn't matter, they function quite the same way.
Of course all other parts of an infant needs to be well cared for, especially the head and neck area -- to name a few essential ones -- and that small soft really fragile space between the top of the head and the forehead. But that's another story...
Putting on an infant belly binder or a baby navel protector on a newborn is a traditional custom where I come from. The Bidayuh Biatah called it 'uto' as in 'oo-tow'. That's for the triangle-looking baby belly binder (below) which I'm in favour of and have procured at home for the upcoming little one.
What the lady from Pu3store texted me...
Infants need to at least wear these protective gears inside their other clothing for 1 or 2 weeks, maybe longer... depending on when the stump will get dry and fall off on its own which then will leave a tiny hole in the belly which we lovingly call belly button. Oh don't worry, I'm well covered for these parts - I've babysat my nieces and nephews before and that's always a curious miraculous happening to me.
Made from soft cottony material, uto is triangular in shape with soft cotton strings attached at each vertex/corner to securely bind the piece of cloth around a baby. My mom would usually made these binders herself from leftover cloths or cutouts, occasionally using different patterns of cloth to create a really cute one. The more childish pattern the better... let the creativity run free. Since it was easy to make and wouldn't take up too much time, she would sew like 10 to 20 at one time. And then passed on to the next sibling that comes along.
Bought these from Pu3store Online
In a way, this uto not only protects the baby, but brings the clans close together ... in a more family-oriented melodramatic sense of the word lah... Hehe.
So what happens to them after the baby passes the critical few weeks or months? Well... they can continue wearing them for fashion's sakes, like an inner clothing or a singlet. In fact, I think it makes babies wearing them look really adorable and very huggable! Reasoning aside, very fancy fashion sense indeed if I say so myself. :D
Checkout how this handsome lil baby boy wore his at 3 months!
And with that note... here's to Week36 and counting!