Thursday, November 13, 2014

That thing called 'infant belly binder' ...

Don't know if anybody has ever heard of this little conventional newborn gear, but I was born and raised in a culture where it's widely practiced and passed down from generations. I'm pretty sure some other cultures have it too, like the Malays and the Chinese, just perhaps called by a different name or has a different look. Or perhaps not, since these are modern times and most modern moms these days go by just fine as well, or maybe just buy the ready-made binders sold at baby departmental store.

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...

According to my mother, the infant belly protector is to protect a newborn's belly and navel area especially the umbilical cord stump during the baby's first few weeks after delivery.  Keeping these areas well covered is crucial after a baby is born, to make sure they're not exposed to air or come in contact with urine.

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

I'm sure my grandma helped made some in those days... apparently sewing these utos were a favorite mother-daughter (or future grandma and future mother) past-time while waiting for the newcomer to arrive... all loving thoughts and hope filling up the conversation. And sometimes, really close relatives like a future aunty or grandaunty (who can sew) will gift these to her future niece/nephew as a way of saying "I want to be a part of your growing up adventure".

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!

Oh by the way, for the record, I may be a modern-day mom, but I believe that some customs are good and should be made a tradition so we won't easily forget how we were raised. On the other hand, I had no time to make these on my own (even though I very well can sew and there's a sewing machine at my house) since I work in the daytime and gets tired really fast by nighttime. BUT... I managed to buy these online! Surprisingly there are some part-time mothers out there doing this home-made binders and sell them online for a very reasonable price.Yay for online shopping! You can also check out www.kiutmiut.com for variety.

And with that note... here's to Week36 and counting! 

10 comments:

  1. Ya, we had that when we were small...prevent wind, stomach ache. Dunno of anybody still using that these days.

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  2. Happy 36th weeks! You'd be full term very soon :)
    Yep, heard of the belly binders, but I never used them for two of my boys.. Find them quite troublesome to use, as long as we keep the navel area clean (with alcohol wipes).. They drop quite fast, around day2 or 3..

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  3. I have this and used for my 1st baby. On 2nd and 3rd baby, the CL did not use on my baby. Usually use for 1st month during confinement.

    I still keep some as a remembrance.

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  4. Babe i am looking for this things....where do u get this?

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  5. I have heard of this but never used it. just used lampin to bind him up.

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  6. Wow !!! something new I learnt from reading this post...

    the baby is coming !!! can't wait !!!!!

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  7. Morning dear ..

    good info .. comelnya baby ... manis senyuman (^_^)

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  8. suituapui: my family and family to family still do. Now they sell the rectangle baby belly binder in maternity shops as well, i just dont like the colours of those.

    Princess Ribbon: 2-3 days? wow so fast. I remember I babysat my nephew last time, took about 6-7 days for it to fall off, of course it was cleaned daily with alcohol swab too. And thanks! Yes nearing full term very soon. *excited!*

    Rose: Good to know some of the mommies out there use them. Theyre special right? Keep for remembrance, who knows you might have an addition soon! =)

    Jacqueline: In Kuching, got a few kedai kain selling them (Sartex, Fah... to name a few). But I bought mine online. Checkout the link at the end of the post. :-)

    Small Kucing: Lampin can also. Whatever works for the mom. :-)

    ahlost: WOhooo! cant wait either!

    Puteri Kayangan: Morning! And thank you! <3

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  9. Hello I am here. I have heard of this important advice to prevent "wind" in the Chinese medicine culture. If a patient has too much wind, it could be fatal sometimes.

    You are in good hands!

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  10. Twilight Man: ya, im guessing it should be the same, to prevent 'wind'. :) Thanks!

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