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Real Moms Talk: Listen To Your Mother!

January 30, 2018

An image of a mother carrying her child on her back


Nodumo Ntoni talks to us about her experience as a working mother and how she turned towards tradition.


"I'm a mom of two very active and rambunctious boys, 7 year old Khwezi and 17 month old Hlali. I have a full-time job, like most moms, so when I come home from a long 8 hour day I really just want to make sure bath-time, dinner and sleep-time happens as seamlessly as possible.

Khwezi for the most part can occupy himself with homework and playing independently, but Hlali, like most toddlers is a little tougher. He's well behaved until he gets over-tired, then it's temper tantrums galore! This typically happens while I'm trying to make dinner or clean up. 

When my mom witnessed this, like most African mothers, she said 'Beleka Lomntana' which loosely translated means 'Wear this baby on your back'. I side-eyed her and skeptically did it and within 5 minutes, Hlali was asleep!

The practice of uBeleka Umntana or baby-wearing isn't new, it's something that's been passed on from generation to generation in the African context but being a 'Millennial' mom I thought I was too modern and cool for it, until my fussy baby almost drove me crazy. There is some cool new baby-wearing gear on the market, but the old school way of doing it with a towel is faster, cheaper and so much more convenient." 


Dudu's "uBeleka Umntana" how-to:

1. Ensure baby is fed and dry
2. Bending over, put him/her on your back
3. Securely wrap a towel around you and baby 

Voila! Your hands are free and baby is asleep. Now you can cook or clean in peace.

 - Nodumo Ntoni


Photo credit: Josie Borain


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