This is a friend of mine, at church with her baby on her back. Most Japanese women will sling a baby onto their back in a ombu himo and go about their housework or even drive with the baby sleeping peacefully papoose style. I suppose it is a warm place and offers a lot of soothing movement. Strapped to the back, a crying baby will be joggled into sleep, sometimes so soundly that its poor neck is lolling around behind! There are jackets and vests (like my friend has) that wrap around both baby and mother and it all looks very cozy.
Actually I never used an ombu himo myself. It takes skill to swing a baby around to your back without catapulting it like a slingshot! And I liked to see what my baby was doing anyway (and I didn't like the lolling neck). What I DID use to carry my babies around was a dakko himo. (Ombu means "piggy back". Dakko means "carry". And himo means "strap".)
I made my own dakko himo and I could hang the baby in front of me kangaroo style but with its legs hanging down in front. We could smile at each other and I could point out things as we wandered... It seemed like an extension of "carrying" my baby after birth. And I had a great jacket that covered both of us. I got stopped a lot when I was visiting the States and everyone was interested in the strap and jacket. (The drawback however is that one can't cook with a baby hanging in front of you. And someone pointed out that if you fell with a baby strapped to your front that you landed on your baby....) I carried my babies in the dakko himo (and never fell) until they were nearly walking!
This week I made a dakko himo for my Filipino friend. This is the young woman who stumbled upon our church a few weeks back. Thank you for your prayers. She is much better now and every week she has been coming to church. Unfortunately she will be working on weekends from next week and I won't be seeing much of her anymore. It is hard for the Filipino women here in Japan because most of them have to work to send money back to their extended families in the Philippines. I wanted to give her something hand made that represented love enfolding both her and her baby. I wonder if she'll ever have a chance to use it...
Here I am demonstrating how to use a dakko himo with my Filipino friend's baby! I know... I know... Someone else already told me that I look like a proud grandmother. NOT YET! (Rats... It's the greying hair...)