Life At Point C

Experiencing Life along the Silk Road


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Central Asian CribThe first time I saw one of these, I was simply fascinated. I think every culture has very specific ways to take care of infants. This is obviously the case, since every grandma has an opinion on the right way to care for babies, and since they have been around a lot of them in their lifetime, their opinions are not ignored. I think tradition is often re-enforced primarily through the women in families. But, I digress. This totally-unique-from-our-own traditional way of cradling a baby fascinates me.

These cradles are practically used from the time a baby is born. They are used as infant carriers as well; it seems the babes are left in them as much as possible. One of the unique features that they have is the bucket system. Pampers are outrageously expensive here, just as they are in the states. In fact, in a traditional Kyrgyz home, I have never seen them on a child. They just put some fleece pants on the child, and when they are dirty, they change them. But at the infant age, they have a totally different way of taking care of the problem. In the lower half of the cradle, there is a hole carved right into the boards. Into this hole they place one of these red buckets then they stick one of these plastic or wooden carved pipes between the child’s legs. For a girl they have a longer slit that rests right up in the crotch and for a boy there is literally a larger hole like the bowl of a pipe to direct the stream a little better, if you know what I mean.

Centra Asian Crib with bucketsIn order to make this system work, the child is tightly swaddled into this crib: both the upper body and the thighs are wrapped and swaddled all the way around the cradle, you can see the little bars underneath the cradle that hold the material in place. Then you cover the child against the cold with blankets, since most homes are not heated all night, nor all day for that matter. The last step, once the child is asleep is to cover the whole thing with the specially made cover to keep the child warm and keep out the light during the day time.

There you go, the uniquely Central Asian way to rock the baby to in a Central Asian Crib


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