Thursday, 18 February 2016

Old Baby Traditions


For the past few months I have been listing vintage and antique items in our home decor shop, StarHomeStudio. A few of those items are antique cradles from Turkey. These baby beds are for most culture extremely weird and exotic.


This one is entirely made out of wood and even have hand carved rings, most likely to distract the child with.



You might have thought where and how babies sleep in these, as it has hardly and depth, and when you add a mattress it has no depth at all and a baby would fall off. These cribs were used with a swaddled baby which would then be bound to the bed, making movement impossible.


This custom is not how I personally would raise a baby, swaddling is loved by many but binding them to a bed is pretty claustrophobic (we wrote years ago a funny blogpost about swaddling in case you are interested). I have not seen this custom done here anymore but I sometimes I see an adult with the back of the head flat, I've only seen this with men I suppose as woman usually have long hair you can not see it. The flat back head happens when the person as a baby was swaddled and bound to the bed for a too long period of time, lying in the same position when the bones are still soft makes the skull flat on the back, sounds pretty horrible doesn't it?


The cradles however are gorgeous and come in many shapes and motives. Mostly done in wood this iron wrought one is rare.



The handles on top are to rock the crib but you can also carry the bed including the baby.


These cradles are still used in some Eastern countries also in East Turkey, in the same way these old ones were used.



It is believed that as the baby can not move it stays calm and sleeps better, I think that the fact that in these regions women often have 8 or more children that the cradles makes it easier for the mothers to do their house chores without having to worry about the baby.


This picture was recently taken in a camp with Kurdish refugees. The beads are against the evil eye, you can also see fabric which is used to cover the crib when the child sleeps, often protection for again the evil eye but also against mosquitoes.


We even have a doll version one, this one is tiny and completely crooked and rusty, I think it needs some tender loving care :) The other 3 cribs are available in the Vintage section of our shop. These would be beautiful to showcase special dolls.

The first illustration is from this blogpost about baby sleeping believes and rituals, the second illustration is from here and the photograph from DailyMail.


Here a video of someone who still makes these cribs today in Turkey, according to the video he is the last person in Turkey who still makes them, but I doubt that :).

11 comments:

  1. oh wow, quite the horror story!
    Although, here in France, they used to put red wine in baby bottles, because... because... I'm sure there was a magical reason to that, but this also made some children blind and very sick.
    Sometimes I wonder how humans are still alive ^^'

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    1. I guess to make them sleepy? Yes with all that we do it is a wonder that we have such an overflowing amount of people.

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  2. I sure wouldn't like to be strapped like that...but maybe when you're a baby you don't care? Also maybe it was to prevent sudden infant death? Or was the "flat" head a fashion thing?

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    1. No the flat head was not a fashion lol, merely the bad result of this tradition.

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  3. Even just reading about tying a baby to the crib makes me want to wiggle. It was a cruel tradition but I am sure the intention was not cruel but had practical, although not well thought, reasons. Fortunately child raring and bearing has developed a lot the past 30-40 years.

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  4. I love all the cribs, not practical maybe, but beautiful!
    Had no idea about that tradition, having the babies tied to the bed. Maybe the ones who where in there too long were babies that did not complain or cry that much (less reason to pick them up)?

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  5. The tradition of distracting the babies shocked me.
    But the cribs are wonderful and I'm sure my girls would like the doll version for their "babies"!

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  6. Karin, with distracting I meant entertaining, prevent them from crying, nothing bad :)

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  7. So interesting story. In Ukraine also were cribs similar to these.

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  8. Interesting techniques :))) I've also been swaddeled when I was a baby because my mother belived that I will end up bowlegged :)) Guess what- I am bowlegged anyway :P :)) Ps: I never knew what the Evil Eye was- I always taught it was some kind of demon in the arabic religion. From blogpost to blogpost (swaddling, etc) I found out how it's actually translate and that I've been knowing it like forever :))

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  9. I have one that my Grandmother brought from Turkey many years ago

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