Bilingual Babywearing / Portage de bébé en deux langues

We are a bilingual French/English family, and before baby was born I swotted up on all the baby related vocab I thought I’d need. However as I didn’t expect to get into babywearing in such a big way, there were a whole lotta words I just didn’t know.

Take the word “wrap” for example, it’s “écharpe” in French, literally “scarf”, or “écharpe tissée” for “woven wrap”. Now I love this because, as the baby has rapidly become a toddler, many of my wraps come in handy as scarves on a regular basis. Luckily “baby carrier” is simpler – “un porte-bébé”. A carry is called “un noeud”, literally “knot”, and each layer over baby is “une couche” – this threw me at first as it’s also the word for nappy/diaper!

The words for different carries are totally different as well, like “kangourou dos” for “rucksack carry”, although some are easily translatable such as “double hamac”/”double hammock”. There seem to be different carry preferences also. I would say, although I am not an expert, that the English speaking world, particularly Americans, favour inventing new and possibly more complex carries and finishes, especially for leg straightening babies, whereas the French stick to more simple-looking carries, but done very well. Some carries which I don’t see used much on English speaking videos or groups, such as Double Sling Carry (the non shoulder-to-shoulder version), seem really popular in France where it is known as “Double Hamac Inversé“.

I really enjoy watching French wrapping videos as their techniques can be quite different. For example, they tend to stay more upright whilst back wrapping, whereas the English speaking wrappers tend to lean forwards more. I actually prefer to keep myself more upright as, if I lean forward, I find I lose tension once I stand back up.

There are also some really funny videos like this one – I love the sense of humour.

One thing I found difficult to translate was when I saw on babywearing Facebook groups that many toddlers would ask for “Up”. I realised I didn’t have a word for this and couldn’t really think of a good short word in French. So I have to admit that I often say “tu veux aller up?” to my toddler – although he rarely asks for it himself!

I’ll do another post on cultural differences too soon as I think that is really interesting.

I’d love to hear from any other bilingual families!


Nous sommes une famille bilingue anglais/francais, et avant la naissance de mon fils, j’ai bosser les mots dont j’imaginais avoir besoin. Cependant, je ne savais pas que le portage serait aussi important dans ma vie et donc je ne savais même pas les bons mots.

Par exemple, le mot “écharpe”. En anglais ca signifie seulement la chose qu’on porte autour du cou. Maintenant j’adore la double-fonction de ce mot, comme mes écharpes sont régulièrement porter par moi seule, comme mon “bébé” devient de plus en plus grand. En anglais on ne dit pas “noeud” mais “portage”, et j’ai eu même un problème de compréhension avec le mot “couche” pour signifier les couches sur le dos du bébé, comme ca m’ai fait pensé qu’aux couches pour la derrière…

Les noms des noeuds sont differents aussi, comme “kangourou dos” pour “rucksack carry”, mais quelques uns ne necessitent pas de traduction: “double hamac”/”double hammock”! Je remarque que les Anglais/Américains préfèrent les noeuds plus compliqués et les Francais les noeuds plus simples mais très bien faits, comme le “Double Hamac Inversé” lequel n’est pas très connu en anglais.

Et j’adore le sens d’humeur des Francais:

Un mot que je trouve difficile à traduire est “Up” – je ne pouvais pas me trouver un bon mot simple en francais et donc je dis souvent “tu veux aller up?”

J’aimerais bien écrire un post sur les différences culturelles entre les deux pays par rapport aux portes-bébés comme je le trouve très intéressant.

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