Babywearing Twins: Tips and Tricks for Babywearing Two

Two weeks ago, I got to lead a meeting about babywearing for my multiples club.  So much fun!  I got to share my experiences and knowledge with about 10-15 other families with twins, all under a year, most under 4 months.

I think a lot of parents of twins think that wearing two babies in carriers is too complicated, too uncomfortable, or just not possible — that even if you put one in a carrier, you still have to use a stroller for the other, so why bother!  Its true, some aspects of babywearing are different with twins. I wore mine at different times and in general less often than my singleton, especially as they got older.  But its still so worth it!

Babies love (and need!) to be held, and twins, unfortunately, don’t always get as much contact time due to the logistics of being a twin.  This is one of the hardest parts of being a parent of newborn twins! Being in arms or in a carrier helps calm and comfort a baby, it helps them “get organized” with regards to sleep, feeding, digestion, breathing & temperature regulation.  It helps them bond and connect with their caregivers.  There are so many other great benefits to being physically connected to your newborn.

Early on, my sanity (and my back) was saved by wearing two fussy crying screaming babies and calming them to sleep by bouncing them both, at the same time, on the yoga ball.  I was able walk my toddler to daycare up steps not navigable by my stroller, by wearing one on my back and one on my front.  I was able to nurse my babies discreetly in stores, at the park, on a walk — since I was pretty much nursing around the clock, if I wanted to go anywhere, I was going to have to nurse one or both of them at some point during the outing.

Of course if there are two adults around, you can each wear a baby and ditch the giant double stroller.  If you are by yourself, you can wear one baby and put the other in a more reasonably sized single stroller, avoiding SOME of the “twin sniffing“ that can be an annoyance when you just want to get through your walk or finish your shopping without a conversation with every person you meet along the way.  Another bonus of babywearing is that you can wear one baby (the fussy or sleepy one, generally) and then interact or play with baby number two (who also needs some lovin’, but is not as needy or demanding, perhaps!).

wearing one baby, two in the stroller
One baby in a stretchy wrap (Moby), one in the stroller means room for big sister!

Anyway, back to the babywearing meeting!  I started off by talking about the recent safety concerns.  There was a lot in the news a few months back about the safety of a few certain slings in particular, and also a few things about babywearing and carriers in general.   Here’s the brief bullet points I addressed on that (I went into more detail in the meeting, obviously).  Please note:  I am not a doctor, nor do I consider myself an “expert” in carriers.  I am a mom who has used carriers with my own kids.  The information that follows is from my own experiences, gathered from speaking to knowledgable friends, and from reading online.

  • The main carrier that was recalled 2010 was the Infantino Sling Rider. From what I understand, this was due to several defects in the design — a plastic piece in it would break and the carrier would drop, and, perhaps more importantly, the sling was too deep and “bag like” and the baby would not get enough oxygen.  Do not use “bag style” slings, they are not safe.
  • In any carrier, you want your baby “close enough to kiss“.  They should not be hiding or slouching down under a lot of fabric.  You should be able to see and touch your baby, they should be positioned high on your chest or back, not sagging down by your stomach or waist.
  • In any carrier, avoid chin-to-chest curling.  You should be able to fit two adult fingers in between the babies chest and chin.  Tummy to tummy holds are ideal, with firm support along the back to keep them from slouching.  Cradle and other reclined positions are more challenging to do safely.
  • Avoid having very young or at risk infants pressing their faces hard into your chest or body.  Turn their heads gently, so that they can get air more easily.  If you can hear your young baby’s breathing (and they are not otherwise stuffy or sick), something is not right; the baby is expending too much energy breathing.  Try adjusting or repositioning.
  • Babies at risk of having these problems are almost always newborns, under 4 months of age. Low-birthweight twins, preemies, and babies with respiratory problems are at higher risk.  Definitely something to keep in mind, especially since twins are more often affected by these things, but also note that once your child is older, has neck control and is able to move his head to the side on his own, there is much less risk — many of these things are no longer a concern.

Now, onward, to the fun stuff!  Here are the questions I found I get asked most about babywearing twins, and my current answers!

What is your favorite carrier?

My all-time favorites for newborns and infants are ring slings, due to the infinite adjustability.  Once you’ve used it a bit, you can get a baby in, tight and comfortable in no time.  They were easy for me to nurse in, very discreetly.  My favorite ring slings are made by Sleeping Baby Productions, either made by her (Jan Andreas), or homemade using her pattern for the gathered shoulder.  Other favorites of mine was a homemade K’Tan carrier (I assume the real thing would be just as good, or better!) and the Kangaroo Korner Adjustable Fleece pouch.

Emma in the ring sling

Not exactly flattering of me, but that second photo shows you can tandem nurse in a ring sling without baring too much skin! When I was out of the house, I could spread the fabric if I felt like covering up more (not that you should have to!). This is a wrap-turned-ring sling from Sleeping Baby Productions.

For older infants and toddlers, I like the Kozy Carrier (I know other brands of mei tais, like the Babyhawk, are great too).  I also really love the Beco Butterfly — it spreads weight really well on two shoulders and your hips (especially important as the baby gets bigger), and with the infant insert was KEY to my wearing two babies at once.

 

Beco Butterfly on my back

How do you wear two babies at once?  Is there a carrier that can fit two babies?

I was never really able to wear two newborn babies in one carrier.  There is at least one on the market that I know would be absolutely horrible on the back and not that great for the babies either — not worth it!  Some people have luck with wearing both in a stretchy carrier like the K’Tan or Moby (or any wrap for that matter) but I never was — my girls were too big and would smoosh and bonk against each other.  I have heard of folks using one wrap with a baby on the front and one on the back when they are older, though!

I have also seen pictures of crisscrossing two babies in two stretchy pouches, or two ring slings. I prefer one baby on my back, one on my front, which means you need to wait until your babies have a bit of head control.


Oh, tired Daddy with two babies in the (homemade) pouch!

How young can you put a baby on your back?   What kind of carrier can I use?

While I’ve seen videos of folks nimbly getting a newborn on their back in a wrap, that is waaaaay beyond my babywearing skillz!  I waited until my babies were about 2.5 months, with decent head control (my twins were big full term babies, however) before trying a back carry with my Beco Butterfly. The Beco Butterfly has an “infant insert” that makes it really quite easy to get a young baby in and up safely. In the insert, they nestled down low and tight enough that I felt safe about their head not flopping around.  I would put the baby in the carrier on the sofa or a chair, then put the carrier on my back, like a backpack.  There must be other carriers that work for getting infants on your back, but I do not personally know of any!

What combinations of carriers can you use to wear two babies on front and back?

There are a bunch of carrier combinations that work with this!  Hooray!  It really depends on what carriers you have, how old your babies are, and what your preferences are.  I have heard of using two mei tais, or a combo of a wrap (on the front) and a mei tai (on the back).  You can do a mei tai on the front, and a soft structured carrier on the back.  For older babies & toddlers, two soft structured carriers works well. Or, a wrap on the back, a structured carrier on the front.   Or two wraps!  The key with the combinations is to figure out how to keep the straps, buckles or knots from one carrier from bothering the baby on the other side. It can be tricky at first, but there is usually a way to work it!

I mostly wore my twins together when they were under 6 months — and not for long periods of time —  so the stretchy/soft carriers in the front were great. My favorite combination was Beco on my back, the K’tan Carrier on my front.  Later, the Beco on my back, a ring sling on my front. I would put the front carrier on loosely without the baby, then put the baby in the Beco and on my back.  Then I’d slip the second baby into the front carrier, tighten it up, and we’d be off!  Once they were asleep, I could ease the Beco off my back onto the bed, and the baby would stay asleep! Then I could sloooooowly lower the front baby off and into her bed, and I’d be free.  For a few minutes, anyway…

twin babywearing with Beco and K'Tan toddler tandem
Homemade carrier (similar to K’Tan) on front, Beco Butterfly on Back @ 2.5 months old, Beco on back, Ergo on front @ 2 years

I know folks who have tandem worn their twins as they have gotten older, into toddlerdom, but I will admit I have not, at least not often.  I love the idea of this, but in reality, wearing two means I cannot carry my backpack diaper bag, nor can I assist or interact well with my preschooler.  My girls learned early on to enjoy their stroller (unlike their big sis!) so more often than not these days (or especially when they were younger and walking less), I opt for the stroller.  The stroller is a good option, too, sometimes!  Its doesn’t have to be one or the other, all or nothing.

I do keep reminding myself that there are so many situations where putting one of my toddlers in a carrier might really help, a lot! When we are shopping and there is only a regular cart — with one child seat, for example!  Or when one is having a rough time, fighting, biting, sick or just needing mama, and I am busy with chores around the house or with my other two kids.  Even my four year old adores being worn (and “babied”) in a carrier, and with the right carrier, it really is quite comfortable!


Didymos “Jonas” wrap

I forget — and need to keep reminding myself — that even at two and four years old, my babies are really still so young, needing the touch and closeness that babywearing can provide.

Do you have babywearing questions or advice?  Experience with wearing twins?  Suggestions for carriers for other twin parents to try out? What combinations work best for you?  I’d love to hear them, please leave a comment below!

This post is part of the Babywearing Blog Carnival over on the Babywearing Videos Blog — check out lots of other posts there!

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18 comments to Babywearing Twins: Tips and Tricks for Babywearing Two

  • When my boys were littler, every day I would wear them and take them and the doggie for a walk around the neighborhood. It was always my favorite time of day, although the somewhat frequent requests from strangers to take our picture was a little weird :) I always had the most luck wearing them each in a ring sling on each of my hips. I always felt very balanced and they could see the world really well from that position, but it did take a long time to get the hang of it. For the first 10 weeks I would wear them both in one ring sling. I have seen a mom of twins wearing both of hers in one Moby wrap and that seemed great because the weight was distributed on both shoulders.

    There are so many ways to wear twins! I hope it is something every twin parent gives a try because it is so wonderful. I regularly wish they would still let me wear them , but they stopped liking it just after their 2nd b-day.

    However, I do recommend that you see a good chiropractor regularly ;)

    How great that you presented to an MOT group! This is definitely stuff they need to hear and see!

    Also, Karen Gromada’s website has a bunch of extremely helpful pictures of wearing twins:
    http://www.karengromada.com

  • Kym Stewart

    My twin girls are 6 months now. At the very beginning, we wore both in a Mobywrap in the twin cradle hold, which we loved, but being full-term big girls (both over 7lbs), that didn’t last long… Now (at 17lb each) I tend to wear one in front in the Moby, and one on my back in an Ergo. I loved the pic of one twin worn, one in the stroller with the older singleton – that’s our fave after a long walk when the 2 year old is just too wiped to make it home. When I go out with all 3 (under 3) and the Lab, we get alot of people stopping us! It’s always good for a laugh. People love to see you wearing babies, especially twins – it seems quite novel to most people, which always struck me as quite odd!

    I wish I could find another nursing, babywearing mom who could show me how to nurse in a sling – I always wonder if it’s cuz they’re such LOOOONG babies that I can’t get them positioned well… Sadly, though, I’ve only met a few MoM’s who are nursing, let alone wearing too. Sure was nice of you to talk to the Twins club! Good job!

  • I tried baby-wearing but perhaps not hard enough. I didn’t end up doing it for long and often wish I had given it more of a chance. I don’t have twins but I do happen to think this is a really great post of yours with lots of great info! I’ve stumbled it for you.

  • What a great post! I was looking at baby pictures today (mine are 4 years old now), and it was pretty amazing how many shots have at least one girl in a carrier.

    I had the most success wearing both when they were newborns in the Maya Wrap and then later in two Mei Tai carriers. I used the Kozy Carrier and one from Holly when she owned meitaicarriers.com

    Double Mei Tai Carriers @ 7 months

    5 weeks old in the Moby

  • Lindsey — The picture taking does sound weird! Thanks for the Karen Gromada link – totally going to go check it out. I remember looking at it a long time ago, but need to again.

    Kym — Sounds like we have a lot in common! I’m impressed you managed the Moby with two — I could not figure it out with both. Are you in the Seattle area? I am not finding you on the member list for SFOM but if you want to ever get together I could give you some pointers for nursing in various carriers. It works for some, and not for others….

    Marilyn — Thanks for the Stumble!!!! There is a learning curve with babywearing, thats for sure. But its fine that it didn’t work for you — I’m sure you found other ways to snuggle your little ones!

    Anna — Love the pictures!!! So sweet! Thats great to see the double Mei Tais. 4 years goes by soooooo fast, doesn’t it?

  • Wow — this is really an informative post! I have two sets of twins and found wearing them to be particularly helpful when I had 4 kiddos. Obviously I couldn’t wear all 4, but I was able to wear 2 and then have the other 2 in the stroller. We were a bit of a spectacle. :) Great ideas. Love the post and plan to share it on the http://Facebook.com/TwinParenthood page. Thank you! Kat.

  • Love this post! Even though I don’t anticipate having two (or three) to wear at a time. Who knows, though — maybe Mikko will want to take up babywearing again with his new sibling. :)

    I totally need to learn how to nurse while babywearing. For some reason, I never did master that one till about a year old, when he could sit up in front and lean over on his own. I have ring slings, so I will give it another try.

    Also — I have those jammy pants. Costco!

  • [...] There are some nice pics at the bottom of this article – http://www.intrepidmurmurings.com/20…wearing_twins/ [...]

  • Julie

    Hi! Sooo happy to have found your blog post! Thanks for all the ideas on twin wearing. My girls are 7 months old and I think I need to work on carrying them a bit more often. We also are a dairy free household. Now that my girls are getting older I am thinking of purchasing some Mei Tai’s or another type of simpler carrier. Tired of the huge amounts of fabric on the wraps. ;) Do you have any type of recommendations?

    • Kristin

      Glad you found this helpful, Julie! I have unfortunately not been a very active blogger lately but have tons of post ideas to share if I can get my time management issues under control and carve out a time for blogging again! For Mei Tai’s I have never used but was really wanting to get a BabyHawk — I know lots of people who had and liked them. I had Kozy Carrier (which I am not sure is still in business or not) and that was good too — it has a pretty tall back which makes it good for older kids and you can just roll it to make it shorter when they are younger. I would recommend trying to find a local babywearing group that has a lending library or try-on session where you can actually try on the different carriers — check to see if your town has one, many do! Or a store that carries Mei Tais though sometimes that’s hard to find. You can also look on the Babywearer.com in their Mei Tai section for tons of pics and reviews. I also like the soft-structured carriers like the Ergo and Beco as they get older and heavier. Good luck & thanks for reading!

  • [...] Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings has some helpful insights, tips, and tricks to share for babywearing with twins. [...]

  • [...] I couldn’t live without my carrier. Babywearing is the second most important tool in my parenting kit. Physical contact with our children is important no matter their age, but those early days/weeks/months/years are especially important for them. Soft structure, wraps, slings, so many choices and I can never seem to have too many. I can only image how wonderful it would be if I had to carry around twins! [...]

  • [...] Kristin – Intrepid Murmurings – Babywearing Twins: Tips and Tricks for Babywearing Two [...]

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  • […] Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings has some helpful insights, tips, and tricks to share for babywearing with twins. […]

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  • Janet

    I have the Twingaroo carrier and absolutely love it. I never thought I could wear my twins without having to put on a wrap. Would love to read a review on it here to see what everyone else thinks!

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