Wearing Multiples

Another from our Google Groups archives, this is a list of info/links on wearing twins or multiples (e.g. older and younger babies) and some of our members’ experiences. This is archived here so we don’t lose the information!

Articles

http://mamatoto.org/Default.aspx?tabid=77

http://www.thebabywearer.com/articles/HowToO/Twins.htm

http://www.thebabywearer.com/articles/HowToO/Twins2.htm

http://www.llli.org//NB/NBMayJun96p68.html (regarding breastfeeding and attachment parent incl. baby wearing)
Brisbane Multiple Birth Association Newsletter (contains article on BWing twins by our own Ange)

Wrapping Instructions for two

note: you may have to go through some instructions to find the relevant section

http://www.gypsymama.com/colorbooklet.pdf woven wraps

http://www.birdiesroom.com/Departments/DIDYMOS-Baby-Slings/Wrapping-Tutorials/DIDYMOS-Double-Joy.aspx cheststrap ruck with front cross

http://www.mobywrap.com/t-instructions-TwinHug.aspx stretchy wrap

http://www.mobywrap.com/t-instructions-TwinCradle.aspx stretchy wrap

http://www.dropshots.com/wraparoundjoy#date/2008-05-27/21:28:30 video – newborns (tibetan ruck with bub in front cross)

Forum

– TBW twin/multiple-wearing forum: http://www.thebabywearer.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=59

– BCD thread on wearing toddler and newborn:

http://groups.google.com/group/baby-carriers-downunder/browse_thread/thread/c31c3fb55277c747/

Slingdad’s advice

– Twin newborns: Many people seem to like the combination of 2 pouches (preferably from a stretchy material), two unpadded ring slings, or a ring sling and a pouch. Putting two in a wrap also works (preferably in a woven wrap with good diagonal stretch like Leo Storch, Didymos Indio, Didymos jacquard, Vatanai Pamir, or a not-too-stretch wrap like Gypsy Mama Bali Baby Stretch or Hotmama Hemp). See bottom of this page for photos of multiple-wearing options with woven wrap(s). {and some instructions above}

– Newborn & older baby/toddler: newborn in front with unpadded ring sling, pouch, wrap, or Mei Tai; older baby/toddler on back with Soft Structured Carrier, Podaegi, short woven wrap, or Mei Tai, or on hip with structured hip carrier like Scootababy.

– Two older babies/toddlers: one in front with a woven wrap or Mei Tai, one on back with Soft Structured Carrier, Podaegi, short woven wrap, or Mei Tai. Or one on one hip in a ring sling or pouch, and the other on the other hip in a structured hip carrier like Scootababy.

Emma in Canberra’s advice

– When wearing one on front and one on back, put the smaller/lighter child on your front first, then put the larger/heavier child on your back. You may find you’re less agile with one baby already in the carrier, so you’ll want the second wearee to be co-operative – and that’s usually easier done with a larger child. It also helps to wear the front child slightly higher than usual, especially if the back child is in an SSC, so there’s room for the back child’s waist straps.
– I’ve tried one on back in SSC and one on front in pouch, and it sucked. Two pouches or two SSC/MT would be better, as I wouldn’t have had SSC straps over the top of the pouch.

– When putting a small child on my back in a MT with someone already on my front, I find it easier to tie the waist straps, sit baby on the MT body on the couch, then bring the shoulder straps up around them. It means I don’t have to manoeuvre the hip scoot with someone already on my front, and I’m not comfortable with the Superman method with a small baby.

Ange’ advice – just for some different perspective

– I use two Soft Structured Carrier’s [SSC] for equal weight twins who can sit independently. I actually put the back one on first because the straps are not as bulky, and I find it easier to get a bub on my back in SCC without one on the front. The bulkier SSC goes on the front last (with the fussiest bub, so they can be easily taken on and off).

– When I use Mei Tai [MT] and SSC the MT goes on first reguardless of whether it’s front or back ( I use both positions).

– I’ve also used stretchy wrap on front (goes on first) with SSC or MT on back.

– Two in one wrap back/front puts bub on the back first.

Ok now I’ve actually played with wraps, this is what I’ve found – (with 8+ month old twins)

The tibetan style ruck with front cross carry (Tibetan,FCC) is good with a moderate length wrap (I use a 4.7m), but a better single wrap is a wiggleproff back carry, with bub in the front cross (WPBC/FCC) , or the ruck with cheststrap (see instructions above).

A 5.4m wrap works well for this (it needs to be at least 5+m, 5.2 is probably ok if you’re a small size).

What I’ve found with the tibetan/FCC is that when putting the front bub in, the back rails can come loose, also when one bub wants down, the back losens when the front one comes out, and both need to be taken down to get the back bub off. The WPBC/FCC doesn’t have the losening problem, but both still need to come down for the back one to get out.

I’ve found using two wraps solves the up/down issue, using FCC for front popability, and Ruck under bum (RUB) for a quick up/down back carry.

Ruby’s Ramble (only relevant to newborns so far!)

In hospital/special care – familiarise yourself with “kangaroo care”.  There’s tons of info online, but basically, whenever and for as long as you and your babies are able, get skin-to-skin contact (that’s the bare naked-skin kind!).  It has a really great positive effect on your babies stress levels, heart rate and bonding.  Use a sling or a wrap over yourselves, and try not to feel pressured into limiting time/contact or feel obligated to hold both babies at once.

In general – make sure you know/believe it is OK *not* to have both babies on you at all times!  Parenting a newborn is tiring, stressful hard work… parenting two or more can be murder!  Add to that “normal” stuff like colic, reflux, heath problems etc… be gracious toward yourself.

A single ring sling is great for small babies.  I found initially that the babies heads would clonk together unless I was especially careful!  Still, two slings was much too difficult for me in the early days.  However, from about 8 weeks, I found it more managable.  Not sure if that was me learning, or the babies growing.  At 3 1/2 months, I use one RS on each shoulder (I find the SBP style shoulder perfect for me; a slimmer fold tends to slide toward my neck) with the babies in a T2T style (actually, more like T2breast… or the other T if you prefer). I also carry them in one sling in the same manner; with greater strength and head control, the clonking is less of an issue!  Legs in initially, and then out as they get longer and stronger.  I have found in my premmie babies that they are still a few weeks behind other newborns of the same age.  A ring sling is fantastic for feeding.  I haven’t tried twin feeding with two slings and doubt I will – I use a sling to feed when I am out, and I won’t co-feed in public because I feel very exposed and as if a spotlight is shining on me!

A stretchy wrap is also great – make a SPOC! – but I am finding major love for a woven!  I got my first woven wrap when the babies were about 2 months old.  A FCC is what I have used most; either with the babies in one side of the cross each (and pouch over both), or babies together in the pouch with the crosses on the outside.  I have even had one baby in the pouch and then *added* the second baby to the outer cross on the spur of the moment!  At the moment, I am working on perfecting the cheststrap ruck with front cross as linked above (Birdie’s Room).  I am having a hard time getting a 4.6 to work and either need to lose fluff (not going to happen anytime soon I don’t think!), get a longer wrap, or wrap tighter.  I’ll update this as I get an answer!

Any other carriers/styles suitable for newborns are great… after all, you don’t have to wear both babies at the same time. I have used my MTs and even my Ergo for carrying one newbie, but I have yet to wear one on the back and the other on the front except in a woven wrap.  You don’t need to master a thousand different methods – any one that works for you at any given time is fine. I just play with different things as the spirit moves!!!

If you wear both babies in public, be prepared for trips to take many, many times longer than normal.  I have really struggled with this, as much as I enjoy people admiring my babies – or even me! – it is demanding, time consuming, a loss of privacy and even a hassle.  I think all parents of multiples experience this.  Most newborns get attention in public, but I have never had people stare, point or stop me to talk like this.  As much as I am struggling with it, I do find it is important for me to get out with my older kids and the babies.  One “trick” I have employed is to use a single layback stroller and have both babies in it with a muslin tossed over the front.  People assume it is one sleeping baby.  I also carry one, push the other.  The difficulty here is the one being pushed would rather be carried!!!

Hope this is some useful info for families expecting twins or more. I expect we’ll all add to this page as we experience more.

Ada_S’ tips on wearing a big one (2.5yo) and a little one (10 weeks) at the same time

I need at least 4.5m to wear both kids at once. In this size wrap, I
can ruck the big one, cross beneath the legs and do a tibetan finish,
leave the tibetan finish loose and pop the little one in the FCC this
makes, tie behind the little one’s back. I have problems with this
carry because the little one doesn’t have the head support I’d like
and I can’t remove the big one independent of the little one either.

If you have a longer wrap (say, 5m+), then you can BWCC with ruck
straps the bigger child and finish the same way for the little one
with greater support. The three passes would give you more support on
the big one, but I suspect the FCC will be the same with the little
one. Again, the two wrapees are not independent.

If you have two wraps, then I find BWCC+FCC in separate wraps –
wrapping the big one on your back *through* the pretied (empty) FCC is
my favourite way to carry two at the moment. This leaves me with about
9 meters of material though, so you want to do this with THIN wraps!!
Basically, I pretie the FCC and then get big one on my back in a BWCC
with crossed straps in front, passing them through the crosses of the
FCC to sit directly on my chest. You could also do this with a
chestbelt, but I think this is a smoother finish for the little one.
The advantage of this over ruck straps on the bWCC is that your chest
is supporting alot of the weight of the big one and the rest is being
passed through shoulders and down to the hips. I find the FCC rides up
on the shoulders to the neck this way (there’s only so much room on
your shoulders to fit all this material :)) but since my little one is
still quite little, this is fine. This way, the two wrapees are semi-
independent. It’s possible to remove one without removing the other,
although getting the one off the back without waking the one in the
FCC would be tricky.

I’ve worn my two in two MTs by using ruck straps and crossing them.
FOr me, the disadvantage here is that I have to pre-load my little one
on the front, which I’m not fond of. One MT on the back, pretied FCC
on the front in a wrap also works quite well and I cross the straps
there too and little one can be loaded last also. On the other hand,
the wearees are completely independent with this method.

Some things I should probably have added for troubleshooting:

(1) when wearing two in one wrap, the more supportive the better, but
you’re carrying two kiddos and don’t want to get too hot.  So although you’re better off with a supportive wrap (say, a storch), I don’t think you need special equipment per se (like pamir ;)) to do this.

(2) Supportive shoes are a must. My kids are about 18kg of combined
weight and when walking for an hour or more, good shoes are awesome.
That said, I wore the two of them in one wrap IN HEELS at a wedding a
week or two ago for an extended period, so needs must 🙂 I did kick my
shoes off ASAP though!

(3) Bend from the knees, but getting up ain’t easy 🙂

For more on twins and tandem carrying the BCD blog has a number of articles for you.

About Steph

Steph is a Mum of three with a passion for babywearing and some excellent skills with knots.
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