The second the image came up on the screen at my first scan I could see there were two babies there. The flood of thoughts and emotions on realising I was expecting twins was pretty intense and it took a little while for the panic to die down. One of my more positive thoughts amongst it all though was ‘thank god for babywearing’.
I’ve been a huge fan of babywearing since the birth of my son 2 and a half years ago. I wore him daily from birth and have always loved not only the practicality of it as a parenting tool but also the support and camaraderie of the babywearing community.
So, once over the initial shock I set to work learning what I could about tandem carrying. I’d only tandem worn once before, my 2year old and his cousin, little did I know that at the time i was in the early weeks of twin pregnancy so in this picture I am actually carrying 4 babies!
Tandem wearing comes in many forms and, just like singleton wearing, the age of your babies is a big factor in what works well. A lot of the time tandem wearing is seen with one each on the front and back. However, unless you’re already pretty experienced at using a woven wrap, getting a newborn without head control on your back is difficult and may not be safe. So there exists a tricky few months with twins where they both need to be on the front. In this post I’m going to share the different ways I’ve tried to tandem carry my newborn twins. At the time of writing mine are 2 months old. If I survive longer then I’ll be sure to follow up with posts later on carrying older babies but for now we’ll focus on tandem carrying small babies, with them both on the front.
2 babies, 1 stretchy wrap
For me in the first few weeks this was my preferred method of carrying. A stretchy wrap is perfect for a newborn and works in just the same way for twins as it does for a singleton. It is pre-tied to the wearer and the babies are popped in and out as desired. It’s wonderfully snuggly and perfect for skin to skin, I had my girls in the stretchy in just a nappy with me topless within half an hour of birth as they needed help keeping warm and I needed help getting my milk to come in! Each baby straddles just one cross pass, rather than two as with a single baby. This means it’s not quite as secure and supportive as when carrying one and as such only really works well for a few weeks while they’re really small. For me it worked up till they were 5-6 weeks old and about 7lb.
Pros – simple, quick and can be pre tied.
Cons – less support, only works for short time, babies can slump towards each other and need adjustment.
2 babies, 2 stretchy wraps
Stretchy wraps really are great so, once using a single one is no longer supportive enough, instead of abandoning it just add another one! Again, it works just like with a single baby. Each wrap is tied on, slightly off centre so you end up with one either side, then each twin is wrapped in the two cross passes of one wrap. Then both can be covered with a single horizontal pass – from the top wrap. The end result is very supportive and comfortable but can require extra vigilance as there’s a lot of fabric around which can cover the babies faces.
Pros – easy, can be pre tied, babies can be taken in and out without disturbing each other.
Cons – lots of fabric tied on you, can get hot, cross passes can be in babies face.
I’m a big fan of woven wraps and immediately started practicing with them when I found out I was pregnant with twins. Despite this it has still taken a bit of work to get the hang of wrapping 2 newborns! In the earliest days the stretchy was just easier but now they are a bit bigger (both over 8lbs at time of writing) I’m finding woven wraps my favoured method of carrying. I’ve tried a few different carries, so far using just one long woven wrap – either base size or base +1.
Tandem front wrap cross carry (fwcc)
I like this one for when I have more stuff to do – housework, bathing toddler etc. – as it has the babies a bit closer together giving me a bit more movement in my arms! On the downside getting one baby out disturbs the other and I find it harder to tighten well, although this is improving with practice.
Amanda’s tandem hip carry
This one I prefer for longer periods, out of the house, in/out of the car. It can be partially pre tied and I find it easier to tighten and get comfy. You can adjust/remove one baby without totally disturbing the other although they’re not totally independent. They are spread wider apart so have space but this does restrict the wearer’s arm movements.
Pros – versatile, can last from baby to toddler, tandem or single wearing.
Cons – takes practice to develop skills.
2 ring slings
This is a bit of a cheat as this picture is of me using a base-2 wrap in a jasmine’s carry with 2 rings. I’ve not actually tried 2 separate ring slings as this carry makes a sort of conjoined double ring sling instead. It can be pre tied and left threaded so you can take it on/off like a harness. Each side is independent of the other so babies can be taken in/out without disturbing each other. There’s a lot of fabric going through the rings so it can be fiddly to tighten and is best with a thin wrap, there’s a 4 ring variation that may combat this – I’ve yet to try it. Sometimes it pulls on the shoulders/neck a bit too but that’s always a risk with front tandems I’m learning!
Pros – can be pre tied, babies can be taken in and out without disturbing each other.
Cons – tightening can be tricky.
I don’t have a picture of a buckle tandem as I’ve not tried it. Most tandem buckles carries are front/back and, as it’s not recommended to have a newborn in buckles on the back, this is a no-go for a while. There is one buckle option for a newborn tandem – the weego twin carrier which is designed for a tandem front carry. I’d heard about them when pregnant but decided not to bother with one – lots of people seem to like them for a short time but report them becoming uncomfortable after the first couple of months so it didn’t seem worth it to me as I’d likely prefer a stretchy anyway.
So that’s my journey so far! As suspected babywearing has been the most important parenting tool I’ve used since the twins arrived. I’d encourage any mum, twin or otherwise, to give it a go from the start. As with any new skill it takes a bit of practice but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it – I wrap the girls 3-5 times a day at the moment so I’ve become well versed pretty quick and been rewarded with longer naps, less crying and more chance for time with my toddler. Just be prepared for a lot of attention when you’re twin slinging out and about!