I have written pretty frequently about my love of "wearing" our babies. When Isla was born I was gifted a Moby Wrap by a very good friend and that single gesture literally changed my life and the way I would child-rear. Prior to that moment, I had never even heard the term "babywearing". Sure, I'd seen the popular "baby bjorn" (a carrier which, by the way, does not render the same baby wearing benefits as other carriers and wraps) but other than that, I knew nothing about it. Once I learned how to use my Moby Wrap, I was obsessed and wore Isla all snuggled up on my chest for approximately four months non-stop. Ever since, I have been a huge advocate of "baby wearing" and all goodness that it promotes between mother and child.
The benefits of baby wearing are vast. Babies who are worn regularly are shown to have positive "attachment" to their parents, they cry less, and are (in general) happier. Baby wearing has been proven to help physical, cognitive and verbal development as well. The list of "pros" goes on and it is my personal mission to help expose as many people to the beauty of baby wearing as I possibly can, because I truly see it as a gift and something that makes motherhood (particularly twin + toddler motherhood) so. much. easier. And, let's face it, I am totally down with anything that allows me to free my hands so that I can
When I found out we were pregnant with twins, I instantly began to research whether or not it was possible to wear two at once. Knowing how wonderful it was to wear (and simultaneously bond with) Isla, I desperately wanted to be able to share the same experience with the twins. I hit the world wide web looking for answers and I found it in the form of "tandem" baby wearing. I am happy to say that our twins have been held and carried almost as much as any singleton baby. This is a feat that I am super proud of but one that could not have been accomplished without the art of babywearing. Sure, I might be an inch shorter by the time our twins turn one, but it'll be an inch lost to gain a mile. Or something like that.
Turns out, there are lots of ways to wear twins (or two infants close in age) and I have tried many of them. When I get "into" something I tend to go "all in" so I have accumulated no fewer than ten different carriers in which to wear our twins and Isla. I will go through some of my favorite types of carriers and carries in this post. Please note: This is not a "how to" (but I will post links to articles and videos when appropriate) and you should baby wear at your own discretion, as some of these methods require some skill and if not done correctly can injure your baby. Also, I am not a baby wearing pro and all the opinions about the carriers and best ages of them are my own. Always check with the manufacturer and do your own homework/research as well. In other words, please do not sue me. Thank you.
Okay, here goes...
The Moby (aka "stretchy") Wrap: The Moby Wrap was the first wrap I ever owned so it
holds a very special place in my heart. This awesome PDF illustrates the many ways to use this wrap. It is fantastic for one baby, particularly a very little baby - but it is also great for wearing newborn twins. I tandem wore the girls in my Moby wrap using the "twin cradle carry" for the first three months and it was fantastic. Once both of them started to clock in at over ten pounds, however, I found it too much weight on my front to be comfortable and because of the stretchy nature of this wrap, after an hour or so the babies would get all slouchy and saggy. (This is the same reason you should not use a stretchy wrap to wear twins in a front and back carry, fyi). I also found all the fabric to be very hot in the summertime. If you are having a winter baby, the Moby wrap is your friend!
Pros: A super snug fit, baby is very securely attached to momma, baby is almost instantly put into a coma-like slumber once settled.
Cons: It's a TON of fabric and can be intimidating to learn the wraps. Not great for summer time as it can get very hot, not easy to take a sleeping baby out of it without waking, with twins you are really limited to only a front carry.
Best age: I preferred my Moby for newborns up until 3/4 months (but really babies can be worn in a Moby much longer).
The Ring Sling: This is, right now, my numero uno preferred way to wear the girls. I have Lite-on-Shoulder Baby Sling which are super affordable (some ring slings can cost upwards of $100) and they are, as the name suggests, light and easy. I seriously LOVE the ease of use and convenience of them. Most of the other methods of baby wearing I mention here usually lull the girls into a pretty deep sleep because I use the chest-facing positions which limit the view and provide closeness to mamas heart and chest (natural sleep aids), so when I don't want the girls to fall fast asleep (say, right after a two hour nap) I will pop them in the ring slings and we'll take a walk or go grocery shopping. They get the benefit of stimulation but still have the closeness of mama. When the babies are on me they are almost always content and hardly ever cry or make a peep. We can go about our business happily and with no fuss and drama (as opposed to in a stroller where one or both are usually fussing at any given time).
Cost: $30-$100 depending on material, retailer and/or if you DIY
Pros: Very easy to get on and off, good for when you want babies to stay awake a bit (but they will happily fall asleep eventually if tired in these slings), these pack very small and are super easy to keep in a purse or diaper bag for when you need them. Good for summer as the material is light and breathable.
Cons: When wearing two, after an hour or two you will feel it. Not my favorite way to carry sleeping twins (I prefer the wearer-facing position on the chest for sleep). When wearing two, you are definitely a 'wide load' (not, however, as wide and bulky as a double stroller). Sometimes it can be tricky to get the "seat" right if you are just starting out.
Best age: I prefer the ring slings when a baby has good neck strength and is a little bit more "sturdy", so from 3 or 4 months on.
The Woven (aka "not-stretchy") Wrap: Many "hardcore" baby wearers swear by the woven wrap because they are so incredibly versatile. There are many different kinds but I have a size seven Didymos Wrap which is the size most recommended for tandem wearing. A woven wrap is similar to the Moby wrap, but it does not stretch and so it can be used for a whole host of carries that a Moby can't, like front and back carries (whereby one baby is strapped on your front and one strapped on your back) which are for sure the most comfortable way to wear twins, but also the most complicated. If I am alone and need both babies to go to sleep and for whatever reason can't put them in their crib, I love this wrap because both zonk out after about five minutes. The downside of using this wrap for the front and back carry is that if the baby on the back wants out, you must rouse the baby on the front as well. The other downside is that you can't really see the baby on the back so I have been known to ask, "Hey, can you tell me if this baby is sleeping?" to the grocery store checkout clerk or a random passerby. I have also resorted to taking awkward selfies with my iPhone in order to see the baby in the back as well.
Cost: $70-$250 depending on material, size and brand.
Pros: Most comfortable, balanced way to carry twins. Very versatile (many different types of carries can be done using these wraps)
Cons: Twin front and back carries are the most tricky and require the most skill, like the Moby, these consist of a LOT of fabric and can be very warm, not typically an "easy in/easy out" type of carrier.
Best age: Newborns to toddlers, depending on the type of carry
The Soft Structured Carrier: I have five of these. Two Ergo Performance Carrier, two Mei Tai Carriers and one Tula Toddler Carrier (for Isla). These are great and super easy once your babies are sturdy enough for them. I have just started using these with the twins (one ergo on front, one ergo on back) and man, is it a breeze and SO much more comfortable for longer walkds than a tandem hip carry. While I do prefer the closeness that the wraps and ring slings provide, as the twins get bigger these will be the standard way I wear them. The carrier we used most with Isla on the boat was, hands down, the Ergo.
Cost: $40-$130 depending on brand/type
Pros: Super easy to get on and off, comfortable to wear, offers the most balanced way to wear twins.
Cons: Slightly bulkier than the ring slings, can get warm.
Best age: (in my opinion) 6 months to toddlers (you can wear younger babies in these using an infant insert but I prefer the snuggliness of the wraps to these for tiny babies)
The Baby K'Tan Breeze: I am a big fan of the Baby K'tan Breeze. I don't know of any other mom's who use these, but they are very light (great for hot climates or summer babies) and super easy to use (unlike the wraps, which take some practice) but still provide the same front cradle carry like the Moby or woven. I have two of these carriers, one for each baby and I have tandem worn them on the front by shifting one baby to my left and the other to my right. While this did work, it was pretty difficult to execute and very exhausting to have almost thirty pounds of baby hanging at my front so Scott and I use these carriers independently when we can each wear a baby and we want them to sleep. They are great to travel with when you want to pack light.
Cost: about $60
Pros: Light and super easy to get on and off, great for when you want baby to sleep, great for hot climates or summer months.
Cons: They don't feel as "secure" as the wraps, can't really adjust the fit, and you are pretty limited to the types of carries. You also must make sure you get the right size which can be tricky. And while you CAN wear two smaller babies at once it is not easy nor pretty, and probably not recommended (I have just done it out of desperation).
Best age: 2-3 months and up since the fit isn't as snug.
So...if you are keeping track, that is twelve carriers for our kiddos. Kinda crazy, I know. But anyone who is into baby wearing will tell you it's an addiction. Kind of like tattoos. Or not. Either way, once you start - you're not going to want to stop. It's healthy, convenient and a fantastic way to travel with the littles (by boat or plane or just out and about), way, way easier than carting a stroller (have you seen the size of twin strollers?!) Wear those babies and you, too, will quickly see first hand the advantages and benefits. Happy bonding :)
Some notes on Babywearing:
- Your baby might resist babywearing at first. This is normal. Some fussiness and crying does NOT mean you should give up and that they won't ever like it. Practice makes perfect. With all our babies, there were tears at first - but as soon as I started moving (sometimes I had to walk around the block) they settled and each time it got easier. Now, they get excited when they see me putting on the carriers they love it THAT much.
- Many of these wraps and soft structured carriers can be used together. For example, you can wear one baby on your front in a Moby wrap and then have a baby on your back in an Ergo. There are many combinations that can be made with different carriers for tandem wearing!
- Dad's (and others) can wear babies too! When we go out on "family walks" I often prefer to ditch the stroller and have Scott wear one of the twins on his front, Isla on his back and then I will wear the other twin. Super easy and fun - not only is it a good work out for mom and dad, but it promotes bonding and development for baby!
- When wrapping, the tighter the better. It will feel strange and too tight at first, but remember how compact those babies were in the womb? That's the type of closeness you want. A snug fit is much better (and safer) than a loose one.
- There are MANY more types of baby carries and carriers out there! Everyone has their favorite carries and carriers and what has worked for me may or may not work for you. Many communities have programs where you can rent baby wraps and carriers to see if you like them before you buy them so look for baby wearing groups near you.
Babywearing 101: Probably the best downloadable PDF illustrating MANY carries and carriers.
Babywearing Tips and Tricks: A nice Pinterest board dedicated to all things babywearing!
Wrap Your Baby: A page dedicated to wrapping twins. Ideas and Videos included.
Babywearing International: Non-profit dedicated to promoting babywearing.
Choosing a Baby Carrier: A small explanation of the types of carriers.
Slings, Wraps and other Carriers - Where, How and Why: Article by one of my faves, Kelly mom.
Soft Structured Carrier Comparison Chart - This. Is. Awesome. And shows all the different types of soft structured carriers.