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Tandem Babywearing (Wearing Two Children at Once)

As part of the two-under-two club, it was important to me that I allow V. to be a baby for as long as he needed. Rather than accelerating the end of nursing, bedsharing, or babywearing because another baby was coming, we let him set the pace for these things. E. was born just days after V. hit 19-months and both boys needed lots of touch from mommy and daddy. So, what’s a person to do with two littles who both want “ups”? Tandem wearing! At times, I felt like a human clown car, but the emotional and practical benefit was worth it.
Tandem Babywearing

So, what should you know about tandem wearing?

  1. It is intense! Two little people have a lots of needs. When one baby is crying and you’re navigating why, it raises the blood pressure. When two kids are screaming and attached to you, you need to have mad skills and loads of  patience. Additionally, tandem wearing can be physically intense. You may have 50 pounds of baby on you depending on the age and build of your kids.
  2. Know how to use your carrier confidentially with one child before wearing two children. With older kids, you don’t want Toddler A to be popping the seat of a woven wrap rucksack carry on your back while Baby B is already settled on your front. You’ll have to start it all again! But, hassle is a smaller concern than, say, with newborns twins in a pocket-cross carry. Maintaining an open airway is imperative. You don’t want Baby A flopping her neck down while you’re trying to get Baby B in the carrier, too. Wear one twin at a time until your skills are solid.
  3. One carrier per child is a best practice. There are some exceptions to this, but if you plan on wearing two children, think early about obtaining a second carrier.
  4. Load the back child first If you are wearing one child on the front and one on the back do it in back then front order so you don’t dangle the front baby while loading the kid on the back.
  5. All other babywearing guidelines apply (but now x2) Baby’s head should be high enough to kiss without straining, baby’s face should be visible to the wearer (especially the nose and mouth area), baby’s chin should not touch to his chest, practice in front of a mirror and over a soft surface or with a spotter. Back carries have unique standards:
    *With a soft-structured carrier (SSC), the child in back should be able to sit unassisted.  SSCs do not provide ample trunk support for a non-sitting baby to be properly supported. Pre-sitters risk slumping down in a back carry which raises the risk of positional asphyxia.** With a mei tai on the back, the child in back should be able to sit minimally supported and have excellent head control.

    ***With a woven wrap, the minimum age of the child in back depends on the user’s skill level and the carry (way of tying) being used. A stretchy wrap should not be used on the back. When in doubt, wait until baby is sitting and/or you obtain help from an experienced wearer. Babywearing International leaders are well-versed in assessing front wrapping skills before helping you choose an appropriate first back carry, and they’ll help you for free!

What can tandem wearing look like? Here are a variety of options showing one child in front and one in back:

Tandem Babywearing: Two Soft-Structured Carriers*
The skills here show two 2-shouldered carriers. One mei tai and one SSC or two mei tais would work similarly.
 

Tandem Babywearing: Ring Sling in Front + Mei Tai on Back**
The skills here show one 1-shouldered carrier and one 2-shouldered carrier.
Variations include:
Front: Rebozo carry done with a wrap or properly-fitted pouch
Back: SSC or woven wrap (using a carry with ruck straps)
 
 

Tandem Babywearing: Wrap on Front + Mei Tai on Back **
The skills here show two 2-shouldered carriers. Variations on these skills include:
-Wrap on the front and SSC on the back
-Wrap on the back (using a carry with ruck straps) and the mei tai or SSC on the front
 

Tandem Babywearing: Wrap on Front + Wrap on Back***
 

Now, what if you want your two babies in front, like with newborn twins (and you’ve already mastered wearing one baby at a time)?

Pocket Wrap Cross Carry for Newborn Twins
The perfect carry for a stretchy wrap (like Moby).

Newborn Twin Double Horizontal Pass Front Wrap Cross Carry
Here is a favorite for a woven wrap. Please note that with a stretchy wrap, like a Moby, it is not possible to tighten the wrap with the needed precision to keep both babies safe.

One of my go-tos as an advanced wrapper was a double-hammock using the front pass as a pouch. This worked well when E. was teeny and as he grew.
Tandem Wrap Babywearing

Happy wearing!

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About More Green for Less Green

Hi, I’m Pamm. Welcome to my little slice of the web! As a progressive Evangelical female pastor and crunchy homeschooling mom, I’m never quite what anyone expects of me. But, hey, that’s what makes blogging interesting, right? Join me as I try to wholeheartedly parent my three little boys, slowly fix up the trashed foreclosure we bought in 2009, and live simply.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Julia Turner Qi July 15, 2014, 2:49 pm

    I love it. I used to do this year’s ago and I got quite the looks.

  • Bethany August 22, 2014, 6:10 pm

    Thank you so much for the videos to help! Sometimes both of my boys want to be held by me so this will so nice!

  • Stephanie April 27, 2016, 9:42 pm

    Would a baby k’tan count as a wrap? Would I be able to do two baby k’tan or a baby k’tan and a mei tai?

  • Pamm April 28, 2016, 12:41 am

    Hi Stephanie, You could do a K’tan on the front and mei tai on the back. You could conceivably do two K’tans in opposite hip carries or one K’tan in a hip carry and the mei tai on the other hip, but I have not tried it to see how the mechanics of proper fit would work. I don’t know if you’ve tried a K’tan before, but I’ll mention that while a K’tan is safety rated for a higher weight, most people I’ve worked with start (though not all) to feel it pulling and switch to a different carrier around 15 lbs. So, while the hip carry options might be doable, you would have a very narrow window of use between baby’s readiness for a hip carry (sitting supported/good neck control, which has been 3-4 months for my kids) and that 15 lb mark. -Pamm

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