We give you the full lowdown on twin babywearing from Jess, our experienced Sling Consultant, tips from Zoe and our other twin mum and staff member here at Oscha, Kimberley, before and learning from our customer experiences!
When I had twins and my daughter was still only 16 months I truly discovered how essential slings were. Not only did they allow me to constantly bond with at least one child for much of the day despite a hectic life, they enabled me to carry out basic necessities like being able to get from the car into the house!Zoe, Founder of Oscha
I had already used slings a lot with my daughter but it wasn't until I had the boys that I truly discovered wrapping. I found it amazing for supporting the low muscle tone of premature and very small babies and loved the variety of carries it allowed for. I experimented a fair bit with tandem carrying, it was fun to try out different options, often using different types of carriers along with a wrap. Having twins pushed me to experiment and is definitely a key factor in starting up Oscha! It can be tricky but its a fun journey and any babywearing time is joyful, even if its one baby at a time.
As a Baby Carrying Educator, one thing that Jess feels is hugely important, is to remind people that wrapping with one baby is still of great benefit.
Carrying your baby has incredible benefits for you both - and while tandeming might seem like a fun option, remember wrapping one at a time is still amazing and a huge win for you all as a family. You can wrap one, and use a pushchair for another, or wrap one while you feed the other one. Often there can feel a huge pressure to carry both babies at once and it can be a steep learning curve. Beginning by carrying one at a time still offers fabulous benefits. Learning how to wrap is a skill and practicing with one baby first helps know how the fabric feels and tightens.
As with any carrying, safety is our priority. You can read all about Sling Safety here but there are also a couple of additional pointers specifically relating to twins.
- Have a safe place to pick both your babies up from and put them down that is big enough to accommodate both babies as you will usually need to pick them up and put them down one at time.
- Once the first baby is in the carry, remain fully alert and aware of their position while getting the second baby, avoiding leaning and ensuring both babies' comfort and safety.
Practice New Carries Without Your Babies
Muscle memory is a very real thing, and so helpful when wrapping. We advise anyone trying a new carry to do so first without your baby. Practicing with just the fabric, learning whether it goes from left to right, under or over your shoulder, which edge tightens which section are all things that can be learned and figured out without your wee one, which means when you do come to wrap your baby you have the advantage of knowing what happens next, and get a fuller understanding of the final picture you're aiming for.
Don't be Put off as Your Babies get Heavier
Carrying twins isn't meant to feel uncomfortable. While some stretchy wraps can be used to carry twins and are often one of the first carrying items that parents own (especially now that there is one included in the Scottish Baby Box - which we love!): If it begins to feel uncomfortable do not be put off wrapping- the reason is most likely due to the fact the wrap stretches and so becomes less comfortable as baby's weight increases. Instead try something else. This is why woven wraps are ideal for carrying twins, as they're designed not to stretch and so will hold your babies perfectly in place even as they grow. There will be a solution for you and your babies that is comfortable for all of you.
Your babies love to be near each other, and one thing that can be tricky at first is making sure babies' heads are not going to bump together, as they often try to get closer! A well secured carry can really help with that.
Which Baby is Heaviest?
Whenever you're carrying two babies on the front or hip, put the heaviest baby in first. This helps both with the fabric weight distribution, and also, as the second baby is sometimes a little harder to get into the carry, it allows you to work with your lightest one for the trickiest bit. When carrying one on the front and one on the back, the heaviest baby should be the one on your back, unless there are other health reasons that require them to be on the front.
One Wrap or Two?
If you ask the twin carrying community, there are often differing opinions on this, and it needs to be what works best for you and your family. There are many carries (ways of tying the wrap) that enable you to carry one baby on your front and one on your back using the same wrap, for example a Ruck, tied Tibetan with a baby in the Tibetan finish. The disadvantage of using the one wrap is that if your babies were sleeping and the one on the back wakes up, you can only get the back baby down by taking the whole wrap off, disturbing the front baby.
For some families this isn't an issue, while for others they prefer to use two shorter wraps, so that each baby is on independently, and can be taken off independently too, for example with a Front Wrap Cross Carry and a Ruck.
Have You Considered Carriers?
Two carriers or one carrier and a wrap can also work really well too. The Cairis works well, having straps that can be tied well out of the way of another carrier/wrap.
We also really like the Jasmine Hip Carry with two rings that Dr Rosie Knowles of Carrying Matters does in her video and which is wonderfully demonstrated by Amnah below.
And now let's hear from our in-house twin mums!
When did you find out you were having twins and how did you feel?
Zoe: Sounds a bit out there but I had actually been told by 2 different fortune tellers that if I had any more children after my daughter they would be twins! When I became pregnant I felt strongly that it was the case so it wasn't a surprise when the scan showed twins. I hadn't told my partner any of this though, so he was in a fair bit of shock!
Kimberley: I had a miscarriage earlier on in the year which resulted in me being blue lighted to hospital and losing a lot of blood. After that, I felt tired and nauseous for the next 3-4 months. I started spotting one morning and had a pregnancy test in the house....it was positive, however, at this point I thought that I was having another miscarriage and booked myself into the first appointment at the Early Pregnancy Unit and packed a bag as I did not want to stay at home again. The sonographer was amazing and scanned me with a big smile. She said look there is Twin A and over here Twin B and you are almost 9 weeks! I was in shock as I had only found out that I was pregnant that morning. She had to get me a cup of tea and my hands were shaking! My husband and I had joked about this the first time we were pregnant and it was a total shock. When I called him he had to pull off the road to take in the news!
When was the first time you carried after having your babies, and was it one at a time or together?
Zoe: I don't remember the first time I used a sling with them exactly. I often had someone around to help me in the early days so we would each carry one baby. I did carry them both together in a stretchy quite early on.
Kimberley: Esme was my little twin at 5lb 1/2oz and she spent the first three days of her life wrapped skin to skin with me in a hot pink moby wrap!
What was your favourite carry/method of carrying? (Single or Tandem)?
Zoe: I found that they became too big to both carry on my front quite quickly so would have one on my front and one on my back. There are some very clever methods out there for doing this and I can't remember them all. I do recall pre tying a Front Cross Carry (FCC), then putting the other baby on my back either in a full buckle/onbuhimo or using a shorty wrap (ruck tied under bum) and then putting the baby into the FCC.
I also had my daughter (16 months old when the boys were born) to care for so we mostly used a double buggy and I would carry one on my back (could be any out of the 3 of them!).
Kimberley: I loved carrying both of them with a ruck on the back and either a ring sling or sitting in Tibetan ties on the front.
What would be your three main tips for someone looking to carry twins?
- Play with different carries and have fun experimenting, it is a lovely experience (even if you choose just to babywear one at a time) and can feel quite creative.
- Don't feel guilty if you don't enjoy or get the hang of tandem babywearing - you will still get in loads of bonding time by swapping them around in the sling.
- I do think that visiting a Babywearing Consultant would be so worth it to help you explore your options and get comfortable, wish I'd done that!
- Take your time and get comfortable with one baby, one wrap then you can start carrying together.
- Start off with shorter distances to get your body used to carrying twins together
- Pop the larger twin on your back and the littler on your front if there is a difference.
What was your most memorable positive carrying experience?
Zoe: Having them both falling asleep on me, double the oxytocin ;)
Kimberley: The first time I managed to carry the girls together in the stretchy wrap was an absolute game-changer. I remember popping them in the sling when we were out at Dobbies and they were screaming blue murder. A lovely older lady came over and told me that this was marvellous and she carried her boys in a welsh shawl. It made my day as this was a particularly challenging day.
Did you have a 'carrying fail' story in amongst all the joy?
Zoe: I remember coming home, looking in the mirror, and realising that the baby on my back in a wrap had gone very skew whiff - one straight leg and one very bent leg - I'd come back from the post office where I'd been at the till with a massive queue behind me, so loads of people ogling, and I'd been so proud of myself too!
Kimberley: As I was getting Isabella up on my back in a coffee shop I kept missing the tails and wondered why, as I turned around there was a lady holding the wrap tails passing them to me, I got myself in a right faff!
Was there anything that you found was particularly helpful to you, even if it's a non-traditional way of doing things?
Zoe: I found that using two types of slings together and having one baby on my front and one on my back worked best for me.
Honestly, I did really like having the double buggy for the three of them! It made my life so much easier - I could still get all the lovely baby snuggles but I had something to lean on and somewhere to put all my stuff (and there was a lot for the 3 of them).
Kimberley: I found it easier to wrap with two wraps independently, so a longer wrap on my back and a shortie on the front or two shortie wraps. It made it a little easier to take one twin down.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Kimberley: When you start wrapping twins really take your time to get to know the fabric and how it moves and tightens. The more you practice the better your muscle memory is with the process and the easier it gets.
We'd love to end with the wise words of one of our Clan Oscha Parents, Jess:
As far as advice goes I would say wrapping twins (especially newborns) is really hard. All of a sudden you have these tiny little babies who have lots of needs and then sometimes both need you at the same time. I was an experienced wrapper prior to giving birth to twins, but wrapping two at once was a whole other level of challenging. There was massive exhaustion. There were health issues lingering from the pregnancy. So twin mamas, whether experienced or novice wrappers, there is so much grace. Be patient with yourself and practice, practice, practice. I remember how I felt so accomplished when I finally was able to get the tandem carry with a ring down. I was able to care for the twins and my oldest child all at one time while my husband was working and it was liberating!! It was worth all of the hard work. ❤Jess, Oscha Customer & Member of Clan Oscha
Let us know about your experience of carrying twins - do get in touch.
Written by Jess, Zoe, Kimberley and Clan Oscha.