Hey, Hike it Baby parents. I know many of you with two little ones are wondering how you can easily get out and do a few carrier-only hikes. Well, here’s your quick guide to carrying two.
First, let’s review safety ABC’s* of baby wearing. This applies to ALL baby wearing.
Airway: Your baby’s chin should be away from her chest. You should be able to place two fingers between her chin and chest. If her chin is tucked, her airway will be closed. Reevaluate frequently, maybe at every trail head or stop.
Body positioning: Baby’s head should be close enough to kiss. Bottom and legs should form an “M”, with knees higher than hips bottom. Remember carriers that allow fabric from knee to knee will give your child the best support.
Comfort: Carrying is only great if you’re comfortable. Make sure you adjust those straps to be comfortable for yourself, and usually this makes baby more comfortable too. If you’re not sure about carrying, practice at home first and get a partner to “spot” you.
Now, here’s how to carry two (toddler & baby, twins, two toddlers). Make sure to abide by the weight restrictions your carrier advises.
- Choose two carriers. An Onya for back and ring sling for front is an easy option, or two buckle carriers like Ergo or Onya. I love Onya for light weight and accessories. I also love soft carriers like Mei Tie’s for this. (Use the code: hikeitbaby1 for a $10 discount with Onya)
- Practice at home, with a partner, and when your kids are calm. Use a mirror to help.
- Put your front carrier on first, then the back- but no kids.
- Place the bigger child on your back
- Either “airplane swing them” or scoot them under one arm, while supporting them with the other until they are around on your back and centered. Use your partner and the mirror to help with this.
- Buckle and secure the older child
- Place your baby, or smaller child, in the carrier on front
Here’s a video from the Baby Dirt Channel that gives you an idea (don’t forget to adjust your arm straps though!)
Things to remember:
- Babe on back needs to have good head and neck control (at least 6 months old)
- Your balance will be much different carrying two, so start slow! Check out leveled trailed hikes while you become adjusted to your balance and build muscle tone.
- Carry a small mirror so you can check on your baby on the back. If you don’t have one, have your hiking partner check with him frequently.
- Take breaks!
IMPORTANT: for those of you with twins there has recently been a few incidents of injuries when twins were worn in a stretchy wrap, similar to a Moby or Boba. These brands are no longer promoting their product to be used for twins. However, correctly wearing woven wraps with twins can be a life saver! Specialty stores selling woven wraps can be very helpful when needing instructions. Here’s a picture from Pinterest of double ring sling and a double Mei Tei.
Don’t let tandem wearing intimidate you. Just practice, use a friend, use a mirror, and get comfortable. Once you get comfortable around home, hit the trails!
*Adapted from www.babywearinginternational.org
Tiffany Decker is a mom of two rambunctious, boys. She loves sharing hikes with her family, running, and watching old SNL skits. Somehow, between soccer and swim lessons, she is able to fit being an active birth and postpartum doula, as well as founder of Birthing Stone Doula,into her schedule.