Babywearing & Multiples Part 2
By LaRee Brown
(older babies & toddlers)
A simple pouch in front and
a Mei Tai on LaRee's back
As my daughters got older, heavier & actually started going for longer stretches without wanting to nurse, I began to look for a way to carry them front & back to give my arms more mobility (carrying a baby on each hip, even in slings, greatly limits what you can do with your hands). And so I discovered Mei Tais (MT).
Pouch and Mei Tai
I got my first MT when the girls were about 9 months old & LOVED it. I suspect it would have worked equally well starting around 6 months, or even younger for babies who don't nurse as often as mine did. The combo I used most was a pouch with the Mei Tai. I would put the pouch on positioned to use in a tummy-to-tummy carry, then I would put one baby on my back in the Mei Tai. Depending on the situation, I could either place the 2nd baby in the pouch from the beginning or, more often, I would use a single stroller (my children generally enjoyed riding in strollers for short trips
Two Mei Tais
and I found I generally took one, as a way to carry the diaper bag, etc, even if I didn't expect either child to ride in it) or, place one child in the seat of the shopping cart. But I would have the pouch in place so that if the stroller/cart child wanted to be carried I could do so easily.
2 Mei Tais
Some people have suggested using 2 Mei Tais, one in front & one in back. I didn't have a second Mei Tai until my girls were toddlers and rarely needed to be carried together, but I did try it a few months ago and the drawback I found, with 2 toddlers, is that toddlers tend to like to get up & down frequently and I wasn't able to find a way to get the front child in/out of the carrier w/o removing the child from my back. There is still merit in having 2 Mei Tais so that each parent (or other caregivers) can wear a child, but it appears to me that the usefulness of wearing 2 Mei Tais together is limited to the infant stage, unless your toddlers are happy to be carried the whole time.
A wrap tied front cross carry in front,
a Mei Tai on LaRee's back.
As my children learned to walk & respond to instructions, I've found that I use carriers less & less. However I just recently "rediscovered" wraparound carriers. I had tried these briefly when the girls were babies but found the learning curve to be too great for the patience (or lack thereof) of my babies. A wraparound WILL allow for a front carry that baby can be taken in & out of as needed, while providing the 2 shoulder support that is nice with larger children (vs. the on shoulder support of a ring sling or pouch).
So, I've recently been playing with wearing one child in front in a wrap (front cross carry) and the 2nd child on my back in either a Mei Tai or a second wrap (rucksack carry). It is also possible to wear 2 children in one wrap (back wrap cross & front cross carry), but again the issue I found was the "up & down" desires of toddlers. Removing the front child from this combination results in the wrap being too loose (though it could be tightened) and I don't know of a way to get the back child out of a wrap w/o untying. However I can see this combination as being ideal for young babies who are happy to stay in the carrier for long periods of time (directions can be found at MamaToto.org).
See LaRee's original Babywearing and Multiples article.
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