To many parents, the idea of having more children than hands strikes fear into their hearts. How do I hold the baby? What if they run off in a public place? How will I ever get anything done again?
Never fear – parents have been working, traveling, and living with multiple children for thousands of years. And across the span of cultures and times, there has been one common strategy that helps moms and dads stay sane: babywearing.
To “wear” a baby simply means to carry him or her on your person by the means of some sort of carrier. For centuries, it has been as simple as a crude sling or long swatch of woven fabric; today, it can be as convenient and comfortable as a modern baby backpack. In fact, there are many safe and simple babywearing options available for purchase, including soft structured carriers, Meh Dai carriers, slings, and wraps.
When you happen to have an infant and a toddler- and maybe some older children thrown in the mix too, thing can get a little hairy at times. Here are a few different babywearing game plans that can help you manage the masses.
Just wear the youngest.
It may seem obvious, but even having one child wrapped up can give you two free hands to hold onto older ones. This is how I most frequently work, play, and survive our daily activities. Wearing just one child is what enables me to clean the chicken coop, go shopping, take a hike, or walk near through town. It is entirely possible that just wearing one of your multiple children can meet your needs!
Wear two at one time.
If you have two small children, sometimes you may need or want to contain both of them at the same time.
Twins can be tandem worn in a stretchy wrap side by side when they are very small, or two ring slings (one on each hip). Twins and small children close in age can be worn in various carrier combinations- one on front, one on back. (See here for some great examples!)
Be aware that carrying two children at once require double attention to safe and ergonomic babywearing principles. Be sure that you are confident with carrying one child at a time in your carrier of choice before attempting two!
Split the load.
In case you’re wondering, yes, dads can babywear too. Quite possibly my favorite method of keeping all the kids in line is by sharing the wearing responsibilities. My husband can carry the bigger one in a soft structured carrier or a hiking backpack while I carry a little one in a wrap or ring sling. This is especially helpful for situations in which it would be dangerous for the little ones to be running about.
Babywearing can really come to the rescue of parents with multiple children! Don’t be afraid to experiment with how you carry your children- if one way doesn’t work well, try a different carrier, a different child, or a different time. Often it just takes a little experimenting to see what works best for you and your family.