Topics in Advanced Babywearing:

Tandem Carrying a Big Kid and an Infant

Here's my story (so far) of tandem wearing, in case it helps anyone. Of course there are lots of other ways to do this--I'm not trying to say it's the only way, but I thought I'd put this out there just the same. (I also posted a version of this on for the duplication.)

My little girl was born when my big boy was 3 years 4 months. I had a c-section with her, so while I wore her right away (12 hours after the birth), I didn't wear him until four weeks after the birth. I tandem wore for very short periods (melt-downs/snuggles) around the house when my newborn was 4-5 weeks, but then I started tandeming in earnest--often as a mode of transportation--once I was 6 weeks pp and feeling really good.

If you tandem, be sure to PRACTICE in the house before going out like this! What works best for one mama might not work for another, and you should find out what works or doesn't work for you before you're far from home.

My personal criteria:

A day in the life. . .

Today, for example, I got up at 7:00, got dressed, unloaded the dishwasher, started some laundry, and got my son breakfast while my husband changed the baby's diaper and got her dressed. When he brought her up front, I popped her in a sling and headed out to walk and take a bus to drop my son at preschool, him walking hand-in-hand with me. I changed a diaper at the preschool before reading my son a couple books and saying goodbye, and then (baby in a sling again) I walked down the street to the other end of campus to meet with a colleague. While we got started and just were chatting, I nursed, and then I put the baby in a mei tai on my back and she fell asleep. She napped for two hours, as I sat and typed and talked with my colleague (we're working on the second edition of a book and meet weekly to write and revise). When the baby stirred, I brought her down from my back, switched her to my front in a sling, gathered my things, and left. I took a bus straight from my colleague's office to the Whole Foods near my house, and sat down at a table in the sun outside the store to nurse. Baby went back into the sling and I went inside to do my food shopping. After I was done, I walked the few blocks home and had a quick lunch. I popped her out of the sling to play on the floor a bit while I had lunch, then I changed a diaper and put her back in. I had just put the laundry into the dryer when the Whole Foods delivery person arrived on her cargo bike with my groceries; I buzzed her up and she left the groceries in bags on the floor of my kitchen. I sat down on the couch, took baby out of the sling, and nursed her again. She was almost asleep, so I quickly buckled on a baby-sized soft-structured carrier and put her up on my back, where she napped again while I sorted and put away the groceries, put away the dishes, started dinner, and baked brownies. When she woke up and shifted around, I went back to the couch and nursed her, and then gave her some floor time while I folded laundry and did something on the computer. Then I put her in the sling again to put the laundry away and clean up the kitchen. Back out for a little more happy squealing floor time while I checked my lists, then I nursed her again and popped her back in the sling, where she immediately fell asleep, to go walk and take the bus to pick up my son from preschool. Once I picked him up, we walked across the street to the bus stop and took the bus home. I took the baby out of the sling to play on my lap as we sat in the sun and waited for the bus home, then put her back in for the bus ride. Getting off the bus, I put my son on my back in a big-kid soft-structured carrier, and we walked home together. At home I put my son down for him to have a snack and play, and switched the baby to the baby-sized soft-structured carrier on my back to put some things away, finish making dinner, and get my son fed. I took her out to sit down on the couch and nurse her again. After that my son wanted some cuddle time, so I put him on my back in the bigger soft-structured carrier and the baby on my front in a sling again. When my husband came home from work, I took both kids down and he held the baby and played with her while I put some things away around the house, and then I sat down and nursed her again. She fell asleep on my lap; my husband held her, still sleeping, while I put our son to bed; then I held her again, nursed her some more, and she fell asleep again on my chest. I popped her into a sling and sat on the couch watching a movie with my husband for a couple hours. After the movie ended, I brought the baby into the bedroom and laid her down on my bed (arranged for safe co-sleeping, with a bedrail). She kept sleeping, and I went back to the living room with my husband for another hour or so before we both came back to bed too at midnight.

Pic. 1: This was comfy, but not ideal since baby went on 2nd yet generally stays up longer. I do this around the house if baby is playing on the floor, big kid wants snuggles, and then baby suddenly wants them too.

My favorite combo:

Pic. 2: My favorite!

Pic. 3: That's a ring sling. If I'm careful, it can work, but it takes more fiddling for me. I also tend to wear baby slightly in between tummy-to-tummy and hip-carry, so it's not perfectly symmetrical, which can throw me off when tandeming. But it's a great choice in warmer weather, since the sling covers less of my body.

Getting everyone up there:

My considerations about choosing carriers:

Pic. 4: It was hard to maintain tension tying the MT without bending over too much/too far for the baby. If I knew the big kid would be up for awhile, I could do the MT or even a ruck first, but that generally doesn't happen for me. A ruck in a wrap also isn't a good choice for me for the big kid since then when he gets out, I have a bulky wrap to carry around, vs. an SSC I can just let dangle behind me if need be.

Pic. 5: showing the pad on the chest clip.

Dealing with clothing/outerwear/weather:

Pics. 6-8: different hoodies over baby. We went through the winter like this.

My contexts for tandem wearing:

Pic. 9: staying dry!

Pics. 10-11: more pics of my favorite combo

Carrying stuff while tandeming:

Pics. 12-13: different bags that work. The picture at the left is in Disneyworld, actually the very first time I tandemed outside of the house.

Video (sound quality not great--I didn't realize how loudly I needed to talk!--but you can see the motions anyway):



Go back to web essays or over to links. was made with a Mac.
© 2012 C&R Enterprises
Email or
Created: 5/27/12. Last Modified: 5/31/12.