Carrying multiples, babywearing twins, babywearing toddler and newborn

Tandem Babywearing, or Carrying Multiples

So you've got more than one baby! Twins, triplets or more? Wondering about tandem babywearing (carrying multiple children at once)?

“Is carrying them in a sling possible?” “Is it safe?” 

“What sling do I need or want?” 

“Where do I start with babywearing twins, or with carrying a toddler and a baby?” 

Carrying multiples, carrying twins, carrying toddler and baby, babywearing
Image shared with permission, Ilhan Omar

There is no doubt that carrying more than one child is one of the things that can baffle and inspire people at the same time, from the practicalities of it to the beauty of two babies in one sling. 

Why carry more than one child?

When people think of carrying multiple children they often think of carrying both babies at once, this is called “tandem carrying” or “tandeming”, however, it is not necessary to tandem carry every time, or even at all! Being able to carry one at a time will free up your arms, meaning you are able to look after both babies at the same time, keeping one soothed while meeting the other’s needs. 

This goes along with all the other many benefits to babywearing that applies to one child and their caregivers. More in depth information about all of these can be found in these articles here and here.

Babywearing can also be an amazing tool to use if you also have older children, to help engage in play with them whilst the younger babies are happily in the sling. There can be some limitations with this as it can be difficult to keep older children in check when tandem carrying, due to some of the movement /speed restrictions! 

How does it work? 

For new parents the idea of learning to use a sling can be daunting and especially for new parents of multiples due to the huge range in choice and the practical logistics of it. The best thing to do is to learn to carry one baby safely and with confidence first, then move on to tandem carrying when needed. 

But how do I learn to use a sling?

There are so many ways to learn now from one-to-one support (if you are local to us in Sheffield, the Sheffield Sling Surgery bookings are here) to self-learning from online videos (do choose channels made by experienced and reputable teachers!)

One of the main benefits of choosing professional support and learning one-to-one is the hands-on and emotional support this service offers. This can range from learning your very first ins and outs of carrying your children, getting a fit check and some tweaks, to expanding your carrying knowledge as you begin to learn your preferences, all with a listening ear and an experienced guiding hand. 

The most important thing is to ensure that you are carrying safely. Feeling safe and confident with professional support can be one of the most helpful inputs for beginning to develop that amazing bond with your child/ren. 

Booking a consultation will help you to gain these skills. Consultants train with various schools of babywearing and they have a wealth of knowledge and experience in carrying children as well as teaching you the practical skills, they may call themselves babywearing or carrying consultants. They have a passion for carrying children and the technical knowledge to know how to carry in a variety of ways, and will support you in however you want to carry. 

Laura; “I carried my first baby everywhere and anywhere so I knew I wanted the same when the twins came along but the idea filled me with all the anxiety! I booked onto a couple of consults and turned up at the drop in sessions at the library to nosey at and try out the styles.

When I first carried both babies I used the stretchy wrap which I was taught to use at a consult. We went through the basics first and got one baby secure then onto adjustments for twins. Each step was explained and I was helped to iron out the niggles to get them and me comfy. The consultation was invaluable! It made getting out and about so easy. Now they’re bigger I’m using all the slings and wraps thanks to more consults and guidance. I love babywearing!”

So what are the options when carrying multiple children? 

There are a vast number of ways to be able to carry multiple children. Some carriers are designed to carry two children at the same time, others can be adapted to suit the needs of your family.

We will first look at the individual carriers that can be used in different ways to carry single or multiple children, then we will look at carriers that have been made specifically to carry twins. We’ll explore using two similar carriers to carry multiple children, and then lastly we will consider the mix and match approach of using different types of slings at the same time!

Individual carriers that can be used to carry one or both children

Stretchy Wrap 

stretchy wrap twins, carrying multiples
Photo credit Rosie Knowles, shared with permission (Ilhan Omar)

A stretchy wrap is a length of fabric, usually made of soft and stretchy machine knitted cotton, that is usually between 4 and 5m long and about half a metre wide. Some have bamboo blended in with the cotton, which adds to the softness and comfort, and some have a small proportion of spandex, which adds to their elasticity and stretch.

When choosing a stretchy wrap it is best to get your hands on a few different brands as they vary in stretchiness and therefore give a different level of support and comfort when two babies are being carried, due to the increased weight. 

The best thing to do when preparing to carry twin is to get to grips with using the sling for one baby, usually the pocket wrap cross carry. Our photo tutorial for putting on a two way stretchy wrap in a pocket wrap cross carry (PWCC) with a single baby can be found here. Once you have mastered this, then you can learn to get both in at the same time (you will need to allow more space for both babies!)

However, when it comes to putting both babies into a stretchy wrap, it can be challenging to learn all of it from a video (many videos are best used as aide memoires once the skill has been learned). Furthermore, some twins may be under the recommended weight limits for the wrap, so it would be beneficial to get in contact with your local babywearing team and book some in person support with them to make sure that everyone is safe. 


This is a beautiful video done by LeKeta Kemp from Tandem Trouble, it shows her demonstrating a pocket wrap cross carry for twins with a sturdy stretchy wrap. 


Babywearing twins
Image credit Rosie Knowles

Pros and cons of using a stretchy wrap for twins 

Pros

  • Once tied, a stretchy is a poppable carrier so can be put on at the start of the day and babies can be taken in and out of the wrap without needing to retie each time.
  • It can be used for one or both babies. 
  • It can feel more affordable than other options.

Cons

  • It can be hard to get the hang of it when you are first starting out, as there is when learning any new skill. However with practice it will soon become manageable. 
  • It can be harder for people with smaller frames and as babies get bigger. 
  • Some people can start to run out of space on their front with two babies!


Close Caboo

The Close Caboo is a hybrid stretchy carrier, the fabric is sewn into a pre-arranged shape (similar to a PWCC), which can be slipped on over arms and head, to offer two ready made hammocks for baby to rest in. 

A Close Caboo can also be used with twins in the same way as a stretchy wrap. It has some of the structure sewn in, so is already partially set up for use. It has two pockets, both adjustable by tightening the fabric through the rings at the side, and then a third layer to tie over the top for security. 

The advantage of the Caboo is that it can be adjusted to size, then popped on. With a few minor adjustments it can be used for either one or both babies, each pocket can be adapted to fit their different sizes. It is also really easy to adjust when the babies are in the Caboo, as the rings can be used to pull the fabric tighter if needed. 

You can find our photo tutorial for getting one baby into a Close Caboo here. With two, each baby sits in separate pockets and they are placed in one by one, with the third layer tied on around both at the end.

Twins in a Close Caboo tandem babywearing carrying multiples
Photo credit Abby Hopewell

 


Pros and cons of using a Close Caboo for twins

Pros 

  • The fabric is a one-way stretch – this can mean less of a slumping risk as babies get bigger and can feel sturdier.
  • It is really easy to adjust when the babies are in.
  • It offers a quick and easy front carry.
  • It is easy to use and learn for one baby as well as two.

Cons

  • The panels are thinner when compared to a stretchy wrap, this means it can be harder to get the position just right to avoid red marks at the knee.
  • It is a little more expensive than a stretchy wrap. 


Woven Wraps 

A woven wrap is a fantastic tool for babywearing, it can be used in so many ways for one or two children of the same or different ages as well as being used alongside a different carrier. Essentially a woven wrap is one long piece of fabric that has been woven specifically to carry children, they vary in length, known as their size (most commonly from 1 to 8), and what length is used comes down to personal preference and what you are going to use the wrap for. You can find more information about woven wraps here

A woven wrap can be used from the very start of your carrying journey with twins, either having both on the front (a front tandem carry) or one on the back and one on the front. If you are planning to do this then a consultation is needed to learn these skills. Back wrapping a small baby is a skill that takes a lot of practice in itself and requires professional support and guidance, and it is best to get to grips with front carries with the woven wrap first. 

Front tandem carries

There are many options with woven wraps for front carrying two babies of a similar size until you run out of room! One of these options is the Jasmine’s Hip Carry which is usually done with sling rings. 

Babywearing multiples, jasmine’s hip carry with rings, babywearing twins
Image courtesy of Steph Oliver Beech, shared with permission, Becca Hutchinson with a Jasmine’s Hip Carry

 

Laketa Kemp Jasmines Hip Carry Tandem babywearing
Photo shared with permission, LaKeta Kemp Jasmine’s Hip Carry

What makes it so special? The Jasmine’s Hip Carry is done using one woven wrap with either one or two rings. Once prepared the wrap can be left threaded through the rings so it is pre-tied and removed for wear at a later time, each side of the carry can also adjusted to suit the size of each baby. This can be tricky to master but lots of practice will help!

This video by LaKeta from Tandem Trouble is a great video to see the logistics of a Jasmine’s Hip Carry with two rings.

Other options are the Amanda’s Tandem Hip Carry,(from Tandem Trouble), which is a ringless carry that knots round the back. There is also a twin version of the popular Front Wrap Cross Carry (from Little but Once), this has no ring and is tied at the front or back depending on what size wrap is used. 

Photo courtesy Dea Revinia, FWCC with twins.

Front and Back Tandem Carries 

A front and back tandem carry can be used for children of the same or of different ages. 

Tandem carry woven wraps babywearing twins
Image credit Rosie Knowles, shared with permission, front and back carry with one wrap

This is because woven wraps are a collection of individual strands meaning they can be carefully tightened section by section to ensure your baby is fully supported from neck to knee pit, with the airway open, respecting the natural gentle curved J and M shaped position. As these back carries tend to be done high up on the parent’s back, caregivers are able to see their baby’s face and feel their breathing on the back of their neck.

When back carrying a newborn, most people will choose a simple rucksack carry, which is just a single layer across the baby, ensuring there is less pressure for tiny bodies. However, getting your baby up on your back can be a challenge and is something that is best learned with the help of a professional. This video from Wrap you in Love will give you an idea of the safe way to do this if you would like to see how it works.

Once you have one child up on your back, you can use the rest of the long wrap, tied in a crossed across the chest ‘Tibetan’ finish, to pop your little one into the cross passes. This can also be done with two different wraps, mostly done when a toddler is on the back in a carry with multiple passes and a short wrap is used as a simple sling pass, passed through the wrap and tied under their bum, as seen below.

Tandem babywearing with woven wraps
Photo credit Will Nham, shared with permission

 Doing a front and back tandem carry can be a lifeline for some parents. Life with small children can often feel very hectic and being able to keep both children close at the same time can be a fantastic parenting tool. 

  Anna Nham; “Solo parenting with a toddler and a baby and the older one refuses to walk home, or tiredness hits and everyone wants a cuddle at the same time. These are the moments I am grateful to be able to tandem carry my kids. There’s 19 months between my two and while I can’t say a tandem is an everyday occurrence, when both of them need some close time or both need to nap at the same time I am always grateful to be able to pop them both up and at least create a moment of peace for me. It was especially important when the baby was smaller and needed more contact. Allowing me to give the older one something familiar and make him feel like he wasn’t pushed out. Now he finds it hilarious  when his brother is put on the front and he is on the back and loves to share that space with him. I definitely can’t get far with 24kg of kid attached to me but I can provide comfort and that’s an invaluable tool to have.” 


Pros and cons for woven wraps

Pros

  • They are very versatile for carrying one or two children. 
  • They can be used for front carrying both children, or for carrying one on the back and one on the front.
  • They can be used with children of different ages.
  • They can be used from birth to the end of your carrying days. 

Cons

  • They can be difficult to learn, but once you have gained the knowledge of how the fabric like to move then it is an invaluable tool .
  • They can be hard to get the right fit every time due to the way they are tightened and deal with a feisty child, but with patience and practice you will get it. 

Carriers designed specifically to carry twins

These carriers have been made with the needs of twin parents in mind and are focused on easy carrying of both children at the same time. They can be expensive, due to the complexity of the engineering (even if they are simple to use!)

TwinGo

This is a fantastic buckle carrier and one of the best known twin carriers around. It gives caregivers the option to carry two children at once, either twins or children that are close in age as it is designed to have one child on the back and one on the front. 

Image credit Becca Hutchinson, TwinGo with toddlers

black babywearing week carrying multiples, tandem babywearing
Image credit Rosie Knowles, TwinGo with babies

It can also be split into two individual carriers meaning that you don’t always have to tandem carry. Here is a demonstration video showing how to use the TwinGo with two children. 

One limitation of the TwinGo is that the panels aren’t adjustable in height or width. This means that it is best used when both children are big enough to fit in the panel knee pit to knee pit (normally around 5-6 months). There are newborn inserts, but inserts can be fiddly when used and cannot be used for a back carry. We recommend trying the TwinGo out before you buy, as the whole bundle can end up being expensive. 


Pros and cons of the TwinGo

Pros

    • It is ideal for carrying two children of the same/similar age with one on the front and back. 
    • It is designed specifically to do this, so it works very well. 
    • The padded straps and waistband add comfort even with heavy children.
    • It can be used as two separate carriers for different caregivers if needed.

Cons

  • It can be fiddly using inserts until babies are big enough.
  • It cannot be used for front tandem carries, only front and back.
  • It can only be used as a front and back tandem carry for babies four months and over, when they have reached the 3 milestones defined by TwinGo. More details about these can be found here.
  • It is expensive.


The Weego

This buckled carrier is designed to carry two babies of the same age on the front only. It has two pouches that are adjustable with poppers on the inside to give the correct panel height (size) which means it can be used from newborn till around 6 months (or 15kg combined weight.) 

Below you can see images of the popper system in the Weego, followed by images of the configuration of the pouches. 

Here you can see the inside of The Weego with all the possible placements for the poppers (A&B). You can also see the zips used to close each individual pouch (C), as well as the zips to secure the final layer of the sling around each baby (D).

An amazing article going into full detail about the Weego can be found here. It was written in 2019 by Joe Rawlinson, a dad of twin girls. It is a detailed and honest review about the Weego and how it helped them as a family with newborn twins.

Weego, tandem babywearing
Image credit Jan Bonar with a Weego

Pros and Cons of the Weego

Pros

      • Each compartment can be sized for each individual child. 
      • Both children can be carried on the front at the same time. 
      • Can be left already prepped so no need to re-do the internal poppers until babies have grown considerably.
      • One baby be left in while the other is removed. This can be very useful for nappy changes/feeds etc.

Cons

      • It can be fiddly to get right. 
      • It can feel bulky when on the front with both babies in it. 
      • It can feel heavy due to the narrow, flatter shoulder straps with no waistband.
      • It is expensive.


Twin miniMonkey
Photo credit Erica Hanson, twin MiniMonkey

The MiniMonkey Twin Carrier 

This carrier is designed to carry two children of the same age, on the front only. It is made up of two pouches for carrying babies in an upright position, mimicking a Jasmine’s Hip Carry in a woven wrap, but with the added support of a waistband. The ability to move the position of the pouches along the waistband can be very helpful to get an optimised and more comfortable position for both the wearer and the children.

The MiniMonkey Twin tends to fit babies best when they are about 4-5 months old, as the pouch height can be more challenging to adjust for smaller, newborn babies. This can be done with support from a consultant. Many people find that the Mesh MiniMonkey is easier to use with smaller babies as the material is thinner and easier to tuck for adjustments. Still others find that using two individual MiniMonkey carriers together on either shoulder across the body can be a more comfortable (and cheaper!) way to carry two babies together.

Here is the instruction video.


Pros and Cons of the MiniMonkey Twin 

Pros

      • It is a carrier that is prepared in advance, making it simple to put on each time.
      • Each pouch can be adjusted for each individual child.
      • The spreadable shoulder straps offer more comfort.  

Cons

    • It can be more challenging to use for newborns.
    • The height of each pouch cannot be adjusted so if babies are too small then they may get ‘lost’ in the pouch. This can be overcome with support, or using the mesh version.
    • It is expensive.

Using Two Matching Carriers 

There are many ways of using two individual carriers to carry multiple children, either the same or different types of carrier. A lot of these combinations are learned through trial and error to find out what suits your family best. 

Two Meh Dais and Half BucklesA Meh Dai (also known as a bei dai, formerly known as mei tai) is the common name given to a type of Asian carrier that originated in China many years ago. It consists of a fabric panel with long straps that are wound around the parent’s body, to be tied or twisted or tucked away securely. Different cultures have their own variants of these cloth carriers. A half buckle is the same style with the panel and woven wrap straps, however instead of being tied at the waist there is a buckle fastening. 

Front Tandem Carries 

There are two main ways of using Meh Dais to tandem front carry. This first is that both are used in a standard front carry but both children are held off centre (this can be seen demonstrated below) by Drew Joseph or by doing two hip carries. These can be tricky to master, but practice helps!

With two half buckles the same methods can be applied, however there are also a few brands (such as Didymos Didyclick and Mamaruga Padma)  that can have two panels attached to the same waist band. The advantage of this is that there is only one waistband being used, reducing bulk, but you still have control of placement of the panels. 

Tandem carrying babywearing twins Tandem babywearing twins DidyClick

Images from Rosie Knowles (of LaKeta Kemp using two DidyClicks)

Front and Back Tandem Carries 

Meh Dais and Half Buckles can also be used to carry two children, one on the front and one on the back. It is possible to tandem carry this way from a few weeks old. However, it can be scary and challenging to get a small baby safely on your back alone, just as with a woven wrap, so it is best to get professional support and guidance with this. 


Pros and Cons of Meh Dais and Half Buckles 

Pros

  • They give the comfort and feel of woven wraps but with the convenience of a pre-made panel and the comfort and security of a waistband.
  • Two carriers can be used for both front tandem carrying or front and back tandem carries. Each carrier can then be used individually as needed or by two caregivers.
  • Meh Dais and Half Buckles can be used for a front and back tandem carry from newborn, with professional support. 

Cons

  • It can feel like a lot of fabric in one place with 4 straps being wrapped around you and two waistbands.
  • There can feel like a lot of knots if using two carriers at once.


Two Ring Slings / Two MiniMonkey MiniSlings

 This is a nice option for when you would like to have two individual carriers that can also be used at the same time. Two ring slings offer a front tandem carry like a Jasmine’s Hip Carry, however with two pairs of rings pressing against you it can dig in a bit. Some caregivers deal with this by placing the rings on the back with a flip in the fabric on the front, this can work well with practice but often involves a learning curve. Using two individual MiniMonkey MiniSlings can be a lot easier, it mimics the double front carrying option of the Twin MiniMonkey and works well for small babies. With heavier and older babies, the waistband of the Twin MiniMonkey can be useful for better weight distribution.


Pros and Cons of two ring slings or two MiniSlings

Twin MiniMonkey MiniSlings Tandem babywearing
Image credit Rosie Knowles, two MiniSlings

Pros 

  • Using two separate carriers means there is always the option of carrying one child at a time (or each if there is another caregiver).
  • Two MiniSlings is a great hot weather option.
  • Ring slings can give more adjustability than two MiniSlings.

Cons

  • Two sets of rings can be hard work to adjust easily and be uncomfortable.
  • The first baby can end up sliding under your armpit when putting the second baby in, but this does get easier with practice.  

 

 

 



Two Buckle Carriers

There is a wide variety of buckle carriers that can be used when doing a front and back tandem carry when one baby fits well into the panel and is almost able to sit unaided. It always helps to explore all the different types of buckle carriers and see what would work for your family, as one type does not suit everyone. You may even choose to use different brands together. 

Front tandem carries

There are a few buckle carries that can be used together for a tandem front carry, either off centre or hip carry. These are the Integra, the Ergo Embrace and the Izmi, as these have unpadded waistbands so there will be less of a large bulk around the caregivers middle. However, this can become very fiddly with all of the buckles and the straps across the shoulders. We would recommend booking an appointment with a consultant to make sure everyone is safe.  

Front and Back tandem carries

snowsuits scarves slings and safety carrying in the cold tandem babywearing
Image credit Ilhan Omar

Most brands of buckle carriers can be used for front and back tandem carrying, however it may be more comfortable to choose two with unpadded waist bands, for (example the Integra or the Izmi) as they will sit flat against the waist without too much bulk. Another option would be to use one unpadded and one padded waistband (for example a Tula or Lenny Lamb). This still keeps bulk to a minimum while increasing the feeling of support. There are so many variations you could use, so it is best to have a good look around and see what types of buckle carriers you think would suit you. Most sling libraries will stock a good range for you to try out. 


Pros and Cons of two buckle carriers

Pros

  • Two carriers offer a lot of adjustability. 
  • Each carrier can be used to carry children separately (sharing the load between caregivers, or if one child is in the buggy/walking!)
  • Some carriers work well in combination. 

Cons 

  • Two carriers can feel very fiddly with lots of buckles and straps.
  • Carriers that have fixed position panels can be hard to move around the waist for two hip carries.

Image courtesy of Steph Oliver Beech; a buckle on the front and a Meh Dai on the back Tandem babywearing
Image courtesy of Steph Oliver Beech; a buckle on the front and a Meh Dai on the back

Mix and match options

Sometimes the best option is just to choose the things that work well for you on their own and see how it goes! The possibilities are endless when it comes to the mix and match approach, from a woven and a buckle together, to a Meh Dai on the back and a ring sling on the front. 

Mix and match is often the easiest option when carrying children of different ages, making the most of the slings you already have. For example, a stretchy wrap or a close caboo is a fantastic option to use alongside another type of carrier when caring for a newborn baby and a toddler. The stretchy/Caboo should be put on first of all, and adjusted to fit the newborn snugly and safely. Baby is then taken out, leaving the stretchy/Caboo in place. This frees you up to then get your toddler safely onto your back in your chosen carrier (eg a woven or a buckle) without worrying about your baby during the process. As the stretchy/Caboo is “poppable” and has already been set up for your baby, once toddler is in place, baby can be quickly and easily popped back in (or out again, as needed, eg for a feed, or if your toddler has fallen asleep and baby needs a change or some play time).

Tandem babywearing, stretchy on the front, Beco toddler on the back
Image credit – Ella Hensman, stretchy on the front, toddler buckle on the back

Carrying multiples, tandem babywearing
Twins on the front in a Weego, toddler on the back in a toddler buckle, Image credit

Pros and Cons of mix and match tandem babywearing 

Pros

  • There are many possibilities and a chance to be creative.
  • This mix and match method can be very useful for using the slings you already have, rather than needing to buy more.

Cons

  • It can feel like an overwhelming amount of choice; this is where sling libraries and consultants can offer guidance and get you off to a flying start.

Many families will opt for a sling and buggy combination with two or three children, but it is in fact possible to carry three children at once, as this hero mother demonstrates!

Summary

 The most important thing to remember if you are considering using slings with your children, is to do what is best for your family. This will vary. It could be carrying children individually, one in a sling and one in a pushchair, or it could be tandem carrying. Every family is different, so what works for you might not be the best option for the next family, and what works for your friend might not be best for you. 

Tandem Babywearing stretchy and woven wrap
Image courtesy of Steph Oliver-Beech, shared with permission by Jess Yarborough, stretchy and woven tandem combination

In conclusion, we recommend becoming familiar with carrying one baby first and then progress to tandem carrying in whichever way you feel most comfortable with. If you are unsure about anything, get support from a trained professional, they will be more than happy to give you all the information they can (we love to do it!) and do their utmost to make sure that you are utilizing all the resources that you can. 


Authors Jess Yarborough and Rosie Knowles


Top FAQS

These are the most common questions about babywearing I am asked, in a single helpful list!

Just click on the links to read the relevant blog posts, some are kindly shared from others

Firstly; some of my most popular articles:

Do the babywearing “rules” really matter?

Babywearing and infant mental health

Babywearing and the mother-baby dyad

Where can I get some training about slings and why they matter?

Secondly, I get this query daily. “Can I use your infographics to support families?” ABSOLUTELY! Everything on this website was created to help families with children to feel close and connected. Please credit me appropriately and link back to my website/social media (facebook, instagram)

Here is the link to the infographics (eg the Fourth Trimester/Build a Happy Brain/Why Carrying Matters/Skin to Skin posters and much more)

Carrying in different circumstances

Can I sleep while my baby sleeps in their carrier?

How do I carry more than one child at a time?

How can I carry safely in hot weather?

How do I keep my baby warm while carrying in the cold?  (ie can I put them in a snowsuit?)

How do I keep myself and baby dry when babywearing in the rain? (Coming soon)

Carrying adopted or foster children

What if my child has a disability? See this link for a stories from families living with a range of specific conditions.

What if babywearing just isn’t working for me?


fitness dance

Sling Fitness/Dance and Babywearing

There are many fitness or dance classes focused on maternal wellbeing and bonding with baby while babywearing, which can be a great thing to participate in, like Barre and Baby, Dance Like a Mother, Joiemove and Sling Swing, to name just some.

We all know babies thrive when close to their mothers, and baby carriers can help with this rather than putting babies down all the time. Movement and activity are known to lift the mood, and friendly, welcoming social activity is an important part of helping new parents find a supportive community so they feel less alone. So keeping babies close during a fitness or dance class may seem to be a match made in heaven… or is it?

 

Some classes market themselves by suggesting that new mothers should be trying to “get their body back” shortly after birth, so they feel good about themselves. I dislike this phrase; after all, why would you want to encourage a butterfly to revert to a caterpillar? Motherhood and the changes that come with it are to be celebrated. Many women would like to work on the strength and health of their bodies, but this should be a positive choice, not one made out of shame or embarrassment.

Baby safety at all times, and the health and wellbeing of new mothers are both of vital importance. It is my firmly held belief that anyone who is suggesting or recommending the use of a carrier during a class should be competent and confident in their use. This can only come with adequate training.

Furthermore, I believe that the long term health and fitness of women after birth and pregnancy takes precedence over quick-fixes. The pressure to “get your body back” and the media focus on celebrity bodies is not helpful for women. Good mental health and a supportive community are cornerstones of adapting successfully to life as a mother, and for many being active is part of that. However, there is often a significant lack of knowledge about the effects of many activities of daily life, let alone exercises or running etc on the pelvic floor, and loading it further with a baby carrier (especially one that is poorly fitting and uncomfortable) is detrimental in the early weeks to months.

It may take six months to a year for the body to recover completely, (according to research at Salford University). Of course this is very individual, depending on previous levels of health and fitness, how pregnancy and birth went, etc. Some women will be much more ready to return to their previous levels of activity than others. The “six week check” by the GP is often used as a benchmark to “sign off” as fit for exercise or dance classes. However, this is not what the six week check is for and this is not an appropriate way to establish if women are ready to return to increased levels of activity.

You can read more about my thoughts on slings and exercise here. 

I believe that in order to be able to offer dance or exercise classes safely and beneficially, all instructors should be focused and committed to the health and wellbeing of both the mother and the baby as their top priority.

Instructors should all

  • Have formal, high quality and officially recognised postnatal training qualifications (requiring assessment, and willing to provide these credentials to parents who ask.)
  • Have a significant depth of knowledge on the pelvic floor after birth and the effects of certain movements and activity on this recovering organ. This is often lacking. I recommend the courses for fitness professionals run by Louise Field of Adore your Pelvic Floor.
  • Offer proper assessment of a mother’s functional strength (beyond the “six week check”) and a willingness to adapt movements to reflect this.
  • Demonstrate the ability and commitment to put the client and baby’s needs first, even if it means saying that the class isn’t suitable. Babies are not an accessory to be used for fitness.

plus

  • High quality, in depth babywearing peer supporter training to ensure mothers and babies are carrying safely at all times, without any compromises. Instructors should have a particular interest in babywearing for its own sake, as opposed to something to add onto existing classes. Ideally they will already be familiar with slings. They should demonstrate a keen desire to be practising optimally and in line with current best practice. Baby and maternal safety is always paramount. 

babywearing peer supporter training

If you would like to explore the option of peer supporter training, please contact me to discuss. I reserve the right to decline training.

Please note that training with me is NOT an endorsement of any class, and Carrying Matters is NOT and never has been affiliated in any way with any fitness or dance classes.

I am no longer able to offer half day “safety awareness training” courses to those who are running postnatal fitness/dance classes. After a while running these courses, I feel this insufficient time to cover all the issues in enough depth to ensure the safety of babies and their mothers. This is especially as babywearing is not usually the main focus of the class and many class instructors have hardly any personal experience with babywearing themselves. Anyone who sees babywearing as an integral part of their class will be willing to invest in in-depth training with assessment.

Please note that I have attended a full day of training in pelvic floor awareness for fitness professionals myself.


Using a newborn insert with a buckle carrier tutorial

Some buckle carriers require an insert for use with newborns, as the panel is too tall and wide for a small baby. The insert raises baby up inside the panel to ensure they remain close enough to kiss with an unobstructed airway. It also creates a narrower seat for baby to rest on, while preserving the M shape and hip health.

Follow the steps to ensure a safe and snug carry; the time spent preparing really pays off when baby is put in, meaning it will feel more secure right away, and less fiddling and adjustments will be needed later.


front carry with a close caboo

Front carry with a Close Caboo photo tutorial

The Caboo is a great option for those who enjoy the snuggly feel of a stretchy wrap but prefer a little pre-structure. This front carry with a Close Caboo photo tutorial will get you off to a flying start.

Follow the steps to ensure a safe and snug carry; the time spent preparing really pays off when baby is put in, far less fiddling and adjustments!

 

Read more about carrying newborns in stretchy wraps or Close Carriers here.

Read more about sling safety with young babies here, and our guide to stretchy wraps and the hybrid carriers like the Close Caboo here.


raising baby up

Photo tutorial for raising baby up in a too-tall panel carrier to ensure free airflow

This tutorial shows raising baby up inside a panel carrier when the panel is too long, ensuring good airflow and free movement of the head.

This is important, as young babies have a large occiput (the round bone at the back of the skull) and if this is under pressure from behind, the head will tip forwards, pressing baby’s chin onto their chest and downwards into cleavage, which can present an airway risk. The fabric should never come higher than the bottom of baby’s earlobes, so they can move their heads freely. All the head support should come from the upper back part of the panel.


Online Babywearing peer supporter training

Babywearing Theory, Safety and Peer Supporter Training

Do you want to understand more about why sling and carrier use is such an important tool for new families, and be able to be an effective advocate for their use? Do you want a good grounding in basic babywearing safety across a range of circumstances and an introduction to the major types of sling and how to use them well? Then these online babywearing training courses could be just what you need!

Online Babywearing peer supporter training

I am a Carrying Advocate and Babywearing Peer Supporter trainer, working under the Born To Carry banner. (This is a training provider of excellence in babywearing skills, bringing together some of the most experienced babywearing teachers and facilitators in the UK). I have trained hundreds of peer supporters. These range from interested parents who want to volunteer or help their own friends, massage therapists, early years providers, health care professionals (health visitors, midwives, doulas etc) and those who want to set up their own local sling libraries.

During the pandemic, much learning has had to move online, and my training courses are no exception.

There are two courses available, which are purchased separately, to give as much flexibility as possible.


Reduced cost places are available for certain priority groups, read more about that here and how to apply.


The first course is a comprehensive standalone introduction to babywearing theory and safety, which will give an excellent grounding for becoming an advocate for carrying behaviour and how slings can help promote health and wellbeing. It also provides an in-depth introduction to the major types of carrier and how to use them. This is open to everyone, and can be completed at your leisure. There are short tests of your knowledge as you proceed through the course and a final assessment to complete the course for a certificate.

  • This will suit many people who wish to enhance their knowledge and understanding, become evidence-based babywearing advocates, be able to signpost to local libraries with more confidence, and are not planning to offer in-person support to families on a regular basis.
  • This course is not timed, and can be done at your own schedule and to your own pace.
  • Please be aware that this course is not a Peer Supporter course and the certificate cannot be presented as such.
  • This course is not sufficient on its own for anyone planning to offer any form of movement classes with babies in slings.

Introduction to babywearing theory and safety – online course, £40

  • Welcome Module.
  • Why Carrying Matters Module/Fourth Trimester Module.
  • Introduction to Basic Babywearing Safety.
  • The Role of the Peer Supporter/Consultant.
  • The Different Types of Slings And How To Use Them.
  • Special Circumstances.
  • Assessment Module (to confirm learning)

Enrol onto the Theory and Safety Course (£40)

The second course (which not everyone will need) is a practical  training session, currently being delivered online in small groups, via Zoom. This practical session focuses on actively supporting new parents with hands-on-help, and is required to become a Peer Supporter offering hands-on in-person support with fitting and troubleshooting for families. Regular dates for these sessions will be available for individuals to sign up for. The theory and safety course must have been completed before doing this section if you wish to be a Peer Suppprter.

  • These sessions can also be arranged for a single group who want to focus on a particular need (such as health care professionals only, using one type of carrier) or for a group who wish to learn together. Please contact me to arrange this.
  • Satisfactory completion of this course and the assessment will generate a certificate of competence as a Babywearing Peer Supporter.

Practical Session to become a Peer Supporter (to be done in person, or via video link), £55 per person, half a day.

  • Building and assessing skills in using the main types of carrier.
  • Learning and practising how to support others and troubleshoot effectively.
  • Opportunities for discussion with Rosie and fellow students.
  • Assessment Module (via the Born to Carry website) to ensure receipt of information and ensure the high standards of training from the Born to Carry organisation are met.

Reduced cost places are available for certain priority groups, read more about that here and how to apply.

Contact me for dates for the Practical Peer Supporter Training

Rosie was fab – really brilliant. I remain in awe of her skill in teaching and working with new mums sensitively yet safely.
E.S.


FAQ

Do I need to do both courses?
It depends what you need from the training. If you wish to be a Peer Supporter, yes, you will need to do both.

Can I just do the online theory and safety course?
Yes, this will generate a certificate of competence in babywearing theory and safety, which may be all you need. You will have a good grounding in why babywearing is so useful, based in evidence, a solid understanding of how to keep a baby safe in the major types of sling and be able to advocate and signpost to further resources.

I want to support new parents to choose a good sling, and become confident in putting their slings on, or set up a sling library. What courses do I need?
You will need to do both the theory and practical courses, as this is what Peer Supporters do!

I want to offer classes for new parents and their babies with slings as part of the class. Is the online course enough?
No. You must do the full Peer Supporter training. This online course will not be enough on its own, as hands-on skills and careful planning of classes are needed. Adding any movement with a sling beyond walking increases the potential for harm. Babies and their caregivers’ wellbeing should be the primary concern for such classes, and they should not be placed at risk by inadequate training.

Do I need to do both the online and practical courses at the same time?
This is up to you! Some people will opt to do the theory course at their own pace, and then decide if they want to do the practical course to become a fully trained peer supporter. If you wish to do the full course, it will help to have the online theory fresh in your mind before you come to the practical session. You must have completed the theory before the practical session.

Can I have a practical session tailored to the specific need of my group (eg neonatal nurses, health visitors or for dance classes, etc?)
Absolutely, you can do the online theory and safety course and then have your own group practical session with me, please get in touch to discuss your needs. Please be aware that I am a working GP and can only offer a certain number of practical sessions per year.

The Carrying Advocacy Peer Supporter Course has several aims. One is to understand why carrying matters so much in the vital task of building a happy brain – we look at some of the neuropsychology and biochemistry behind it all. Slings can help to facilitate this. Another is to enable people to give robust, safe advice about babywearing and infuse the people they meet with excitement and confidence about using a sling, and help them use it safely and confidently. It is not a consultancy course (therefore does not cover advanced techniques such as back carrying or complex woven wrap techniques), but is designed to equip trainees with the tools they need to be able to support the parents they meet. It covers topics such as:

  • the benefits of babywearing
  • the physiological principles of baby positioning to protect airway, spine and hips
  • confidence with the most common types of sling
  • practical demonstrating skills

  • demonstrating and discussing the safe use of slings in many circumstances (eg feeding)
  • troubleshooting common difficulties
  • assessing boundaries and responsibilities
  • babywearing in a historical/sociopolitical context

Those who attend this course, complete the post-course assessment and receive their certificate of completion are eligible for insurance from three providers.

Dance and exercise classes with slings

Please read this first if you are considering setting up one of these classes. The safety of child and parent is paramount at all times and there is simply too much to cover when the class instructor is not already very familiar with slings and aware of the risks involved (this is more than just being aware of the “TICKS” guidelines). If you want to discuss whether you are suitable for entry on this course please email me before you book. I reserve the right to refuse training.


Feedback

“I really enjoyed trying different carriers. I found the trouble shooting sections particularly interesting and fun. I learnt a lot and feel more confident with all carriers and especially with how to wrap a new born.
I really loved it and now want to do the consultant training even more. Rosie was clearly very enthusiastic and dedicated and made everything so interesting. She was pretty inspiring.”


“Everything I had hoped for was met, I feel like a peer supporter now, not just someone who loves slings!”


“Hi Rosie, I couldn’t go to bed without sending you a note to say a huge thank you for the course today. I’ve never felt more included and welcome and I’m so thrilled I came along. Thank you for your hospitality and brilliant teaching, I’m raving about babywearing to my husband and cannot wait to volunteer at a meet soon.”


“I loved the content of the day, the discussions, playing with different slings, learning new ways of slinging, wrapping etc. The course was well run, well organised and I felt empowered to speak, share and question.”


“I feel much more confident in my knowledge of both the benefits of babywearing, and how to go about enabling parents.”


“I really enjoyed meeting other like minded people. I liked the theory of babywearing as it related closely to the work I do as Breastfeeding Lead in the NHS. I enjoyed trying all the different slings and carriers and understanding in what situations they would be used.”

“Rosie was born to teach people. Simply fantastic in the way information was relayed. Would highly recommend.”


“The whole day was so good! A key element was the ability to see and try so many different types of slings and to have time to go through basic principles regarding how to use them all. The role play aspects where we were able to troubleshoot carrier problems was also very useful.”


“My personal learning aims were met, it exceeded my expectations. I found the course was extremely enjoyable and covered so much subject matter but was not overwhelming. My aims were well and truly met. I now believe I could give a new babywearer good/correct advice and help in ways I was unsure about prior to the course.”


“Having someone with your experience and knowledge available all day to ask questions and watch demo was incredible. I really enjoyed the contextual and historical information about Babywearing and what led us all into that room that day. It put everything into the ‘bigger picture’ and made me feel such a part of the huge Babywearing community. Having such a massive amount of slings in the room to try and compare was utterly invaluable – such a rare opportunity. I thought the balance between practical and theory was absolutely spot on. As someone who’s very interested in the sociopolitical aspects of Babywearing I was really pleased to see this covered in the course and really appreciated that you placed Babywearing so firmly in this context during the day.”


“The course really opened my eyes to consider the needs of individuals and how essential it is to be inclusive and approachable and gave me the tools to do this confidently (especially regarding narrow base carriers). It was useful to be shown how to exaggerate movements and words when teaching and to have the opportunity to practice this. Rosie’s enthusiasm was infectious and made the whole day very engaging. The size of the group worked well and I especially enjoyed how well we all got on.”


educational resources build a happy brain rainbow brain carrying matters

Educational Resources

This page contains various resources that may be useful for education and supporting others. Leaflets, posters and postcard packs can be purchased. Images and PDFs can be downloaded free of charge by clicking on the photos. Please ensure you credit me (Dr Rosie Knowles) if you use them.

Click on the image to download a PDF, or order a pack of high quality printed leaflets using the button below.

Buy the Carry Safe leaflets here

Click on the image to download a PDF, or order a pack of high quality printed leaflets using the button below.

Buy the Guide to Slings leaflets here

Click on the image to download a PDF, or order a pack of glossy postcards or posters using the button below.

Buy the Seven Reasons poster here

Click on the image to download a PDF, or order a pack of glossy postcards or posters using the button below.

Buy the 4th Trimester products here

Click on the image to download a PDF, or order a pack of glossy postcards or posters using the button below.

Buy the Build a Happy Brain products here

Click on the image below to download a PDF, or order A3 posters using the button below.

Buy the Skin to Skin Matters products here - coming soon!

Click on the image to download a PDF, or order A3 posters using the button below.

Buy the Bonding with your Baby posters here

Click on the image to download a PDF, or order A3 posters using the button below.

Buy the Babywearing and Mental Health (mother/father) posters here

Click on the image to download a PDF, or order A3 posters using the button below.

Buy the Babywearing and Mental Health posters (inclusive) here

Click on the image to download a PDF, or order a pack of posters using the button below.

Buy the Carrying in the Heat posters here

Click on the image to download a PDF, or order a pack of posters using the button below.

Buy the Carrying in the Cold posters here

Read Rosie’s well loved Why Babywearing Matters book here, published by Pinter and Martin.

Buy the book here

Read Rosie’s well loved Why Babywearing Matters book here, translated into Polish by Lenny Lamb.

Buy the Polish book here

Carrying in the cold, snowsuits

Snowsuits, Scarves, Slings and Safety - Carrying in the Cold

Autumn and winter can be a wonderful time of year, with frosty mornings and chilly walks, the first snowfall, and a little child nestled cosily up to you. Fresh air is good for the soul, and exercise and changes of scenery can make a big difference to family life. You don't need to be afraid of wintry weather, in fact, a baby carrier can help you go places!

It is important to consider safety in all things, and dressing warmly for winter while using a sling/carrier is no exception. Snowsuits may be cute and warm but they need to be used carefully.

When the weather turns chilly, or even icy, every caring parent’s mind turns to how to keep their baby warm in the cold air. Out come the snuggly snowsuits and the hooded jackets, out come the warm cosy scarves and thick cardigans, all aimed to keep you and baby toasty warm. At sling library sessions I can often be found encouraging parents to undress their babies, and often themselves! But why? Surely warmth is important?

Indeed it is, and it is good to be aware of your child’s needs. But there is often still a question about the best way to keep warm when you are using a sling… are the snuggly snowsuits really the best option? Are they safe to use, especially with the current advice about avoiding thick coats in car seats? (see the link at the bottom).

snowsuits scarves slings and safety carrying in the cold

I see a lot of parents with small babies (under four months) in snowsuits or thick jackets who are then settled into a carrier, be it a stretchy or woven wrap or a meh dai or a buckle carrier. Problems can arise at this point; baby is often too warm, and may be rather sleepy as a result, or irritable, and the parent may be finding the carrier uncomfortable. Babies under 4 months are at greatest risk of difficulties due to their relative smallness weakness; they do not have strong and sustained head, back and torso control, so are more likely to run into problems. Older babies and toddlers are very different!

Let’s look at some of the major factors to consider when using a carrier in the cold.

1) Be aware of OVERHEATING 

Too many thick snuggly layers can be a risk of overheating. Babies are by nature warm little creatures (carrying them can feel like having a delightful wriggly hot water bottle on your front) and it is their extremities and their heads that need protecting much more than their middles. They are not yet able to regulate their own temperatures in the way that adults can (which is why skin to skin contact from an adult for a feverish or cold child can be so very useful) so being close to your body will rapidly warm a child up anyway. As you walk you will warm up, and your extra heat will warm up the child on your front even more.

Being too hot is not good for babies; it makes them sleepy and overbundling a sleeping baby is a risk for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). It makes sense to avoid this overheating in slings just as much when baby is sleeping in a bed or a car seat. Furthermore, being too bundled up reduces their ability to sweat (the drops of sweat need to be able to evaporate to carry heat away) which means even older children who can regulate their temperature better will also struggle with being too hot. Hot babies are at significant risk; it is relatively easy to add extra layers for warmth if you misjudge slightly and to remove them when you come in out of the cold.

.

 2) Be aware of AIRWAY

Sometimes the weight of baby inside the snowsuit can mean they sink down inside it, due to gravity, and end up with their faces buried inside the body of the snowsuit. This may pose a risk to airway and breathing; the same goes for hooded jackets or thick cardigans that can “ride up” the back of the carrier.

Too much fabric around the chest and upper body will also make it hard to achieve a fully supported back and a tight carry. This may increase the risk of too much space between baby’s head and your chest, allowing his chest to curl and compress and his heavy head to slump forwards, potentially compressing his airway, or burying his face into fluffy fabric, reducing airflow. Thick snowsuits really can be a significant risk.

Always ensure good airflow. Be aware of your own clothing too; a cowl or a scarf may prove problematic if your baby snuggles his face into the fabric, reducing free airflow. This is more of a risk with smaller babies than in those who have head control and are able to move themselves independently.

Make sure your baby’s face is not obscured by scarves or fabric that could be problematic if they fall asleep.

snowsuits scarves slings and safety carrying in the cold

This little boy is too small for his snowsuit; if he was placed inside a sling his face would disappear into the fluffiness.

 3) Be aware of POSITION

Increased bulk can affect positioning considerably. It is hard for joints to bend easily in thick, stiff trousers or multiple layers of clothing, so the M shape with bent knees higher than bottom that encourages healthy hips and protects the natural curve of the spine into a J shape can be hard to achieve. Baby may end up being “starfished” into a carrier with a hyperextended posture, rather than being comfortably seated.

This will affect how his pelvis and spine are positioned and may mean that his neck is not naturally supported by the J shaping that is achieved by ergonomic carriers.  (This is why many narrow-based high-street carriers need prominent neck support or headrests, as baby is held straight and the head can more easily fall back).

Baby will feel heavier as he is not resting against the parent/carer’s body in the same way, and the weight distribution will change.

Too much bulk around the top may also affect the support to baby’s upper body, meaning that baby’s weight is pulling back away from your shoulders, rather than resting on your chest, and may be more uncomfortable.

Too much padding around the nappy region (especially in those babies wearing cloth nappies) could cause a reduction of blood flow to the lower limbs.

snowsuits scarves slings and safety carrying in the cold

Baby above, has been straightened into a starfishing shape as the snowsuit is preventing his hips and knees from bending. however baby below is in the M shape.

snowsuits scarves slings and safety carrying in the cold

OK, so this is good to know. But it’s cold out there! My baby needs to be warm, what can I do?!

Here are some suggestions how to ensure your chilly weather carrying is safe and still snuggly warm.

If you need to go out in windy and cold conditions, or snow storms, your small baby will be warmest and best protected close to you on your front, here you can shield them from the wind and horizontal snow flurries easily.

Back carries for older children may be easier for you to see your feet as you go but be alert to their experience and ensure they are well protected. Carriers that keep children close to your body will be warmer and less likely to make you feel off balance as you walk, compared to framed backpack carriers worn high on the back; these will also be very cold for children as they are held away from body heat and more exposed to wind chill.


1) LAYER LAYER LAYER – carrying under coats

This is key to virtually all carrying, as the sling is in itself a layer of clothing, and sometimes more than one, depending on its type. A stretchy wrap is three layers, and some are thicker than others. Some buckle carriers are double layer panels, some are three. Every parent/child combination have their own micro-climate too, so what feels right for one family may be different for another.

In hot weather, you need as few as you can manage safely, whereas in cold weather you need more layers. Layers trap air in between them, so can often be more effective at providing warmth than one or two thick items of clothing, while still allowing flexibility.

Thin light all-in-one fleece suits are warm, while still being breathable and allowing good joint movement for positioning. It may be worth considering a size up to protect little toes with the riding up you get with a sling, however, too large a fleece could mean too much fabric around the face and neck. Layer up with vests and onesies and cardigans and leggings and so on, rather than using a very padded or furry inflexible snowsuit, you will be surprised how warm babies can get!

It is best, if possible, to keep baby as close to you as you can, and add layers on over the top. These layers can be undone/removed easily if baby is getting too hot (flushed, very warm chest skin, sweating, unexpectedly sleeping, for example), or if you go inside into a warm shop from a cold outside.

Wearing a large (maternity or oversized) coat which you can then wrap around your baby on the front will add warmth, as will a mac in rainy weather.

If you are creative, you could knit yourself a panel insert which would button onto your favourite button coat, making it wider to fit your baby and the sling inside. You can do the same with a zip insert (check before you buy that the zip insert fits onto your own zip). If you are innovative, you can use a large oversize hoodie or cardigan with a very big neck or a zip that can be undone to go over both of you, or wear an oversized coat backwards if you can get someone else to do up the zip. Others may use a large shawl to wrap around themselves, or a home-made fleece poncho.

There are many babywearing coats or ponchos or vests and other items of clothing on the market which have been specifically designed for this, such as the Mamalila, Lenny Lamb, Zoli, Wombat, Momawo, Liliputi coat ranges (among many others), Boba/Lenny Lamb/Angelwings hoodies/fleece vests, to name just a few, and many are suitable for back carrying.

Some can be expensive; for many they are invaluable especially if they are used frequently for back carrying (many maternity coats or extender panels do not allow back carrying) and some are stylish enough to be worn as normal coats to make them worth the outlay. Some will have hoods for both parent and baby, some won’t – it is worth doing your homework and trying a few before you splash out.

There are also some babywearing covers, similar to pushchair covers, that can just go over baby and sling but not parent, which may be useful if the parent prefers less warmth (such as Bundle Bean or Isara).

In rainy weather, some will use large anoraks over both baby and parent. There are several waterproof ponchos or covers on the market which can go over the sling on the top and umbrellas are very useful. Some creative folks have even threaded the arms of cross strap buckle carriers through a child’s waterproof anorak to cover over the panel!

snowsuits scarves slings and safety carrying in the cold
snowsuits scarves slings and safety carrying in the cold
snowsuits scarves slings and safety carrying in the cold
snowsuits scarves slings and safety carrying in the cold
snowsuits scarves slings and safety carrying in the cold
snowsuits scarves slings and safety carrying in the cold

2) PROTECT EXTREMITIES

So if your baby’s body is nice and warm, heads and limbs need to be kept warm too.

This is where things like baby leggings, tights and socks can be very useful indeed, layering up over the feet. Some people find boots helpful as well, such as Stonz or Thinsulate boots (varying price ranges) or wooly booties that can be tied gently on to avoid falling off. Some fleece onesies have feet that can be folded over to make a closed foot. Feet can get much colder than hands as they are harder to tuck in near the warm central core.

Heads can be kept warm with hats…(of which there are many gorgeous options). Some opt for balaclavas with neck covers and various hoods to keep necks warm and prevent removal!

Hands can be kept warm with gloves with ribbons sewn in to stop them from falling off, or socks worn on the hands. Many fleece onesies have sleeves that can be folded over hands.

10 FAQs carrying in the cold
snowsuits scarves slings and safety carrying in the cold
snowsuits scarves slings and safety carrying in the cold

3) MANAGING CARRYING OVER COATS

This tends to work better for older babies or toddlers who want to be up and down all the time, and can work well in some circumstances, depending on the coat, the carrier and if you have anyone to help you. It can be hard to get a sling snug over the top of a bulky or slippery coat, and hard to get a snug fit on the back without help, but for many this works well.

Taking some care when planning the coat  you use will make a big difference, (one that is thin and grippy, for example may be easier to work with, and hoods may get in the way of unobstructed breathing). Selecting the sling you use matters too; what you choose for normal use for maximum comfort may prove too complex over a coat. Pick one that is easily adjustable, and easy to get on and off.

This style of carrying over coats on the back may be much more convenient for toddlers who prefer to be able to get up and down again in quick succession. They are more likely to get cold on your back as they cannot snuggle into your body heat in the same way, so will need to be much more warmly dressed than a smaller baby on the front. This is especially true for framed carriers that hold children high up and separate. These children are not at the same risk of slumping over inside over-large suits and ending up with an obstructed airway, and as they are outside your coat, they will get cold. Snowsuits (that fit and are still flexible) can be an excellent solution here, as can waterproofs over coats and snuggly trousers.

Hands and feet will get a lot colder with this type of carrying, so make sure you are prepared.

snowsuits scarves slings and safety carrying in the cold
snowsuits scarves slings and safety carrying in the cold tandem babywearing
snowsuits scarves slings and safety carrying in the cold

CARRYING IN SLIPPERY WEATHER

It is fantastic to be able to explore in freedom with your child in all weathers. But what about, even if you have the choice of sling and clothing right, the ground is icy and slippery?

CHOOSE SENSIBLE FOOTWEAR!

If carrying in the snow and ice, slip-on ice gripping covers (eg Yaktrax or other brands) that can go over shoes and boots can be enormously useful to prevent slipping… and if you do slip, your baby will be much safer in the sling than she would be loose in arms. Some metal grippers may not work well on mixed ground, as they may slide on smooth surfaces and can be hard to remove quickly, so have a good look at a few types and where you will need to use them before you pick one. It can be hard to remove them with a baby on your front, so plan ahead!

Good boots with grippy soles designed for all terrains may be worth investing in. Some families have used very large knitted socks over their shoes for grippiness over snow and ice when they know there are also stone stairs etc on the school run and they don’t want to go flying.

Some people recommend front carrying more in slippery weather, as if you do fall, you can use your hands to break your fall and protect your child more easily than if you fall backwards.  Some people prefer not to carry at all and to use a buggy! Use whatever tool works best for your circumstances.

Carrying in the cold, snowsuits

Here is some more information about cold weather carrying from other sources

http://southlondonslings.co.uk/2013/11/12/carrying-in-the-cold/ and

http://stroudslingmeet.wordpress.com/2014/09/20/slinging-in-the-rain-and-cold-and-wind-and-snow/

Here is the link discussing winter coats and car seats..

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2012/12/winter-coats-and-car-seats-keeping-your-child-safe-and-warm/index.htm

Blog post originally written 2014, updated Dec 2017


Common Queries

Common Queries

Families often have a lot of questions about using carriers, such as “what is a healthy hip position”, or “is it OK to face my baby out in a carrier?” “Will using a sling make my child clingy?” “What do I do in different weather conditions?”

This page links to many of the common queries around slings; information sharing to allow people to make informed choices that work for themselves and their families.

Here is a quick link to the most common FAQs too!

Slings and Exercise

more

The Fuss about Facing Out

more

Carrying While Pregnant

more

Tandem Babywearing

more

Do Slings Create Clingy Children?

more

Breast and Bottle Feeding Safely in a Sling

more

How Babywearing Can Help with Post-Natal Depression

more

Carrying in the Postnatal Period

more

Carrying with a weakened pelvic floor

more

Sleeping While Your Baby is Sleeping in the Sling

more

Healthy Hips; Busting Some Myths

more

Keeping Your Baby Safe in the Cold

more

Keeping Your Baby Safe in the Sun

more

Beginning to Back Carry

more

Help, My Child Cries in the Sling!

more

Carrying Older Children

more

Beyond the Knee to Knee

more

Slings and Prams and Guilt

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The Last Days of Carrying

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Carry Me Daddy!

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Don’t forget the sling safety guide is here.

If you need more specialised support or have a query not covered here, please do get in touch with me!

You can find more educational resources here for downloading (such as infographics and leaflets and images) and you can read about carrying in some special circumstances here.


The Importance of Carrying

Seven Reasons to Carry Your Baby

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Attachment, Babies and Carrying

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Secure Attachment and the Fourth Trimester

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Why Carrying Matters (for Juno Magazine) issue 44

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