Carrying Two! Adventures with Tandem Carrying

Do you have children who are close in age?  You may have thought about carrying one or other of them (many slings and carriers are suitable for comfortably carrying a very wide range of aged babies and toddlers), but have you considered the possibility of carrying them both at once?  This is known as ‘tandem carrying’; it can be surprisingly comfortable and easy, and has lots of practical benefits too.

When a new sibling comes along – or even if your children are multiples of the same age and simply competing for your attention – being able to carry either or both of them can really help them both to feel reassured by your presence and to help ease any feelings of displacement or jealousy.  Carrying one or both of your children means that you don’t need a bigger buggy (or any buggy at all) and can get about more easily.  And when they’re being carried they get to feel close to you whilst you can get on with your busy day!


So what are the possibilities?!  

The rest of this post will investigate some of the options for tandem carrying and explain what you need to consider when carrying two!

I’m now lucky enough to be looking after the lovely 6 month Baby A once a week when I have my day off with my just-turned-3-year-old Izzy.  Baby A loves being carried and Izzy is more than happy to walk for a good chunk of the day, but long days out in London are still a bit much for her and so we often find we’re carrying her home.  I’m not a fan of fighting buggies on and off public transport and have just one or two slings around that I could use(!) so between the two of them I’m expecting to be doing a lot of carrying!

Baby A as a newborn ❤

Izzy just turned age 3 😀

I’ve carried them each individually in various slings and carriers, but what are the best ways to get about in London with two small people and no buggy?

I’m hoping to test out lots of options over the next few months and let you know how I get on!

Any questions about tandem carrying, please just ask by commenting below or emailing info@southlondonslings.co.uk


Week 1:

Tandem Carrying Combinations used this week:

  • Woven Wrap FCC (front) + Soft Structured Carrier (back)
  • Wrap-Tai (front) + Soft Structured Carrier (back)

Thoughts to Consider:

  • Who will you want to be able to take off first? If you’d like to be able to take each child off you independently, then make sure you use a suitable carry combination (like my FCC and SSC combination below).
  • Where will the buckles and/or knots of your carriers fit on your body? Think about what’s around your waist, and where you’ll fasten chest straps to sit nicely on you and not interfere with either child.
  • How will you transport your stuff? Pack efficiently!

For our first frosty day out together I used a Long 4.7m Woven Wrap to carry Baby A on my front to get to the Science Museum (via bus, train and tube). While at the museum we moved to a back carry for Baby A so that Izzy and I could really engage with the activities (with Baby A watching and joining in over my shoulder!) Then after lunch and while on the way home the day got too much for Izzy and so I popped her on my back in a Toddler sized Wompat Soft Strucured Carrier (SSC) and they both napped for the rest of the way home! Plus they kept me snuggly warm too!

Clips sit away from baby’s head.

This method of carrying two is very comfy – I used a Front Cross Carry (FCC) to tie the woven wrap, tying on Baby A first and making sure that the wrap knot ended up on my front under her bottom. This carry style allows me to pop her in and out without untying the wrap. When I needed to I then put Izzy on my back in the SSC with the shoulder straps sitting on top of the wrap on my shoulders and the chest belt clipped to lie clear of Baby A’s head. This worked really well as I could take off either child independently if needed without disturbing the other one 🙂

Baby in a Woven Wrap Front Cross Carry on the front and Toddler in an SSC on the back.

Carrying all our stuff: I’ve been asked this a few times – on this trip I put all the nappies, changes of clothes, picnic, milk and everything else I imagined we might need into a (super stylish) granny trolley that I pulled along with us.  I had my valuables in a shoulder bag with a cross-body style strap (an orange one that you can see in the photo above).  I think next time I’d just have a bag and not the trolley and will pack MUCH more efficiently as I had waaay too much stuff that just didn’t get used!

Later that day we all went on the school run, and Izzy decided to go on walking strike (I think she’s still getting used to sharing me with Baby A and wanted to make her presence felt!)  this time I was carrying Baby A on my front in a Wrap-Tai – a mei tai with unpadded, spreadable ‘wrap’ straps – and so I popped Izzy in the Wompat SSC on my back again over the top. Again, this combination was very comfy and supportive and without needing the trolley I found it very easy to get about with them both 🙂

Here are a couple of photos of a wrap-tai/SSC combination for tandem carrying:

Wrap-Tai on the front and SSC on the back

Wrap-Tai on the front and SSC on the back


Week 2:

Tandem Carrying Combinations used this week:

  • 2 x Soft Structured Carriers (back and front)
  • Woven Wrap (front) + Soft Structured Carrier (back)
  • Half Buckle Wrap-Tai (front) + Soft Structured Carrier (back)

Thoughts to Consider:

  • Bulk around the waist – many supportive slings and carriers fasten around the waist so this area can get bulky when using more than one carrier.  Not all SSCs have a large padded waist strap, and buckles can be more slim-line than knots.
  • You can use a Wrap-Tai for ‘poppable’ front carries.
  • Support for longer periods of carrying vs. comfort and pressure points when choosing a carrier.
  • Carrying two children is great exercise if you’ve got comfortable carriers that support good posture and protect your shoulders and back!

Catbird Pikkolo on the front

Half-Buckle Wrap-Tai front + SSC back

This week I stuck with using an SSC on the back for Izzy, but experimented with another Soft Structured Carrier (a Catbird Pikkolo, which has no padding at the waist), a woven wrap and a half buckle mei tai for Baby A, rediscovering how it’s possible to use a mei tai with wrap straps as a “poppable” carrier (i.e. one that you can fasten and then pop baby in and out of without undoing or re-tying).

I quite enjoyed the reduced bulk with having a second buckle-waisted carrier compared to having the bigger knot of a woven wrap added into the mix.  However the woven wrap still does (for me) offer the most supportive carry for front carrying Baby A for longer periods of tandem carrying.

Today we did a bit less tandem carrying as Baby A wasn’t feeling her best and so she spent almost all day in the sling (we’d worked our way through lots of other options for carrying her on her own while at home) …. though still with more than an hour of tandem carrying – WAAAAY more than I really expected to be doing to be honest – I think I’m getting fab weekly exercise! 😀


Week 3:

Tandem Carrying Combinations used this week:

  • Woven Wrap (front) + Soft Structured Carrier (back)
  • Half Buckle Wrap-Tai (front) + Soft Structured Carrier (back)
  • Wrap-Tai (front) + Soft Structured Carrier (back)

Thoughts to Consider:

  • You don’t always need to experiment – when there’s a lot going on be practical and stick to what you know!
  • Different Woven Wrap tying methods offer different advantages; you may need to weight up comfort vs. convenience.
  • There are lots of ways to keep everyone warm when tandem carrying.

We had a busy day and so I stuck with what I knew this week – using the Wompat for Izzy and a long woven wrap, a full mei tai and a half buckle mei tai for Baby A.  I used both a FCC and a Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) with the woven wrap – the FWCC is less convenient for popping Baby A out of without needing to disturb Izzy, but I sometimes find it feels more supportive for longer carrying (e.g. when I know Baby A needs to nap) as the weight is distributed into my torso more than with a FCC. And we did get the chance to demonstrate lots of other carriers at a fun NCT group too!

Fun at the playpark

Lunch out after Tea Group fun!

Coats and Jumpers

Another thing to consider when carrying is how to keep everyone warm. Now having two other bodies against you can get very warm indeed, but you want to make sure that little arms and legs aren’t cold and that everyone’s comfortable. I find it too hot to have my own coat on under all the children, so today I just had on a hoody jumper over myself and Baby A. Izzy had her own coat on in the carrier worn on top of my jumper = 3 snuggly girls!

Wrap-Tai on the front and SSC on the back. Front baby zipped into my hoody jumper and back toddler with own coat on.

You may also have spotted Baby A’s favoured travelling toy – a Heimess wooden dummy clip (we sell a range of these at Sling Library Open Sessions) holding a Sophie the Giraffe and clipped on to the sling or our clothes to keep it within reach!


Week 4:

Tandem Carrying Combinations used this week:

  • Half Buckle Wrap-Tai (front) + Podaegi (back)
  • Stretchy Wrap (front) + Soft Structured Carrier (back)

Thoughts to Consider:

  • Different carriers can distribute the weight differently on your body – think about whether the weight is distributed to your shoulders, torso and hips in different slings so that you can find a combination that doesn’t put all of the pressure in one place.
  • Good weight distribution in suitable slings and carriers will protect your back and shoulders, but the extra weight will put more strain on your knee and hip joints. You may need to walk more slowly than normal and take care climbing hills and stairs!
  • Your children may not nap at the same time – when carrying it can be tricky when one is asleep, especially if it’s the bigger one.
  • What to do if your toddler want you to carry them AND their scooter!

I decided to try something new for carrying Izzy this week and so for our big long walk through Belair and Dulwich parks I carried Baby A in my trusty half buckle mei tai with wrap straps and took a gorgeous wrap conversion podaegi for Izzy.

Wrap-tai front and Podaegi back

Awake baby on the front…

…and a snuggled toddler asleep on the back!

A podaegi (or pod) is a similar idea to a mei tai in that it has a fabric body and long shoulder straps that you tie around you, but it has no waist straps. This means that it can be tied to avoid your waist completely (great for carrying when pregnant), and that it can reduce the bulk of fastening around the waist when tandem carrying.  It’s also easier to use for back carries than a woven wrap, but almost as adjustable for different sized babies and toddlers and so a great option for flexible back carrying 🙂

I found that using the pod was very comfy and for me helped relieve pressure on my hip joints, which (with my knees) has been the only place that I’ve really been feeling the weight of carrying two.  I did feel the weight more on my shoulders after an hour of walking home, though I think that this was more to do with the combination of Izzy falling asleep (which always makes her feel much heavier), Baby A being wide awake and trying to reach out and grab things at the front (so her weight distribution wasn’t ideal and I wasn’t able to readjust the carry that she was in because of Izzy asleep on the back), and the fact that I was having to carry the remains of our picnic lunch and Izzy’s abandoned scooter….. and I thought I’d managed to pack light today!

ByKay Stretchy Wrap front carry

For the school run I tried using a supportive Stretchy Wrap (a ByKay Original Wrap in this case) on the front for Baby A and had a buckle carrier ready for Izzy if needed. We were tired from our long walk and so I drove to school. When I do this I put the sling I want to use for front caryring on before we leave the house so that when we get to school I can just pop Baby A out of the car and into the sling very easily.  A Stretchy Wrap is very easy to use for tandem carrying as you can easily pop your baby in and out of a front carry without disturbing whatever sling or carrier you have on the back.


Week 5:

Tandem Carrying Combinations used this week:

  • None! Two adults shared carrying, each using a Soft Structured Carrier on the front.

Thoughts to Consider:

  • You won’t always feel able to tandem carry; if you’re tired or unwell then it’s not always worth pushing yourself and your body too far if you don’t feel that you can manage.
  • Two adults can share the load!

This week I found that some days just aren’t great for tandem carrying at all, and it’s not always worth pushing yourself and your body too far if you don’t feel that you can manage.

Today I was tired (after a busy weekend demonstrating carriers at The Baby Show in Birmingham), not completely well and physically really not up to carrying both Izzy and Baby A so decided to give myself a day off carrying them both.  I still clocked up a good chunk of the day comfortabley carrying Baby A for a day out and for the school run, but reserved some much-needed energy by not carrying Izzy as well.

Comfy lap for a sleepy toddler on the bus!

We were off on the bus up to central London for lunch out and a quick wizz around the British Museum. I carried Baby A snugly on my front (under a fab babywearing hoodie top to keep warm) in my own Spaghetti Slings buckle carrier, which we also used as an impromptu baby-restraint when there weren’t any baby seats when we went for lunch!

Because I was lucky enough to have another helpful adult with me, Izzy (who was also grizzling from a bit of a cold) got to be on someone’s front too in the Sling Library’s Tula Toddler carrier, which was just what she needed after falling asleep on her aunt’s lap on the bus!

And according to the carrying adult – who doesn’t have children and hadn’t carried a baby let alone a big 3 year old before – the Tula was very comfy for her too!


Week 6

Tandem Carrying Combinations used this week:

  • Half Buckle Wrap-Tai (front) + Soft Structured Carrier (back)
  • Soft Structured Carrier (front) + Half Buckle Wrap-Tai (back)
  • Long Woven Wrap FCC (front) + Short Woven Wrap Ruck (back)

Thoughts to Consider:

  • The biggest child doesn’t always need to be on your back.  Carriers that offer both front and back carrying can make swapping around much easier.
  • You may find different carrying positioning comfortable for either child when you’re also carrying the other (compared to when carrying each on their own).
  • How easy is it going to be getting a child on your back in a certain carrier when you’ve already got one on your front?  Is it easier to put the back child on first?
  • When your two carry-ees are in the mood, and you’re not in a rush to get anywhere it can be great fun experimenting with lots of different options!

Definitely finding my favourites now and with an ever-demanding big toddler taking up more of my mental energy it’s becoming an effort to try different things!

Today we used our half buckle and Wompat combination yet again for a trip to Blackheath (involving a public transport mis-calculation which meant that we had to walk for almost an hour across the Heath), though did swap around with who was on the back and who on the front.  I actually found it more comfortable than usual carrying Izzy on the front when I had Baby A on my back. This is because Izzy is very tall and so usually when she’s being carried in a position that gives good weight distribution to support my back she’s held quite high and I can’t see where I’m going! With Baby A to help balance the weight from behind I found that I was able to position the Wompat lower on my hips whilst it still being comfy on my back and so I could happily see over Izzy’s head 🙂

Baby Mei Tai back and Toddler SSC front

In the afternoon we were lucky enough to have a babywearing photoshoot!  Baby A got to model a wide range of my favourite slings and carriers, and we got shots with our trusty Half-buckle/Wompat combination, as well as trying out a tandem carry using 2 woven wraps. For this I used a long woven wrap in a Front Cross Carry to pop Baby A into, and then used a short woven wrap in a Ruck Tied Under Bum to carry Izzy on my back.  Izzy and I definitely find it easier getting her up quickly in a buckle carrier or mei tai than in a wrap now her legs are getting so long, especially when I’m trying to fit her around Baby A!


Week 7:

Tandem Carrying Combinations used this week:

  • Soft Structured Carrier (front) + Long Woven Wrap Double Hammock (back)

Thoughts to Consider:

  • If your bigger child wants to walk, and your smaller child is getting bigger too then it may be more comfy to carry your smallest on your back for longer periods (and front carry your biggest for shorter periods when needed).

Double Hammock back carry.

Enjoying the museum!

Double Hammock back carry and SSC front carry on the bus!

This week we had a new 4.7m Woven Wrap to try out and decided to visit the Horniman Museum.  Izzy wanted to make her own way around the trains and buses so I popped Baby A on my back using a comfortable Double Hammock Back carry and off we went!  With Baby A on my back Izzy and I could negotiate public trasnport easily and enjoy interacting with the exhibits at the Museum.

After lunch we headed home and Izzy did start to fancy a bit of help getting back and so popped in a Soft Structured Carrier on my front for some of the journey.  For this I did need to make sure that I didn’t catch Baby A’s face when buckling the chest strap of the SSC behind me.

Baby in a Woven Wrap Double Hammock and Toddler in an SSC


Some More Options We Did and Didn’t Try…

Though we did have more days together not fully posted above, Izzy, Baby A and I didn’t get to try all of the options out there!  One factor was that Izzy at age 3-4 doesn’t need carrying for long periods of the day and can walk for quite a while when she feels like it.  She’s also less patient with letting me experiment than she was when she was younger.

With smaller age gaps or a younger eldest child (Izzy’s about 2.5 years older than Baby A) and with multiples you may find that there are more occasions where you might need to tandem carry, and you may find other solutions that work for you.

Here are a few more ideas for tandem carrying (or transporting) options that you might like to consider:

Using two woven wraps in a FWCC and a Ruck

Tandem SSC carry

One long woven wrap to carry two children on the front and back.

Baby on the back and toddler in buggy/trolley

Two ring slings for tandem hip carrying

Toddler Mei Tai back and baby FWCC front

Want to Try Tandem Carrying Yourself?

If you’d like any advice about carrying two (whether twins or siblings of different ages), then we’ve got a lot of experience helping with this so do get in touch by emailing info@southlondonslings.co.uk or see our website for lots of information about slings and carriers: www.southlondonslings.co.uk 😀 xx

© 2013 South London Sling Library
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About emeriminni

My name's Emily and I'm a pragmatic mum to 2 inspirational children, Sling Librarian, business owner/manager, part-time student & chronic craft enthusiast. I love reading, ranting, learning and making things & I'm interested in philosophy, psychology, babywearing & practical, natural-ish parenting, and all sorts of creative things (esp. crochet, dyeing, sewing, beading and baking).
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