Babywearing can be a great tool in your parenting toolkit. All babies want to be held, but let's face it some babies want to be held all. the. time. And there are times when babies need to be held more than others, like when teething or sick. Regardless of how often your twins require your touch to stay calm, you also need your two arms to maintain your home and stay on your twin's routine. Tandem babywearing twins can be an invaluable resource to sooth two babies at once and still allow you to multitask your daily responsibilities. Some babies take to babywearing very quickly, while others take more time to adjust. If you are new to babywearing and/or one or both of your twins is having trouble adjusting to your shiny new TwinGo Carrier, use these 11 tips to help sooth your twins while you teach them to enjoy the free ride.
If one or both of your twins are fussing in your TwinGo, you should first assess if you are wearing your carrier correctly. If you are not wearing it correctly, it could be causing your child discomfort or an awkward feeling. Review the instructions, how-to videos and have another adult check the fitting (or check the fitting in the mirror if you are alone). If you need fitment assistance from TwinGo, send us a photo and we are happy to help! You can also gather some great tips from this article: 4 Tips to Ensure Your Twins are Comfortable while Babywearing
If you try anything new, it’s best to shoot for a time when your baby is at his best temperament. The next time you try babywearing, make the attempt directly after he wakes from a nap and has a full belly. Food is usually the direct line to any baby’s heart so even if it isn’t time to eat right after his nap, temporarily break the routine by feeding him a bit as a means to keep him calm while you try out babywearing once more.
If both twins are fussy in the carrier, you should aim for longterm success by focusing on one baby at a time. The next time you try babywearing, split your TwinGo Carrier and wear it in Front Carry Position. By not having the other baby on board, you can reduce your worry about simultaneously managing another personality and it allows you to calmly focus on helping your fussy baby learn to be content in the carrier.
Having the expectation that you will only practice babywearing for 1-minute at a time will help you not feel like a short session is a failure. Starting with small increments of time will slowly teach your baby that this is a new option for him to be close to you. A few 1-minute sessions a few times a day for a few days will help him slowly adapt. You can increase the duration of teach session according to your child's temperament.
Once one baby is happily riding in your TwinGo in Front Carry Position, practice with that same baby in Back Carry Position (only if your baby is developmentally ready for this position). Once you have at least one happy baby who will ride in the back, start the Dual Carry Position.
While you attempt to sooth your baby in your TwinGo Carrier, it is super important that you remain calm and honestly assess your body language. Here's why...
The Mirror Neurons in our brains cause us to mimic other people in our surroundings in order for us to appropriately respond to our environment. These neurons aid in our basic survival instinct (e.g. someone sees danger, someone runs away from danger, so I should probably run away too). Both you and your twins have Mirror Neurons and in any given situation one of you is the dominant influencer. When your baby cries, your brain automatically reacts to your baby’s stress cues by becoming more stressed yourself. You may attempt to sooth your baby but your body language may be exhibiting stressful behaviors that could be contradicting your soothing attempts. The situation may continue to spiral as your baby further mimics your heightened stressed state.
If your baby is fussing in your baby carrier, stop the stress-influencing cycle by consciously calming yourself, taking a few deep breaths and begin modeling the behavior you want your baby to have: Use slow motions, loosen your muscles and use a calm low voice.
The first sound most parents turn to is shhhh-ing--which is ok--but be sure to watch the tempo and tone! I actually find that positive self-talk helps more than shhhh-ing. You may feel silly talking out loud but positive talk can actually help you actively focus on being calm, being confident in your ability to sooth and it can help you talk yourself through the crying. You might say to your child:
“Ohhh, being a baby is so hard. You are in a big world with so many new things to experience. Mommy, knows you like to be held and mommy loves to snuggle you. Mommy got this new baby carrier for you and it is going to help me hold you more….because you want to be held more. Right now we are working together to help you adjust to it so you get what you want. You are going to love it once you can calm down….”
Finally, be aware of the body language and tone of voice used by the people around you. Your well-meaning spouse or grandparent may be feeling anxious about all the crying, want to quickly stop it and may use words or actions to discourage your efforts. Their heightened stress can not only negatively influence your child's emotional state but it can also impact your ability to coach your child on how to be calm in your carrier. If bystanders aren't helping, try babywearing again when they are not around. If you need a spotter, talk to another adult about your babywearing goals and explain to them how they can be supportive to you while you and your twins learn to use your carrier.
I have met with hundreds of parents with fussy babies and their first response to a fussy baby in a baby carrier is to start bouncing up and down. While bouncing might work to distract some babies, bouncing may be uncomfortable for babies as it jiggles their head around. If your baby is having a hard time adjusting/being comfortable in a baby carrier, swaying side to side may be far more comforting to your baby. Think about it: If you are tired and fussy, would you want your head to bobble around vigorously or would you prefer to sway in a hammock?
Try soothing your baby in your carrier by making 180 degree rotating turns of your upper body while keeping your feet stationary (i.e. you will be rotating side to side at your waist). To add a gentle distraction to your baby's cries, you could try turning 1-2 complete circles while always maintaining your balance. Whatever motions you choose, make it feel smooth like a dance because your baby's Mirror Neurons will react to quick jolting motions with stress! Think about it as being on a date with your baby at a dance; make the rhythm enjoyable as a couple ;)
The next time your baby starts to cry or shows signs of fussing while in your carrier (or in any setting), snap your fingers, jingle your keys or ring bells high above your baby’s forehead to get him to move his eyes up. I actually me his eyeballs, not his head. Continue to make the noise until his eyes move up and he will likely stop crying. Here’s why:
Neuroscientists have found that eye positioning (e.g. moving your eyeballs left, right, up, down) taps certain areas of the brain and in turn influence our ability to learn, store and respond to visually information. For example, when we look down with our eyes, we are closer to a region of our brain that handles emotions. Think about it: When you, me or our babies feel uneasy, sad or cries, we are all usually looking downward with our eyeballs. When this emotional area of our brain is activated and/or influenced by our eye positioning, it can have a negative effect on learning. Neuroscientists have found that when we look up with our eyes we can tap a region of the brain that is more optimal for positive learning and longterm memory retention. Consciously changing our eye positioning--from down to up--can almost instantly change how we respond to what's happening around us. Notice your eye positioning the next time you are lost in thought, trying to remember something or having a positive/negative experience.
Getting your baby to look up with his eyes can momentarily stop crying and allow you to simultaneously offer other soothing techniques to help him learn that babywearing is safe and a new way to be close to you.
If your baby has never been worn in any inward-facing baby carrier, know that some personalities get frustrated by their new viewpoint. They forget that they have the ability to turn their head so you may have to teach them how to view things in a new way (e.g. looking left and right). If you attempt to help your fussy baby turn his head, he may remain ridged and just cry more. The secret is two fold:
Sucking is a natural self-soothing instinct for babies. Some babies wean from sucking after a few months while others use it as their longterm coping tool. If your baby still finds sucking soothing, help him suck on his fingers, pacifier, breast or bottle!
If your baby is teething, there is a whole host of soothing remedies to try while babywearing but here are a few quick solutions:
Motion is a natural soother for many babies. That's why baby swings and car rides put babies to sleep! When your baby starts to fuss while babywearing, start walking! Walking in a small circle usually isn’t enough motion to have a strong soothing effect so really get moving!
Don’t underestimate the power of the great outdoors! When the weather permits, exposing your baby to direct sunlight and fresh air while in your carrier will almost immediately stop crying. For many babies, the amount of time outside doesn't have to be extensive to take effect. Here are a few ideas to still get sun and fresh air when the weather isn't ideal:
When working with a crying baby, all your attention is usually focused on your baby with the primary goal to stop the crying. Babies and toddlers (this includes preschoolers up to teens) seek attention--positive or negative--for a variety of reasons. Attention is attention. When we supply the attention to our child--positive or negative--we get a response that we may or may not like...and then we give more attention in response--positive or negative--with the hope of a new outcome. The cycle continues until one person ends it.
You may be in a mini power struggle with your strong-will baby if you know he is comfortably fitted in your carrier but he continues to cry. Your baby may be aware that all your attention is focused on the one thing he doesn't want to do--stop crying in the carrier. One trick is to stop giving any attention to the crying (I'm referring to the crying, not the baby) and move your attention to controlling the environment around you. While you manipulate objects around you, be sure to radiate confidence in your abilities. Your baby will not only notice your attention has moved elsewhere but his need for security just might be fulfilled by you demonstrating confidence. When babies feel secure, they cry less! Here are a few creative ideas for controlling your environment as a distraction method while babywearing:
It sounds crazy--as random acts of dominating inanimate objects is weird behavior--but parents are like magicians and distraction backed by confidence is the #1 secret behind all magic tricks! The biggest thing to remember while executing these pointless tasks is to remain calm and simultaneously implement some of the other soothing techniques to help your little one adjust to your carrier.